A closer look at Nate Sudfeld's contract with the 49ers


Nate Sudfeld didn’t exactly break the bank but he did get a decent lump sum in guaranteed money from the 49ers.

The Eagles’ former backup quarterback is heading to San Francisco on a one-year deal worth $990,000.

Here are some more details of that deal, according to a league source:

Base salary: $990K

Total guarantee: $252K

Signing bonus: $0

Incentives: $137.5K

Cap hit: $850K

This is one of those veteran salary benefit deals, which is why the cap hit is lower than the actual amount of the contract. This is a mechanism created to encourage teams to sign veterans over younger, cheaper players.

The first reaction from NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco was that the $252K in guarantees signaled than Sudfeld is more than just a camp arm with the 49ers. The 49ers are set to presumably take a QB with the No. 3 pick and still have Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Rosen and Josh Johnson under contract as well.

It’s interesting to think about Sudfeld’s career with the Eagles. They brought him aboard in 2017 as a practice squad member but always thought a lot of him. The Eagles promoted him in 2017 to avoid losing him to another team and when Carson Wentz tore his ACL, made Sudfeld the backup for that entire playoff run. Sudfeld was the backup in Super Bowl LII.

And the next year, in 2018, Sudfeld was the backup when Wentz went down with the back injury.

In 2019, the Eagles placed a second-round tender on Sudfeld and paid him over $3 million that season because of it. He would have been the full-time backup in 2019 but he broke his wrist in training camp and the team added Josh McCown.

Even last year, the Eagles brought Sudfeld back on a $1.7 million deal to be the backup but then drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round. So they paid him nearly $5 million over the last two seasons to be their third-string quarterback.

It’s important to remember those salaries and that love came with the previous coaching staff.

Because this offseason, the Eagles gave Joe Flacco a one-year $3.5 million deal that can be worth up to $7.5 million with incentives. Flacco’s cap hit in 2021 is just over $1.5 million but he’ll leave nearly $2 million in dead money for the 2022 season.

Obviously, Flacco has a much thicker resume and has proven to be a better player that Sudfeld. The Eagles have Jalen Hurts as their starter but presumably want a veteran backup who might push him some. And Sudfeld’s performance in the 2020 regular season finale didn’t help his stock but Doug Pederson didn’t really do him any favors by putting him in that position either.

But was it worth giving Flacco this contract when a player like Sudfeld is getting paid so little? Especially in what we all already understand is a rebuilding year for the Birds?

It’s just a little weird. The Eagles were prepared (at one point or another) to go into the 2019 and 2020 seasons with Sudfeld as their backup, paid him nearly $5 million in those two years and now when he’s cheap and they’re going into a rebuild, decided to pay an aging veteran a higher price.

It’s nothing egregious. I wouldn’t bother writing your senator for this one. But it’s just an interesting allocation of resources. The Eagles probably overpaid for Flacco in the same way that they overpaid for Sudfeld the last two years. It seems like the Eagles are trying to balance a rebuilding season with being competitive in 2021. And they’re always going to put resources into the backup QB spot.

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