It’s a game of Chess.
Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack both earned new contracts before the 2018 regular season got under way. The 2016 Defensive Player of The Year (Mack) and the 2017 Defensive Player Of The Year (Donald) refused to give up an inch and like any good defensive lineman, understood the leverage they had.
Donald struck the richest contract by a defensive player in NFL history inking a 6 year/$135 million dollars. Unfortunately, he didn’t hold that title very long as the next day as Mack proclaimed the title after being traded to the Bears and within hours inking the new deal that saw him get a contract worth $141 million over the course of 6 years. Both players elected not to report to any offseason activities and it paid off. Le’Veon Bell is taking that same approach. However, the Steel City will not bend.
The harsh reality of the business is players get paid based on a few variables outside their control. Unfortunately for Bell, the value of his position is inferior to the Quarterback, the guy who protects the blind side of the Quarterback, and the guy who can sack the Quarterback. As valuable as Bell is, how far will he take this? Is he willing to sit out a year? There’s no guarantee Bell’s market and value will be the same or better if he sits out a whole year. In fact, I would argue it hurts his value, here’s why:
1. Bell will be a year older in one year (cues Captain Obvious). The age of 30 is the magic number for running backs. A year off from football and a year closer to that magic age could all but cripple his chances of getting the long term contract and guaranteed money he covets.
2. The body endures excruciating circumstances during the season, especially the bone crunching hits every Sunday. Taking a year off from these conditions can backfire. He may be more susceptible to injuries and bruises (Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor).
I am an advocate for the players, and I will never tell a player he shouldn’t go after his money. The NFL is a cruel world with a harsher afterlife for some; secure the bag by any means necessary. However, there’s an exception to every rule and Bell’s current situation is the exception. If Bell sits out the year, I believe the contract offers he receives will be one and two year contracts, “prove it” deals.
After that he will be a free agent again at 28 or 29, who is going to give a 29 year old running back a long term contract with big money guaranteed? I believe it’s in Bell’s best interest to show up and look forward to the 2019 Free Agency period where I have no doubt there will be a team who overpays for his services.
Odell Beckham morphed into a superstar ever since that fateful Sunday night where he made one of the most jaw dropping catches most of us have ever seen. Ever since, it seems like the young wide receiver has been everywhere. He has become a global superstar, and with great followers comes constant smartphones recording your every move. Through the ups and downs, the romance affair with the goal net, and the viral photo of a “white substance” Odell has maintained the joy and smile which his fans fell in love with.
Odell Beckham was never shy about his contract, and he made sure it was clear to the Giants and everyone else he wanted to get paid and get paid big. Although his position doesn’t necessarily translate to wins in the playoffs, they are vital to the overall team success and their contributions on the perimeter cannot be overlooked.
Ultimately, after some bickering and badgering Odell got his contract at 5 years 90 million dollars. A few years ago this would’ve been a starting quarterback’s salary. Oh yeah, speaking of quarterbacks….
King Aaron. The wealthiest king in all the land. While others had to stomp and pout, King Aaron rested on the throne all whilst Sir McCarthy made sure the finest grapes were brought to the feet of the King.
Aaron Rodgers had no problem getting a contract extension, an extension worth the largest contract in NFL history. Faced with questions about his contract all offseason, Aaron kept the same cool calm California Kid demeanor he carries on the football field. The new contract is a 4 year/$134 million dollars contract and nearly $100 million in guaranteed money.
The contract could be worth up to nearly $180 million dollars. Tis good to be king.
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