(Note: This article has been updated as of June 8 to reflect Cam Newton's recent contract extension.)
After sizing up the NFL's quarterback contract landscape earlier in the week, this column ranks veteran deals at the position based on which ones are most appealing from a player standpoint. The top four contracts belong to Super Bowl champions, but the six deals after that do not. It's a subjective list, to be certain, but one I feel good about after using insights from agents and team contract negotiators to form my own opinions.
Seventeen quarterbacks around the league are playing on non-rookie contracts that make them legitimate starters. The two most accomplished ones, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, adjusted their contracts in team-friendly ways. For that reason, I've excluded their contracts from the rankings. I ranked the remaining 15 deals after considering average per year (APY), "true" guarantees (as opposed to injury-only ones), three-year APY and other factors discussed within the rankings. (Note: Rankings listed are only among 15 quarterbacks included here.)
Joe Flacco came out on top of my list even though his contract, if analyzed in a vacuum, would probably rank closer to fourth or fifth. There's hidden value in the deal, for reasons the Baltimore Ravens will encounter in the next year or so.
1. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Signed: March 4, 2013
Rankings: 5th APY, 10th true guarantee, 5th three-year APY
Agents and negotiators place Flacco's deal in the top five, but none I spoke with placed it in the top spot. I put it there because a $28.55 million salary-cap figure in 2016 should force the Ravens back to the bargaining table, providing Flacco with another opportunity to improve his financial situation. This deal also looks better from a player standpoint because he is earning MVP-caliber money without putting up the numbers typically required to command that much. He is a good QB with a great QB's contract.