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FBO: Backup QB salary-cap analysis

The Eagles and Colts dedicate lots of money to quarterbacks and still win often

Originally Published: August 31, 2009
By J.I. Halsell | Football Outsiders

This summer we've seen lucrative quarterback deals for Matt Cassel, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers; all of these contracts have an average per year value in excess of $10.5 million. Clearly, this demonstrates the emphasis front offices place on the quarterback position; however -- and not so surprisingly -- there is a significant disparity in contract value between a team's No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks. The median 2009 cap number for starting quarterbacks is $9.23 million, while the median for backups is $1.93 million.

In Indianapolis, Peyton Manning accounts for 16.5 percent of his club's 2009 salary cap, with a whopping cap number of $21.2 million. Conversely, backup QB Jim Sorgi accounts for 1 percent of the Colts' cap, with a cap number of $1.31 million. Combined, Manning and Sorgi account for 17.5 percent of Indianapolis' salary cap, or the highest combined amount allocated to any NFL team's top two quarterbacks.

For a deeper look at how teams handle the salary cap, including a look at the most expensive backup in the NFL and some great cap management in a surprising place, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider

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