Every week the argument for what a quarterback will be paid is had.
Quarterback X did Y therefore they are not worth the alleged $20 million they will seek in free agency, and likely receive.
Except, that’s the market for today’s NFL.
The quarterback is that costly at this point that you cannot wait or try and go on a budget because there is not one.
However, there is a line in the sand, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explains, the $18 million a year for Blake Bortles is about right:
Even at $20 million per year, Bortles would trail Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Case Keenum (likely), and A.J. McCarron (possibly, but not likely). That puts Bortles in the bottom half of the league, above only Ryan Tannehill, Andy Dalton, Tom Brady (who averages a paltry $15 million per year), and the various young quarterbacks who have yet to get a second contract.
Bortles $18 million a year puts him in the Ryan Tannehill/Andy Dalton range, where he probably ranks as a player.
That’s the thing, you have to pay your quarterback, more
The QB tax is a real thing and it gets you.
Sometimes you're lucky, like Philadelphia and what the Rams are hoping emulate, where you can win with a rookie wage quarterback.
The problem, that doesn't happen often. So, you get stuck making the decision: "Do I pay Blake Bortles $18 million a season or do I play the QB roulette wheel in the draft or free agency?"
All of a sudden, Kirk Cousins at $29 million makes sense.
That's the shift in the NFL.