Let’s get this out of the way; If Mitch Trubisky re-signs with the Buffalo Bills this offseason, I would expect it’s on a similar deal to the one-year, $2.5 million contract he signed last offseason. That is way undervaluing him and he should look elsewhere for a better deal.
Trubisky signed in Buffalo to learn a new organization, rehab his image and his mental processing, and make a run at a Super Bowl. With that (mostly) complete, he needs to find a place that’s going to give him a shot at being a starting quarterback. His contract should reflect that.
Let’s look at some of the contracts for those guys competing to be starters.
One year, $10 million ($6M guaranteed)
One year, $10 million ($10M guaranteed)
Both of those guys were signed to be the veteran starter. In Dalton’s case, he was the placeholder for a young QB where the Washington Football Team had Taylor Heinicke. Dalton was coming off a one-year, $3 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys to rehab his image, so this might be Trubisky’s best-case scenario.
One year, $6 million ($4.5M guaranteed)
Newton came in to share starting snaps with the Carolina Panthers after a string of injuries for them.
One year, $5.5 million ($2.5M guaranteed)
Taylor was the de facto starter for the Houston Texans with the DeShaun Watson situation and a lame-duck coach, but an injury forced him to the sideline.
One year $5.5 million ($5.5M guaranteed)
This is the situation closest to Trubsiky’s from a year ago. Winston was signed to be the lead horse in a QB competition to replace Drew Brees. He had rehabbed his career and now was looking for his next shot at starting. Similar age and trajectory to Trubisky, as well. This contract had a ton of incentives built in, as well. I’ll break those down in a second.
Teddy Bridgewater (2020)
Three years, $63 million ($33 million guaranteed)
A pie-in-the-sky hope for Trubisky could be the Bridgewater contract from 2020. Bridgewater was 5-0 with great passing stats in limited action for the 2019 New Orleans Saints, though, so he had a body of work to barter with. With Drew Brees out, they barely missed a beat. He parlayed that into a big contract with the Panthers.
I doubt someone is going to give him the $10 million contracts we talked about before and the Bridgewater deal is sort of crazy to think about. If I’m Trubisky’s agent, I’m taking a $6-8 million guaranteed contract with a ton of incentives built in on a one-year deal. He doesn’t have the risk Winston did and the team where he ends up is more likely to be in a better cap position than the Saints a year ago, so the guaranteed money is higher.
Winston had a $1 million per-game roster bonus if he played 50% of the team’s snaps. He earned $500,000 if the Saints made the playoffs and he played 70% of the regular-season snaps. In the playoffs, he earned $250k for each win if he played more than half the offensive snaps. Passer rating ($500k), completion percentage ($500k), passing yards (up to $1 million), passing TDs (up to $1 million), and avoiding sacks ($500k) were all incentivized. He earned $1 million if he improved on any of his stats from 2020 (essentially handing him a million bucks in Not Likely To Be Earned incentives to keep it off the cap).
It’s a complicated contract and one that the Saints desperately needed to stay under the cap in 2021. It ended up working out for New Orleans financially when he was injured and didn’t meet most of those incentives.
If Trubisky ends up with the Pittsburgh Steelers or Denver Broncos or Indianapolis Colts or Texans, they have the money to pay him that. He’d be in somewhat of a competition with the Detroit Lions or Washington Commanders or Carolina Panthers. If he ends up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, or Saints they’ll have to be more creative.
One year, $6 million
$4.75 million guaranteed
Lots on incentives
Not with the Bills...