Not only is Free Agency not free, it isn’t even cheap. Every year we see record breaking or near record breaking salaries during free agency. Perhaps it should be renamed “Mega Dollar Days” of the NFL. This shopping period is not for the light hearted or those light in the pocketbooks, but does offer up some of the best talent in the league. This year is no exception.
To date, we have seen Vincent Jackson sign a 55.6 mil contract with the Tampa Bay for 5 years and former Colt Pierre Garcon join the Redskins for a 5 yr., 42.5 million dollar deal. A most recent deal has arguably the NFL’s top pass rusher leave the Texans and become a key component to our adversary; the Buffalo Bills. Mario Williams is expected to sign a 6 yr. 100 million dollar contract making him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.
Other free agents who have either already received or are expected to receive expensive contracts are Matt Flynn and of course, Peyton Manning.
The Free Agency period also puts pressure on teams to re-sign their own players as well as looking for new talent. The biggest contract has been the whopping 132 mil the Detroit Lions paid Calvin Johnson to keep his services for the next 8 years. Colts WR Reggie Wayne is another big name that re-signed with his team. Reggie signed for 17.5 mil for 3 years. Other teams are still in negotiations with some key players. However, not all free agents get a huge pay raise. Miami was able to re-sign NT run stopper Paul Soliai at a huge discount over last year.
Most fans clamor for their team to “make a big splash” as they say and are disappointed and even angry if they don’t. However, if you look around the league, the trend seems to be the more successful the team, the less they shop in free agency.
By the way, with the new CBA taking effect next season this is expected to be the last time we will see teams like the Bills and Bucs spending tens of millions in free agency. The new contract stipulates a team must spend a minimum of 90% of the salary cap. With a CBA of 120 million that equates to 108 million with only 12 mil for FA. It is a good year to be a free agent, especially at QB.
What is your opinion of Free Agency? We welcome your comments.