A separate salary caps for quarterbacks would be a huge asset for the Houston Texans

The Houston Texans would be one of the teams to greatly benefit from a separate quarterback salary cap.
Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens
Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The amount of money that quarterbacks get paid in the NFL is getting out of hand. Trevor Lawerence is now making somewhere in the neighborhood of $55 million to be an above-average quarterback. He's making as much as Joe Burrow, who himself has never won a Super Bowl. The amount a quarterback gets paid keeps going up and up, and considering their production is directly tied to the talents around them, it seems silly to give one position so much of the salary cap per season.

It's resulted in people discussing ways to keep spending down, to avoid such exorbitant contracts being handed out and single-handily handcuffing the team. NFL players deserve every dollar they can get, don't get us wrong, but having one player take up so much of the cap room does hinder teams and their ability to keep a winning team together. Let's look at the Kansas City Chiefs for starters.

While the Chiefs have won three Super Bowls since 2019, Mahomes' numbers have come down as talent has left the squad due to contract issues. In 2019, when they won their first under him, Mahomes threw for 50 touchdowns, and 5,000 yards and went into the postseason and threw another 11 touchdowns. In 2023, it was far more of a struggle, with Mahomes only throwing 27 touchdowns and 4,100 yards passing in the regular season, while only throwing six touchdowns in the playoffs. Still great numbers for any quarterback, sure, but Mahomes doesn't have the same talent around him now as he did in 2019.

With guys like Travis Kelce on the verge of retirement, Mahomes window to win Super Bowls may close without another elite-level receiver to step up and replace him. Not every quarterback can excel sans elite playmakers like Tom Brady did for a few years.

C.J. Stroud, Houston Texan's own, is no different. He needs top receivers and blockers around him, and considering he'll likely make somewhere close to, if not over $60 million per year when he gets his extension, the Texans will have to let people go to afford Stroud. An NFL team can't sustain itself long-term with such a big chunk of money going to one player.

The Chiefs have found some success due to Mahomes making so little currently ($9.8 million in 2024) and kicking what he's owed down the road. Delaying owed money can work in the immediacy but it'll have haunting consequences long-term. The Cleveland Browns traded for Deshaun Watson and gave him the worst contract in NFL history right after. Watson's done next to nothing, and he's had elite talent around him. They're so desperate to make things work, that they've pushed most of the money he's owed to after the end of his contract, just to be able to afford the guys around him.

This means the Browns will be paying Watson for years after his contract expires. All to win now. That means that the team will have a full-tear down at some point soon, and will be forced to rebuild due to the money Watson is owed.

The Chiefs are no different. They're likely going to struggle come 2026 when Mahomes will start making the bulk of his salary. They probably have anticipated this, which is why they're in win-now mode. Andy Reid will likely be retired around then (he'll be pushing 70), and the team will try and focus on a quick turn-around through younger, cheaper talent.

It's what the New England Patriots did a lot of years, but Tom Brady always took less than he deserved, just so he could keep some of his better teammates around. He's suspected of giving up nearly $60 million in his career so that his teams could re-sign his better teammates. Most quarterbacks aren't going to do that, however.

Since most quarterbacks aren't going to give up money, the best way to extend championship windows is by having two separate salary caps; one for the quarterback and one for the rest of the team.

Being able to re-sign and sign other players, without worrying how it affects your quarterbacks' cap would be huge for any team. It'd allow quarterbacks to make as much as they're going to make, without it impacting the development of the rest of the team. If the Texans want to have a more reliable window than just three or four seasons, this is the way.

A separate cap may help regulate the market, forcing players to achieve things other than mediocrity to get paid. That's not a bad thing at all.