The two most recent collective bargaining agreements between the NFL and the NFLPA have been both a blessing and a curse for young quarterbacks.
Beyond the fact that rookie passers no longer immediately become the highest-paid players in the league if they are drafted early, there have been huge repercussions for young signal-callers as a result of the structured salary arrangement.
On the positive side of the ledger, since younger quarterbacks are now cost-effective, relatively speaking, teams are now anxious to get them on the field and maximize the relative value they offer at the position. The old school mentality of a rookie quarterback holding a clipboard and “learning by watching” is out the window. They play as early as possible, learning by doing instead, and teams use dollars that were previously allocated to the rookie quarterback’s salary elsewhere.
That has also spurred offensive innovation. If you have to play these young QBs, many of whom come from offenses that some consider not exactly “pro style,” you see new schematic elements work their way into the NFL. A “trickle-up” theory of offensive innovation, if you will.
But there is a downside.
Specifically, moving on from a mistake – real or perceived – is less costly for an organization.
NFL organizations, especially those commonly selecting in the first ten picks of the NFL Draft each year, are not generally known for their patience. Whether is comes from ownership, the fanbase, or a combination thereof, teams that have struggled usually lack the ability to handle a slow process of improvement. These organizations might not have the stomach to handle the learning curve with a young QB.
In the past it was difficult to also stomach moving on