There's been a lot of debate here at AP regarding Matt Cassel's contract. My understanding is that it's about $28 million guaranteed over 6 seasons, with escalators pushing it up to a possible $63 million over that period...or anywhere between $5-$10 million per season, assuming that he's around for the full 6 seasons.
I tried to find some reliable information regarding the average starting NFL QB salaries, but couldn't get very far...with the way contracts are structured, it's surprisingly difficult to find a straightforward list of average salaries. In the end I'm just using the $5 million average this guy came up with. So essentially, Pioli is paying Cassel at an above average salary, but not an elite salary (which would be closer to $15m per season. Even if he becomes the best QB in the league (yeah, I know, that's above his upside) he won't be among the top paid QBs in the league. The worst case scenario is that he falls apart or has a career ruining injury this year, and he makes about $30-$35 million for a single season. That would obviously be an awful deal, but injuries are just a part of the risks associated with guaranteed contracts...it's an unavoidable risk in the NFL.
I know this has all been discussed repeatedly before, a lot of people believe that Cassel should not have been given the contract before proving himself with a 'less talented' Chiefs team, while others have said that he's proven that he can QB in the NFL with a good supporting cast, and therefore is more deserved of the contract than any big money rookie ever could be. Personally, I've been in the latter group, and after 7 games this season, I remain firm in my belief that it was a good decision. Cassel hasn't been great, but he's been very good considering the circumstances he has to deal with. He certainly doesn't have a lot of passing yards, but does have a 2:1 TD to INT ratio, which is quite good considering that teams are teeing off on him & he has zero running game. I think with his production with THIS team, he'd be commanding another franchise tag in the off-season & an even bigger contract. I think the majority of APers would not want to let him to walk.
There isn't much point to this post, other than to open up a controversial decision to discussion.