Quarterback is the highest-paid position in the NFL, no surprise as QB is the most important position in football. The stars command in the neighborhood of $20 million per season. The problem is it takes up such a large chunk of the salary cap that teams have to skimp at other positions. And one spot they are doing so it is at… quarterback.
Most clubs carry only two QBs on an active roster and nearly every backup in the league is a low-paid young player or veteran looking to hang on. This could prove vital down the stretch or in the playoffs if a star signal-caller is knocked out of a game. There is precedent in a backup leading his team to a Super Bowl title. In 1990, Giants QB Phil Simms was lost to injury. Jeff Hostetler led New York to five straight wins, including as an underdog on the Super Bowl betting lines in XXV against Buffalo.
Here is a look at six top 2014 SuperBowl online betting contenders and their backup situations.
Could Do Enough to Win
When Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury in Week 9 against the Bears, Packers fans held their breath. They got lucky because Rodgers suffered only a small fracture in his collarbone and was to miss 3-4 games. To show how important Rodgers is and how iffy backup Seneca Wallace is, Green Bay went from a 9.5-point home favorite to -1 against Philadelphia the following week and the Packers’ Super Bowl odds grew longer (they lost to Philly). Green Bay seemed in okay shape with the veteran Wallace, but he’s now done for the season. Third-stringer Scott Tolzien is the current starter but the team recently brought back former No. 2 Matt Flynn, who knows the system and has experience.
Colin Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl last season, and he has a backup who has played in big games in college. Former Texas star Colt McCoy has 21 starts from his Browns days. The Niners would have had the best backup in the NFL had they not traded Alex Smith to Kansas City.
The NFC title could go through Seattle, the NFC favorite on Super Bowl odds, and Russell Wilson has never lost a home game. His backup is eight-year veteran Tarvaris Jackson, who has 34 starts with Seattle and Minnesota.
Peyton Manning hasn’t missed a game for SuperBowl betting odds-on favorite Denver since joining the team in 2012. However, Manning is 37 and has had multiple surgeries on his neck, sitting out the 2011 season. His backup is second-year player Brock Osweiler, who has thrown seven NFL passes.
New England’s Tom Brady has played every regular season game since 2002 other than in 2008. He is 36 and his backup is third-year player Ryan Mallett, who has thrown four NFL passes.
Drew Brees has missed one regular-season game in New Orleans, and Saints backers better hope he doesn’t miss an important one. Backup Luke McCown hasn’t thrown a pass since 2011 and has more career interceptions than touchdowns.