Who would you rather have on your team: the best left tackle in the NFL or the best wide receiver? You can argue about these names but since they are both in the big-contract news, who would you want: Joe Thomas or Larry Fitzgerald?
Which player is worth more money? The correct answer is: whichever one is on your team. If you have the best player at his position in the entire league, he is worth every penny you pay him.
But let’s just say you had a choice or you had to make a choice because of the salary cap: which position is most valuable? I rate the top 3 this way:
2) Left tackle
And even that rating is based on my internal algorithm that states a quarterback is only valuable if there is at least a serviceable offensive line available to keep him from getting sacked too many times, or as is more commonly known, “getting David Carr-ed.” Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, in fact, stink and are totally unproductive on plays when they are sacked.
Which is why left tackle is number 2 on my list. If you can’t protect number 1’s blind side, what’s the point of having number 1?
But my real topic is not quarterback versus left tackle, but rather wide receiver versus left tackle. Or, as I like to think of it, sizzle versus steak.
Plus think about this: Larry Fitzgerald signed for $120 million for eight years. Joe Thomas signed for $84 million for seven years. Never mind that not all the money in either contract is guaranteed. Why is the “best wide receiver in the NFL worth 1/3 more than the “best left tackle”? I’ll tell you why. Sizzle sells tickets.
I’ll also tell you why, in the communist world (among owners, sort of) that is the NFL salary cap, this theory is wrong. Linemen win championships more than anyone except quarterbacks. And quarterbacks who are injured or battered are not usually very good. Teams that can find talent and spend your money wisely splurge on the quarterback and the men who protect the quarterback — especially a left tackle.
I believe the best left tackle in the NFL is worth 1/3 more than the best wide receiver, not the other way around. I wonder what NFL quarterbacks believe. What do you believe?