Ndamukong Suh, the No. 2 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, recently signed a five-year, $68 million contract with $40 million guaranteed. That is more money per year than the contract of the No. 1 pick QB Sam Bradford signed.
- Suh's contract is for $13.6 million a year (8 million a year guaranteed)
- Bradford's contract is for $13 million a year (8.3 million a year guaranteed)
For the No. 2 player to get a shorter deal (usually rookies want a shorter deal so they can have the freedom to become a free agent sooner) with more money per year than the No. 1 pick is odd. Add to that the fact that Suh's position is much less valuable than Bradford's position, and it has you wondering why so many cried out that Bradford was "overpaid," while most seem to agree Suh got paid appropriately.
Suh played on a defense which Sam Bradford's team ripped for 62 points.
Would you like Bradford's stat line against the "all-powerful" Suh? He went 19 for 27 for 311 yards five TDs one INT and ZERO SACKS. Sam was hardly even pressured at all.
The commentators brought up the fact that Bradford was able to stand and wait in the pocket throughout the game (usually he would roll out often, but didn't need to against Suh). Suh did little to nothing to disrupt the pocket or pressure Bradford.
Most articles stating that Bradford is overpaid are based on personal opinion of Bradford's draft value, not on his NFL performance. No rookies have any NFL experience, and that includes Suh. It is commonly assumed he will be an elite DT, but we won't know for sure until he actually plays.
All rookies are overpaid. None of them have done anything in the NFL. Bradford is no more overpaid than Suh is.
Thus far, Bradford is performing very well in camp. He has shown more promise than Suh based on the fact that he plays, by far, the most important position in football: quarterback.
How many defensive tackles have "led their teams to Super Bowls?" Do I need to answer that one? Defensive tackles add significant value to a team's defense, but cannot possibly add as much value as a quarterback. A "great" DT adds less value to a team than a "good" QB:
Bad teams with very good DTs
Bears, Bills, Jaguars, Redskins, Raiders, Browns
Bad teams with very good QBs
(Some may consider Jay Cutler very good, but he hasn't played consistently. Jason Campbell and David Garrard were the best QBs on bad teams.)
The defensive tackle isn't even the "QB of the defense." In the NFL, defensive tackles rarely make enough of a difference to drastically change the outcome of a game.
Quarterbacks, meanwhile, are the face of the team. They help draw in top free agents and bring in lots of cash to the organization. The quarterback is really a player-coach. He often calls his own plays and receives the criticism or blame for failures or successes of a team.
Sam Bradford could be the first long term QB the Rams have acquired since moving to St Louis (Warner was great, but not was not long term solution due to his mid-career struggles).
Franchises need great quarterbacks to earn sustained success, thus the term "franchise quarterback." I have never heard the term "franchise defensive tackle."
If you want to see an example of the value of a QB, look at Peyton Manning.
He was drafted by the worst team in the NFL in 1998 and he helped the Colts almost immediately turn into one of the best franchises in the NFL. He has had 10 winning seasons in 12 years. He has gone 89-23 (74.5 percent) since 2003. He was worth every penny of his rookie contract if not more.
Peyton was a very rare case, but it is an example of the "reward side" of drafting a quarterback No. 1 overall and paying so much money. Everyone talks about the risks (There are far too many to fathom: he could break an arm, get in a car crash, or even be bitten by a poisonous snake), but the potential rewards are monumental.
Most of the time the teams who draft a QB first overall do so because they are desperate for a good player at the most important position, not because that person deserves to be drafted so high. Yes, the Rams were desperate for a franchise "savior," but the coaching staff was unanimous in the decision to draft Bradford.
Countless analysts confirmed the value of Bradford's draft stock. Bradford would have been drafted No. 1 in 2009, so it wasn't like they were going on a limb. Plus, Bradford's physique improved drastically in a year. Physically, he looks like an NFL QB now.
Bradford will develop. It should be more of a matter of surrounding him with good offensive talent, which will be the hard part for the Rams. But based on his work ethic (which is comparable to Peyton's work ethic), Bradford should adjust to the NFL within a couple of years.
There is every reason to believe Sam Bradford will be a very good NFL quarterback. Only if he fails to do so can we say he is more overpaid than Ndamukong Suh (that is of course assuming Suh doesn't end up a bust).
Unless it is Bradford that proves to be the bust, Suh is the most overpaid player in the NFL.