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Mailbag: QB production per dollar

5/8/2010

Hugh from Monterey, Calif., writes: Sando, because Bill on the AFC West blog let us know the figures, we can see that JaMarcus Russell earned $5.57 million per win for Oakland [$39 million for seven victories as a starter]. You've got the best stats and most skill to do this, so would you give us a ballpark on what other QBs have been paid to date per win, or at least in your division? It may not be fairest assessment, but it makes for an interesting take on this vital position. Who has given the best value over the past three, five, or 10 years? Thanks again, coach.

Mike Sando: Sounds like fun, Hugh. ESPN.com did provide a handy class-envy calculator revealing how long it would take someone to match Russell's earnings based on a static salary. For example, someone earning $50,000 annually would have to earn that amount for more than 257 years to match Russell's haul. Ouch.

I put together a chart showing what primary 2009 NFC West quarterbacks earned per victory, yard and touchdown under their most recent contracts:

  • Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck signed his deal in 2005, so his calculations were based on regular-season totals since then (14,112 yards and 92 touchdown passes with 36 victories).

  • Arizona's Kurt Warner earned about $11.5 million on the contract he signed in 2009. His calculations were based on his 2009 regular-season stats (3,753 yards and 26 touchdown passes with 10 victories).

  • San Francisco's Alex Smith renegotiated his deal in 2009. I based his calculations on the signing bonus and salary he earned last season totaling about $4 million. His 2009 stats featured 2,350 yards, 18 touchdowns and five victories.

  • St. Louis' Marc Bulger renegotiated his deal in 2007. I based his calculations on the bonuses and salaries he received since then. His stats during the period in question included 6,581 yards, 27 touchdowns and five victories.

I could have tried to calculate information for Warner and Smith based on previous contracts as well, and it's something I still might do. But first I would have to verify how much each quarterback earned in incentives and otherwise under terms of past deals. Smith was a bargain last season compared to the past, when the 49ers paid him roughly $24 million over his first three-plus seasons.

The chart is sorted by highest price per victory as a starter. Sorry, Rams fans.

NFC West QB Costs: Most recent contracts