NFL Free Agency is Insanity Personified
Can someone please explain to me how on God's Green Earth, Sam Bradford keeps getting $20 million dollar contracts? Or how slightly above average Kirk Cousins gets a 3-year guaranteed contract worth $86 million ($29 million a year)?
Hey, while we're at it, Paul Richardson (who?), got a 5-year, $40 million deal with $20 million guaranteed. If you're asking who is Paul Richardson, you're not alone. Richardson was a Wide Receiver for the Seattle Seahawks and had 44 catches for 703 yards and 6-TD's which were by a large margin his best statistics in his career.
Unlike their counterparts in Baseball, it appears NFL GM's and owners have no issues breaking the bank for someone they believe will put them "Over the Top" in the ever competitive sport.
Bradford's deal with the Arizona Cardinals to me is mind boggling. We're talking $20 million for one year with an option for another $20 million season for a slightly above average QB who has yet to play an entire 16-game season. I assume the Cards plan on looking for their "QB of the Future" in the 2018 draft and needed someone to bridge the gap after Carson Palmer retired....but Bradford?
Cousins isn't far behind. The NFL almost never fully guarantees player contracts, yet the Vikings did just that for a guy who put up pretty good numbers for the Washington Redskins but couldn't get them to the playoffs. The Vikings jettisoned their entire QB corps from a highly successful 2017 that saw them make it to the NFC Championship game with Case Keenum starting at QB.
Oh, by the way--Keenum got paid too. $16 million to play for the Denver Broncos.
Yeah, sure, I get it. You pay the going rate for players in the flush with money NFL. But why is this the going rate for average or slightly above average players, some of whom have a ton of NFL mileage already on the tank?
No, I don't fault the players here. I don't fault them at all. If someone is willing to throw around ridiculous amounts of money for your services, by all means you should take it.
Look at the problems Major League Baseball currently is dealing with. Some very good baseball players either haven't been signed or took less money than they thought to sign a deal for 2018. A handful of Free Agents got smaller deals than their qualifying offers from previous employers.
The reason for MLB's issue is simple---GM's have figured out Free Agency is a fools errand. You're paying top of the market money in most cases for a players downward career trajectory. No better example exists than the Albert Pujols $230+ million deal with the Angels. Pujols has been a shadow of his previously successful St. Louis Cardinals self and the Angels are stuck with a .240 hitting, poor fielding 1st baseman making $25 million a year at age 38.
So what does the NFL do? That is the $ Billion question....how do you resolve a system that rewards pretty much everyone from the good or great players to the average or under performing ones.
I'm not a General Manager or a Salary Cap expert---but at some point NFL teams will have to look at the bottom line and realize despite a $170 million or so salary cap, it's hard to pay a decent player star player money when you've got a star player on your team waiting for his own payday....
There within lies the dilemma....