Felger & Mazz

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  • Money, money, money. It’s the root of all evil. And on the Boston sports landscape, it hovers over every discussion like a winter storm cloud.

    Here’s the point: the Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson recently agreed on a five-year, $245 million contract that averages out to precisely $49 million per season. The NFL being the NFL, much of that is funny money, which is to say it is not fully guaranteed. But the truth is that quarterback salaries in the NFL are now stratospheric, Aaron Rodgers eclipsing more than $50 million annually with his latest deal.

    The tangential effects of this, of course, are obvious. When guys like Rodgers and Wilson sign, they set the market. Everyone else falls into line. And the same is true in other sports, too, which brings us to perhaps the three biggest contract questions in Boston sports (in particular order) as we begin September 2022:

  • Mac Jones

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 26: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots looks on during the first half of a preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on August 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 26: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots looks on during the first half of a preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on August 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

    Yes, it’s early, as Jones is in only the second year of a four-contract with the Patriots possessing a club option for a fifth season. But we all know the history here. The Patriots operate with a set of rules when it comes to a quarterback’s salary as it relates to a percentage of the salary cap – and they weren’t willing to extend themselves for Tom Brady, the greatest player in league history. What kind of battle are we in for with Jones? Good question. Maybe there won’t be a battle at all. But given today’s news with Wilson it’s not wrong to ask the question.

  • Rafael Devers

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 24: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on August 24, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 24: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on August 24, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    What’s he worth? Good question. The highest-paid third basemen in baseball – Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado and Anthony Rendon – average between $30-$35 million annually. Devers probably isn’t quite on the level of those three, all of whom are Gold Glove-caliber. He’s probably looking at something in the $27-$28 million range annually if he stays in Boston and it seems as of the Red Sox have no choice but to sign him. If they don’t, their credibility in the market could be destroyed.

  • David Pastrnak

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 01: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at TD Garden on December 01, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Canadiens 3-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 01: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at TD Garden on December 01, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Canadiens 3-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Now entering the final year of his contract, Pastrnak is one of the most productive right wings in hockey, which would place his value between $10-$11 million. It seems unlikely that the Bruins would pay him more than they will Charlie McAvoy over the coming years – McAvoy is due an average of $9.5 million annually – but the Bruins, like the Red Sox, don’t appear to have much leverage unless right wing prospect Fabian Lysell thoroughly blossoms. This one feels like a stare down. And the clock is ticking.