While Colin Kaepernick‘s new contract has the potential to be massive, its average of $21MM per year didn’t set a new standard. The high water mark for quarterbacks’ annual salaries still belongs to Aaron Rodgers and his $22MM per year figure. Nonetheless, it may just be a matter of time before a new wave of young signal-callers tops that amount. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), word around the NFL suggests that when Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson sign extensions, their new deals will come in at around $24-25MM per year.
As Joe Flacco‘s long-term contract with the Ravens exhibited, Super Bowl victories typically give a notable bump to a quarterback’s value, so it’s no surprise that Wilson, coming off a championship, would be eyeing such a mega-deal. However, his regular-season numbers also stack up quite well against Luck’s — the Indianapolis QB has piled up more yardage, but in their two years in the league, Wilson has completed a higher percentage of passes (63.6% to 57.0%), tossed more TDs (52 to 46), and thrown fewer interceptions (19 to 27) than Luck.
That isn’t to say that Luck won’t also be deserving of a $24MM+ annual salary, particularly with the salary cap on the rise. The former first overall pick showed plenty of improvement in 2013 even after one of his top weapons (Reggie Wayne) went down with a season-ending injury, and more is expected of him on offense than of Wilson, who plays in a more run-heavy system in Seattle. Further growth is expected for Luck in 2014, and the Colts will do everything they can to lock up their franchise quarterback. Still, barring a drastic turn this season, Wilson may actually have a stronger case to become the highest-paid QB in football.
Cam Newton, Nick Foles, and Robert Griffin III are among the other talented young quarterbacks who also figure to engage their respective teams in talks on long-term extensions sometime within the next year or so.