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What Is The Price Of A Touchdown In The NFL?

Quarterbacks are the MVPs of football, in more ways than one. Usually the most highly-paid players on the team, they get the money and the glory – and the touchdowns. But are they all pulling their weight, or do some of them deserve to be benched? Our friends over at did a little math to find out the true price of a touchdown.

Most expensive touchdowns of 2020

The numbers used are based on the stats for the 16 games of the regular season, not including playoffs, and the logic used is a basic comparison of earnings divided by the number of touchdowns achieved. Obviously it doesn’t work exactly like that – this article is just for fun so don’t take it too seriously!

So, based on those admittedly flawed calculations, whose touchdowns were the most expensive in 2020? That crown goes to Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers, at an eye-watering $3.6 million per touchdown. Jimmy G had a season plagued by injury and ended up scoring seven touchdowns in the six games that he was fit for. The two players following in second and third place – Alex Smith and Dak Prescott – clock in at almost a million under that total.

A little further down the list, in ninth position, we find the highest paid QB in the NFL at present; Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings. All told, Cousins banked $40 million for the 2020 season, but he turned out to be rather better value than poor old Jimmy G. Cousins didn’t miss a game, and his 35 touchdowns were worth just over a million each.

Best value quarterbacks of 2020

We can hardly blame Jimmy for his bad season, but even so it’s clear that he wasn’t great value that year. A look at the top 20 most highly-paid quarterbacks shows us what we all know to be true, that Tom Brady is pretty good value as a player. With 43 touchdowns and the win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady’s approximately $650,000 per six-pointer looks fairly modest – and he is actually paid slightly more than Garoppolo.

A closer look at the stats gives us proof, if ever it was needed, that the highly paid players are not always the best value. The top scorer of the season was Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, with 51 to Brady’s 43. Rodgers doesn’t make the top 20 in pay, so his touchdowns cost just $143,000 each. But the best value of all was the 25-year-old QB for the Buffalo Bills, Josh Allen. The young star scored 45, coming in at a cost of just over $55,000 each – bargain!

Salary cap reduced for 2021

For the 2021 season, a game has been added to the regular NFL season, but the salary cap has come down for the first time in a decade. The reduction, from $198.2 million in 2020 to $182.5 million, is due almost entirely to the COVID crisis that prevented fans from attending games and put a dent in profits. The dip is expected to be temporary, with a return to the usual climb in the following year.

Because of the way that the salary cap is set up, quarterbacks on different teams receive quite varying amounts of money. The cap applies to the whole team – players only, not other employees – and it is down to the managers how the money is divided up. This is how we end up with quarterbacks earning tens of millions, while the minimum salary for a player in their first year is a relatively paltry $610,000. Even so, that’s still a long way over the average income for American citizens – $94,700 per year.

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