NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There is no more important position in sports than quarterback, especially at the professional level.
You can win without a dominant center in basketball (i.e, LeBron James with the Miami Heat and Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls), as an example. You don't even need great pitching in baseball (the Red Sox won the World Series last year without even having the best earned run average in their division). But there is no way you can win without superior quarterbacking in the National Football League, especially with the salary cap limiting what teams can spend on player compensation.
As proof, look no further than Tom Brady and Peyton Manning: Their teams have played in eight of the last 12 Super Bowls (and likely more except for injuries).
There are four reasons why there should be a quarterback exemption to the salary cap now set at $133 million per team for the National Football League:
- Due to the costs of a quality quarterback, teams cannot afford to be deep at the position. A top quarterback such as Aaron Rodgers now makes more per game than Johnny Unitas, the best ever, did in his entire career. It is that way for other positions, too. But no other is as vital as the quarterback in the National Football League so teams need an exemption to the salary cap for needed depth.
- It takes a long time to develop a quarterback at the professional level. Some say it takes at least three years. Teams no longer have that luxury of time due to the salary cap. A talented back-up being groomed will be signed away by another team for more money. With a quarterback exemption, teams would be able to develop talent at the position over time, raising the level of play across the league.
- There are more changes at quarterback now than ever before, owing to injuries and other factors. Due to this turnover, the quality of play falls when the best quarterback is not starting. Talented backups are not there due the salary cap not allowing for depth and development time. For those teams not fortunate enough to have a Brady or Manning at quarterback, the chances of winning diminish. As a result, the level of competition in the National Football League declines. The quarterback exemption would allow for more quarterbacks of a higher quality per team.
- What also deteriorates is the quality of the overall team with a great quarterback due to the salary cap. Teams have to shed themselves of high cost players at other positions to accommodate the rising salaries of a top quarterback pushing against the ceiling. Drew Brees makes nearly three times as much as the next highest paid Saint, as just one example.
|Quarterback||Company||Company||Company||Total Endorsement Earnings 2012-2013|
|Peyton Manning||Buick (owned by General Motors)||Wheaties (owned by General Mills (GIS - Get Report))||Gatorade (owned by PepsiCo)||$12 million|
|Tom Brady||Under Armour (UA)||Dodge (owned by Fiat (FIATY)||UGGS (owned by Decker Outdoors (DECK))||$7 million|
|Drew Brees||PepsiCo (PEP)||Nike||Verizon (VZ)||$11 million|
|Aaron Rodgers||Nike (NKE)||Pizza Hut (owned by Yum! Brands! (YUM)||Ford (F)||$6 million|
|Player||Player Salary||Total Salary Cap going to Offense||Player Salary as % of Offense Salary Cap||Player Salary as % of Team Salary Cap of $133 million|
|Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers||$22,000,000||$51,279,006||@45%||@17%|
|Joe Flaco, Baltimore Ravens||$20,100,000||$55,028,921||@35%||@15%|
|Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints||$20,000,000||$70,912,471||@30%||@15%|
|Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos||$19,200,000||$72,778,187||@30%||@15%|
|Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons||$18,958,333||$70,155,157||@30%||@15%|