The Cowboys signing of Kellen Moore back in September has proven to be one of the best moves Jerry Jones has made in recent history. Quarterbacks are by far the most expensive players on the gridiron.
NFL teams are not as high on this class of quarterbacks as the media. The NFL has always been a quarterback driven league, so come draft time, someone has to be considered the best quarterback in the class.
What does this mean? A quarterback who would go in say the 2nd to 4th round in a class deep with quarterbacks such as the one in 2012, suddenly becomes a top 10 pick out of desperation. Why: you ask? It’s this little thing called supply and demand. Second tier free agent quarterbacks are commanding exuberant salaries now days. Recent moves made by NFL teams have proven just how valuable Kellen Moore really is to the Dallas Cowboys, who are ranked 28th in the league for available cap dollars: sitting somewhere between $10 and $15 million.
“It’s a very easy thing to say, ‘Go get a backup quarterback.’ Now tell me where to get them. You just can’t dial them up.” – Bill Parcells…
Back in that deep 2012 class, the Washington Redskins Mortgaged their future to trade up to the #2 spot in order to draft RGIII. In that same draft, they acquired Kurt Cousins in the 4th round. Kellen Moore was signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent that same year. Russel Wilson went to the Seattle Seahawks in the 3rd round, 75th overall. Andrew Luck was the 1st overall pick and has one of the worst post season passer ratings in the league. He was outplayed by his backup, 40 year old Matt Hasselbeck in 2015.
It’s funny how things played out. The 4th round selection got the Gold Mine, and the media favorite got the shaft. The Washington Redskins just used the franchise tag on Cousins to the tune of $19.95 million. That sports fans is only $500,000 less than future HOF QB Drew Brees is making per year. $2 million “MORE” than Matt Stafford and $1.5 million more than Tony Romo earn. Kurt Cousins is not a proven franchise quarterback yet. Cousins was a backup 2 years ago and has one decent season as the starter under his belt. As you can see, the draft is driven by the media and you can’t go on the hype the 2016 media favorites are getting.
How hard is it to find a quarterback in the NFL?
NFL scouts know that none of the quarterbacks in the 2016 draft class are NFL ready. Over 90% of them “NEVER” took a snap under center in a game or ever called a play at the line of scrimmage. Meaning the odds of any of them being a solid day one starter are zero to none. That sports fans, made a second tier QB like Sam Bradford, become a valuable commodity in the NFL.
How valuable you ask? The Eagles just inked him to a 2 year deal worth $36 million with $26 million in guaranteed money. Tony Romo earns about $18 million a year. You know there are no decent QBs out there when those two guys (Cousins and Bradford) are commanding that kind of dough. The last of the second tier guys, Brock Osweiler will be retained at a very high price by the Broncos. Back to what Bill said above.
Moving on to the 3rd tier guys: The Jaguars were forced to pay Chad Henne an average annual salary of $5 million per year to retain his services. Who does that leave? Ryan Fitzpatrick, who the Jets will probably have to keep with what Muhammed Wilkerson and other key starters will cost them to retain. Chase Daniel who has been the backup to Alex Smith and will probably resign (unless offered a starting role). Drew Stanton, Johnny Manziel (probably done in the NFL), RGIII (not a good fit in the Cowboys offense), and Colt McCoy who has done nothing at all in the NFL to prove he is any better than Kellen Moore. Slim pickins if ya ask me.
According to Spotrac, the fourth overall pick in the draft will be an estimated 2016 cap hit of $4,135,567: about 1/3 of the Cowboys’ available cap space. Do you want to sacrifice that much valuable cap space on an unproven QB that may or may not translate to the NFL? May not even see the field for 2-3 years, and more than likely wont be as good as Kellen Moore or be able to win the #2 role behind Tony Romo? Back to what Bill said.
Kellen Moore only had two weeks worth of reps with the starters to prepare for his first NFL start and had to face a very tough Bills’ defense. He showed he was able to move the chains and added some spark to an offense that had been stagnant under Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden who were both considered to be veterans with more experience and more polished players. How did that work out?
In his second NFL start, Kellen Moore set both franchise and NFL records (435 YDs 3 TDs). He became the first quarterback in Cowboys history to throw for over 400 yards in his second start (the 4th in franchise history to accomplish the feat), and only the second player in NFL history to throw for over 400 yards in his first start at home.
The fact of the matter is: if the Cowboys go out and sign a cap friendly 4th tier quarterback they will get what they pay for. A guy no one else wanted and he will still cost more than Moore, who is signed through 2016 and set to only go $760,000 against the salary cap. Once he has a full training camp under his belt, allowing him some time to develop chemistry with the receivers and get comfortable in the offense, this will prove to be the smartest move Jerry Jones made in years. Signing a “CHEAP” free agent will bring another Cassel or worse. Back to what Bill said.