Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and the race to a $25 million annual salary

Colin Kaepernick has only started 23 career regular-season games and was merely the league’s 10th highest-rated passer in 2013. He’s never had a 25-touchdown campaign. And yet this week, Kaepernick became the second-highest-paid quarterback in football.

Yes, Kaepernick now makes an unbelievable $21 million per year, which is more than Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. That’s what happens when the market starts to take off and the salary cap begins to skyrocket.

And it’s only going to get worse (or better, depending on how you look at it) as TV money kicks in and that cap grows more substantially. Quarterback salaries are now officially out of control, and young studs like Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III are next in line.

In fact, ESPN’s Adam Schefter thinks there’s a chance that a quarterback like that winds up in the Alex Rodriguez/Texas Rangers range:

Unfortunately for Luck, he might have to wait two years because the Colts will have the ability to pick up his fifth-year option in 2015. If that happens, an extension would make sense in 2016. But as a third-round pick, Wilson is riding a four-year rookie deal. He’ll likely get paid first.

Does that mean he’ll have the first chance to become a $25 million man? If he posts another triple-digit passer rating and leads the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl, it’s completely possible. But it’s also possible Seattle pulls a Baltimore and waits out the fourth year, using the franchise tag or paying up in 2016.

Either way, between now and the start of the 2016 season, either Luck, Wilson or Griffin (or a combination, or all of them) will likely have flourished in a major way. And based on the trajectory of the cap and the market for quarterbacks, that probably means at least one of those three gentlemen should be in for a $25 million payday by the time that fall has arrived.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.