Will Arch Manning Be The First $100 Million A Year NFL Quarterback?

Mar 28, 2022, 11:44 AM
Arch Manning...
Arch Manning looks on during his recruiting visit to Clemson University before the game between the Clemson Tigers and the Florida State Seminoles at Clemson Memorial Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Your value is what someone is willing to pay you for a particular job. An NFL quarterback is no different.

When Patrick Mahomes signed his then record-setting deal worth at least $450 million and $503 million overall, it seemed like that would stand for years as the most lucrative contract.

Since that 2020 deal, Mahomes’ per year contract is still the highest overall but his per year average is now third, according to Spotrac. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ yearly salary is $50.2 million per year. Deshaun Watson’s new deal with the Cleveland Browns has him second with $46 million per year — plus an unprecedented $230 million fully guaranteed deal — is just one million more than Mahomes.

There are now a total of six quarterbacks who make at least $40 million per year and it seems the next quarterback contract always resets the market.

Rodgers tops the market at $50 million per year and it will likely be not that far down the road there will be other quarterbacks who earn in that range. It might be a while as the top quarterbacks have these mega deals, so it could be a second deal for a young quarterback like Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars or perhaps Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen getting a restructured deal partway through his current six-year extension. Another option could be Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in what would likely be his third NFL contract.

The main point to all of this is that quarterbacks are worth whatever ownership is willing to pay to get or retain their talent. The Minnesota Vikings just tacked on another year to Kirk Cousins’ deal for $35 million fully guaranteed, and he isn’t considered an elite quarterback.

Is The Next Mega-Rich QB In The League?

Who will be the first $100 million per year quarterback? That sounds outlandish and out of this world. However, a $50 million per year quarterback sounded similar less than two years ago. Salaries for the most important position on a football team are growing exponentially.

Let this sink in — former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan inked the very first $30 million-a-year contract back in 2018 and since then there have been 22 deals worth at least $20 million. Eight contracts in the $30 million range have also been signed since Ryan’s deal. In less than four years, players started getting $40 million-a-year deals with Rodgers eye-popping $50 million annual salary.

UnRivaled’s Scott Mitchell knows a thing or two about big NFL contracts. Mitchell’s three-year, $11 million deal with the Detroit Lions back in 1994 was seen as a really big deal. His prediction is that Arch Manning, who has not even picked a college, could be that first $100 million per year NFL quarterback.

“It’s not 20 years down the road. Salaries have jumped and escalated and it’s been accelerated, it’s not just at this nice simple rate of growth. It’s like just leaps and bounds how much these guys are making now,” Mitchell said. “It’s really simple. So it’s Arch Manning. If you look at who is the most surefire guy that’s out there, DNA, name recognition. By the time he goes into the pros, he is the number one pick in the draft. It’s already been decided.”

That is a ton of hype for a current high school senior but if the stars align it makes a lot of sense. He has the pedigree of being a Manning, which includes his grandfather Archie and uncles Peyton and Eli.

It would not be Manning’s first contract but his second. That timeline puts a potential $100 million a year contract at about eight years away. The youngest Manning is projected to start college in 2023. He would not be eligible for the NFL Draft until 2026 and his second deal would likely be in his fourth year in the NFL in 2029.

The new NFL’s media rights deal could make projecting a nine-figure contract a reality.

“Arch Manning plays four years of a rookie deal,” Mitchell said. “So now you’re eight years into this from right now, from today, and that puts you right at the new collective bargaining agreement. You have Amazon, you have Netflix, you have Hulu, you have FuboTV, you have sling, TV, whatever streaming service. You have a million of them and when the new TV contract comes because everyone right now they’re going, okay, I stream my viewing process. That’s what a lot of people do now. Cable is not going to go away.”

The NFL is by far the most popular thing on television. As long as it stays that way, media companies will want a piece of that pie and will pay a lot of money to air games. That competitiveness to will up what will go to the players and that is how the first $100 million annual contract will become a reality. It might just be a kid who is still in high school.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-7 p .m. on 1280 The Zone and 97.5 FM or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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Will Arch Manning Be The First $100 Million A Year NFL Quarterback?