New contracts and dismissal threats from highly drafted rookies: What motivates NFL quarterbacks?

Joshua D. Pitts, Kennesaw State University
Brent A. Evans, Georgia College & State University


The authors examined whether incumbent starting quarterbacks in the National Football League (NFL) performed better after their teams drafted another quarterback in the first round of the preceding draft. There was some evidence that quarterbacks exhibited slightly improved performance under these conditions. However, the impact on performance was small. There was little evidence of opportunistic behavior by quarterbacks, but quarterbacks may perform slightly better in the first year of a new contract. The authors conclude that quarterbacks are already exerting at or near their maximum effort level and thus their performances are unlikely to be greatly impacted by dismissal threats or contract details.