The Salary Breakdown of Backup Quarterbacks: Is It Worth It?


Backups are essential to any team, especially in sports like football where a single injury can derail an entire season. However, the cost of hiring a backup quarterback is often debated among fans and experts alike. In this article, we will explore the salary breakdown of backup quarterbacks and analyze whether it’s worth the investment.

The Importance of Backup Quarterbacks:

A good backup quarterback can make all the difference in the outcome of a game. When the starting quarterback gets injured, a capable backup can step in and keep the team competitive until the starting quarterback returns. This is especially true in playoff games where every point counts. In fact, some of the greatest upsets in sports history have been due to backups stepping in and leading their teams to victory.

Salary Breakdown:

According to ESPN’s salary cap tracker, the average salary for a backup quarterback is around $2 million per year. However, this can vary depending on factors such as experience, performance, and the team’s overall budget. For example, the San Francisco 49ers paid Jimmy Garoppolo $23.75 million in 2018, while the Pittsburgh Steelers paid Landry Jones $675,000 in the same year.

Pros and Cons:
One of the main advantages of having a backup quarterback is that it provides peace of mind for the team and the fans. If the starting quarterback gets injured, the team can continue to compete without having to rely on an untested rookie or undrafted player. Additionally, having a capable backup can also increase the value of the starting quarterback, as they know they have someone who can step in and perform at a high level if needed.

However, there are also some potential downsides to having a backup quarterback. For one, it can be expensive to hire and pay a backup, especially if they are a high-profile player with a lot of experience. Additionally, there is always the risk that the backup may not perform as well as the starting quarterback, which could lead to a loss of confidence among the team and the fans.

Expert Opinion:

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, "In most cases, having a veteran backup quarterback is a good idea, but it’s also important to remember that every backup has a role to play in the organization, whether that’s simply being a third-stringer or being the team’s No. 2 option."


In conclusion, the salary breakdown of backup quarterbacks is an interesting topic that is often debated among fans and experts alike. While there are certainly pros and cons to having a backup quarterback, it ultimately depends on the specific situation and the team’s priorities. If a team has a high-profile starting quarterback who they want to protect at all costs, paying for a capable backup may be worth it. However, if a team is looking to save money and take a risk with an untested rookie or undrafted player, they may choose not to have a backup quarterback at all. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what makes the most sense for the team and their fans.

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