National Football Post has the breakdown. First of all, if we can’t include de-escalators in the next version of Madden, I will be very disappointed. But, to the point. Is this a good contract or not?
If everything works his way, he’s the second highest paid player in football by average salary. That’s a pretty sizeable chunk of change. Now, the various intricacies mean he won’t see all of that, of course, and the 49ers have done themselves a tremendous service by building the contract this way. They are protected if he falls flat on his face, and if he succeeds, then he’ll be amply compensated.
What I wanted to find out was, exactly how good are these QBs? Are they going to be worth the cash?
Here’s Joe Flacco:
And here’s Colin Kaepernick:
Let’s begin with something that will make me sound like a total n00b. I had no idea Kaepernick had only played in the NFL for three seasons. Now that I’ve totally lost all credibility, I’m going to move forward. The big difference between the 2013 of Kaepernick and Flacco is described in three letters: I-N-T. Flacco’s interception rate was the highest of his career, and double Kaepernick’s. Kaepernick obviously had the superior 2013. But let’s take a look at some more advanced stats to see their careers and what they do well (and not so well) as QBs.
Flacco first, again:
Okay. Wow, that makes the INTs stand out even more for Flacco. In fact, he was below league average in every single statistic you can think of for a QB. The only stat Flacco didn’t set a career low in was sack %. But look at the one number he set a career high in: attempts. Flacco clearly missed Ray Rice, it seems, as did the Ravens as a whole. The one upside from last year: he was healthy (again). Overall, his career marks have been in favor of yardage over completion percentage — he was billed as “throw ball far” coming out of college, so that makes sense — and, until last year, avoiding INTs. I would be willing to bet Flacco will bounce back, even if it’s a dead cat bounce.
We have less information on Kaepernick, but damn, that is one fine 2013 season. He was virtually perfect at everything except Completion % and getting sacked. He even scrambles! He had one more fumble than Flacco — in about four times as many attempts. Impressive stuff.
Okay, let’s bring it all home. What does this mean?
1) Flacco’s contract already looks bad. Really bad. Even at his very best, Flacco wasn’t justifying that salary, and if he doesn’t regress towards the mean in a big way… ouch.
2) Kaepernick’s is still riskier, in the sense that we have less data on him. But the 49ers built in so many protections that I think they’ll be okay.