19 first-round QBs since 2011 who may or may not have scored a contract extension

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·8 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield went No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL draft, and after leading the hard-luck AFC North franchise to a wild-card playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, it is no surprise his agent expects the former Oklahoma quarterback to be in line for a contract extension.

However, being a first-round quarterback since 2011, the year when the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA scaled back rookie contracts, doesn’t always mean a second contract with the same team is on its way. Here is what has happened to every first-round quarterback since 2011 when their time to cash in was at hand.

Cam Newton: June 2015

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers locked up their former 2011 No. 1 overall pick with a five-year, $103.8 million extension on June 2, 2015. Newton would make good on that investment by leading Carolina to a 15-1 record and an appearance in Super Bowl 50 at the end of the season.

Jake Locker: Retirement

(Getty Images)

The No. 8 overall pick from 2011 said he no longer had any passion for the sport and retired after the 2014 season. That solved that problem.

Blaine Gabbert: Traded

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The former No. 10 overall pick in 2011 was drafted in the last year of the Jack Del Rio era, played one season for Mike Mularkey, and then one more in 2013 with new coach Gus Bradley. The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Gabbert to the San Francisco 49ers in the 2014 offseason, and he backed up Colin Kaepernick for the next three seasons. In 2017, he went to the Arizona Cardinals, and then backed up Marcus Mariota with the Tennessee Titans in 2018. Since 2019, Gabbert has been with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which technically makes him a Super Bowl champion following the 2020 season.

Christian Ponder: Contract expired

(Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings essentially let Ponder prove it in 2014, the final year of his contract. The NFC North club didn't even exercise the fifth-year option in his contract. After a 14-21-1 record and a 75.9 passer rating through four years, the Vikings did not re-sign their former 2011 No. 12 overall pick. Ponder spent the preseason with the Oakland Raiders, and was the third-string quarterback late in the season for the Denver Broncos. In 2016, Ponder was with Gabbert in San Francisco, though he did not see any playing time.

Andrew Luck: June 2016

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

On June 29, 2016, the Colts signed Luck, their former No. 1 overall pick in 2012, to a six-year, $140 million contract extension. It didn't look too good for Indianapolis after they made the deal with the club missing the playoffs and then Luck missing the entire 2017 campaign. However, he bounced back from injury and led Indianapolis to the divisional round in 2018. Luck retired in the middle of preseason in 2019.

Robert Griffin: Contract expired

(Getty Images)

Griffin never duplicated his phenomenal rookie season and was benched in favor of Kirk Cousins for the 2015 campaign. Washington made the playoffs with Cousins, and the franchise did not renew Griffin's contract. In 2016, he played for the Cleveland Browns, and then sat out of football as as free agent for all of 2017. In 2018, Griffin was the backup quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens for the next three seasons, sitting behind Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson.

Ryan Tannehill: May 2015

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly, Tannehill signed a contract extension about a month before Cam Newton, and the Miami Dolphins' 2012 first-round pick had played one fewer season. Nevertheless, the Dolphins locked up the former Texas A&M Aggie with a six-year, $96 million contract that ran through the 2020 season. Injuries started hitting Tannehill, and he was out of Miami after the 2018 campaign. Since replacing Marcus Mariota midseason for the Tennessee Titans in 2019, he has become the solution under center for the AFC South club.

Brandon Weeden: Released

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

There is nothing quite like going to the Cleveland Browns to ruin a quarterback's career. Within two seasons, due to shifts in the front office and on the sidelines, the Browns had moved on from Weeden. In 2014, he signed with the Dallas Cowboys and backed up Tony Romo for the next two years. Dallas eventually cut him midway through the 2015 campaign in favor of Matt Cassel. Weeden bounced around between the Houston Texans (2015-16, 2018) and Tennessee Titans (2017) for the last few years of his career.

E.J. Manuel: Contract expired

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills were already looking for other answers at quarterback by 2015 when they added Tyrod Taylor, who later picked up a Pro Bowl selection by the end of the year. In 2016, Manuel was a mere backup and the Bills let their former 2013 first-round pick's contract expire. For the next two seasons, Manuel was a backup with the Oakland Raiders. In 2019, he was signed to be the backup for Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City, but retired during offseason workouts.

Blake Bortles: February 2018

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

After the Jacksonville Jaguars were an overturned fumble recovery away from going to the Super Bowl, they signed their former 2014 No. 3 overall pick to a three-year, $54 million contract. Jacksonville took a step back in 2018, and the Jaguars released him at the end of the year. Bortles spent 2019 with the Los Angeles Rams, and was released early in the 2020 campaign, landing with the Denver Broncos. The Rams signed Bortles back off of Denver's practice squad, but he did not stay with the team. Through offseason workouts this year, Bortles has been with the Green Bay Packers.

Johnny Manziel: Released

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Browns released Manziel as soon as the new league year began in March 2016. The former 2014 No. 22 overall pick battled addiction and even caught on for a little bit with the CFL. Manziel played for the Fan Controlled Football indoor league in early 2021.

Teddy Bridgewater: Contract expired

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Bridgewater tried to make the best of a bad situation. In practice late in the 2016 preseason, Bridgewater tore his ACL and sustained other knee damage. With the Minnesota Vikings cobbling together solutions other than their 2015 Pro Bowler, they declined his fifth-year option in 2017. In the 2018 offseason, the free agent Bridgewater signed with the New York Jets, but was rescued when the New Orleans Saints traded for him at the end of preseason. Bridgewater was an effective backup for Drew Brees, and parlayed that into a three-year, $63 million contract with the Carolina Panthers in 2020. The Panthers traded Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos, where he will now compete with Drew Lock for the starting job.

Jameis Winston: Contract expired

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave their 2015 No. 1 overall pick in 2015 every possible chance, even picking up his fifth-year option. In Winston's last season, he threw for 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. The Buccaneers did not renew his contract, and he backed up Brees and Taysom Hill with the Saints in 2020.

Marcus Mariota: Contract expired

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Like Winston, the Titans did everything they could to give Mariota a chance to secure the bag as their franchise quarterback, especially since Tennessee won a playoff game at the end of the 2017 season. Instead, he was replaced by Ryan Tannehill midseason in 2019, and the former 2015 No. 2 overall pick has been relegated to backup status ever since. Currently, he is entering the final year of his two-year contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Jared Goff: September 2019

(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Five months after picking up Goff's fifth-year option, the Los Angeles Rams decided to put a ring on it by signing their former 2016 No. 1 overall pick to a contract extension. Goff lasted two more seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, who then traded him to the Detroit Lions this offseason for Matthew Stafford.

Carson Wentz: June 2019

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Like Goff, the Philadelphia Eagles first picked up the fifth-year option for their 2016 first-round quarterback and then signed him to a contract extension in June. Also like the Rams, the Eagles kept Wentz around for two more seasons before trading him in the offseason. The Indianapolis Colts are hopeful coach Frank Reich, Wentz's former offensive coordinator, can have that same 2017 magic with Wentz.

Mitchell Trubisky: Contract expired

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears didn't pickup the fifth-year option for their No. 1 overall pick, and he barely did well enough to keep Nick Foles at bay as Chicago finished 8-8 and played the part of easy foil to Brees in his wild-card swan song with the Saints. Trubisky is now backing up Josh Allen with the Buffalo Bills.

Patrick Mahomes: July 2020

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

10 years, $477 million with $503 million in bonuses. Yes, sir.

Deshaun Watson: September 2020

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans picked up Watson's fifth-year option, and then signed him to a four-year, $177.5 million contract in September, a week before they would play the Kansas City Chiefs in the Thursday opener.

1

1