Instead of comparing contracts (both good and bad), I’ve decided to analyze four current NFL players, in contract years, that may garner quite a bit of interest next offseason (assuming they don’t re-up beforehand).
Let’s see if you can identify the player in question.
If not, highlight the box after their position to find out who they are. Cheater.
Player #1: The Quarterback [Chad Pennington]
In 2008, he led his team – in his first season with the team – to an 11-5 mark. He remained healthy throughout the season and had 19 TDs to only 7 INTs. He is incredibly accurate, highly rated, and had, by far, his worst game of the season in a playoff home opener. So there’s that. In the game, he was sacked 3 times, threw 4 picks, and had a fumble as well (with only 1 touchdown pass).
He’s 33, entering his 10th season, and you have a young 2nd-round pick waiting in the wings. But is he someone that excites you, your team, and your fans? Not yet, at least. Oddly enough, he was named the “starter in waiting” early last season, which just happened to coincide with the end of this current quarterback’s contract.
Given your current starter’s knowledge of your division, poise in the pocket, and incredibly successful ’09 campaign…are you willing to severe ties after this season, regardless of its outcome??? Note: The schedule is BRUTAL.
Other QBs of note:
Player #2: The Running Back [Willie Parker]
Entering his 6th season, at age 28, he’s close to the dreaded “30-year old running back” label. Nevertheless, in his six seasons – all in one uniform – he’s provided plenty of fireworks.
Following three straight 1,000-yard campaigns from ’05 to ‘07, he struggled to stay on the field in ’08, missing 5 games in the regular season. His ypc dipped below 4 yards for the first time in his career and his reception total was an anemic 3 catches for 13 yards…total.
Meanwhile, you selected an RB in the first round in ’08, who promptly hurt himself before any significant playing time. You found talent in the free agency scrap heap, both in the passing game and on the goalline, and weathered the storm of injuries to the backfield to quite a bit of success. In fact, you more than weathered them.
An opening round playoff performance reminded you how great this guy can be (146 yards and 2 TDs); however, the “Super-performance” of 19 carries for only 53 yards was a little lacking to say the least. Question is: do you stray away from “company policy” and open up the checkbook for a running back entering his 30s? Hmmmmm.
I'm not talking Len Dale, but his physique is looking SHARP!
Other RBs of note: Tennessee’s LenDale "Tequila" White, New York’s Leon Washington, New Orleans’ Pierre Thomas, Daren Sproles of San Diego, Miami’s Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, Baltimore’s Le’Ron McClain, and Jerious Norwood of Atlanta.
Player #3: The Wide Receiver [Kevin Walter]
You may already have arguably the best wide receiver in football on your roster and locked up for the future. Your quarterback situation is stable, but only when he’s healthy. Which hasn’t been too often the past two seasons. You have an up-and-coming running back and an offense that has the ability to put up points on the board in bunches. So how important is your #2 target? Hint: VERY!
Back-to-back seasons of 60+ catches and 800+ yards were definitely boosted by 8 TD receptions in ’08. 15 ypc and playmaking ability downfield from your #2 only strengthen the impact of your stud #1 and your emerging offense. Why rock the boat?
But are you willing to match an offer, potentially $3-4 million above market value, from another team seeking a #1? Are you willing to offer a contract to someone without a 1,000 yard season in the hopes that he’s on the verge? Someone still without double digit TDs in a season? Especially when the potential free agent market is quite enticing (see below).
If you are another team, do you believe this guy is capable of being your top receiver?
At 6’3 and 215 lbs., it’s a very intriguing option for all parties interested. But is this guy a #2 or might be much more?
White signed his deal during the "rough draft" stages of this article. He wasn't going to be the focus anyways.
The numbers in that contract do matter. A lot.
Credit: The Examiner.com
Other WRs of note: Chris Chambers of San Diego, Mark Clayton of Baltimore, Cleveland’s Braylon Edwards, San Diego’s Vincent Jackson, Denver’s Brandon Marshall, TO of Buffalo, Roddy White of Atlanta (just signed a 6-year, $50-million extension), and Domenik Hixon of New York.
Player #4: The Cornerback [Carlos Rogers]
The position has seen plenty of turnover, inconsistency, and injuries as of late on your roster. A familiar face (or mouth) has returned, seemingly at a discounted price. Meanwhile, you’re now staring at a former top 10 selection who has been quite good and, at other times, borderline benchable. He will command plenty of interest on his name alone; however, is he someone worth opening the pocket book for?
Entering his sixth season, is this guy close to becoming the shutdown All Pro corner you expected when you drafted him so highly? Is he someone who you can automatically ask to lock up with the top talent on the other side of the ball? Is he someone the opposition gameplans away from? It doesn’t appear that way. Or is this someone who was drafted, has performed reasonably well, but isn’t worthy of an expensive extension? Tough call when it’s sometimes the heart versus the head.
Nope, not talking about a certain Bears CB.
But I'm sorry, but how do you spell Daniel like Danieal???
Other CBs of note: Nick Harper of Tennessee, Danieal Manning of Chicago, Buffalo’s Terrence McGee, Baltimore’s Fabian Washington, and Ellis Hobbs of Philadelphia.
There’s plenty more to say and ponder. But for now, these four will do.