It happens every year. A team wins the Super Bowl, the players do snow angels in confetti, have a parade and their fans go nuts.
Then they get paid. A lot.
The 2012/2013 Baltimore Ravens had a memorable run to the Super Bowl filled with remarkable comebacks, power outages and enough Ray Lewis tears to fill the Atlantic Ocean.
However, where the Ravens really ran wild is in free agency. Many of them played well in the playoffs, some played well above expectations, but none deserved the massive contracts they were handed.
Let’s start with the prime offender, Joe Flacco, who was signed before he even hit the market. He was given a monster contract worth $120.6 million over six years. For those of you who don’t know. That’s the most a player has been paid. EVER! Of all the historic names in NFL history, names like Montana, White, Sanders, Brady, when it comes to pay-scale, Joe Flacco reigns supreme.
Let that sink in for a minute.
They also gave him $29 million just to sign his name.
However, many will make the point that he is a quarterback, a Super Bowl MVP and someone the Ravens needed to retain. But that doesn’t change the fact they grossly overpaid.
Eleven quarterbacks, or about a third of the league’s quarterbacks, threw for over 4,000 yards. Guess who wasn’t one of them? If you guessed Joe Flacco, you win. Even Colts rookie Andrew Luck threw for 4,000. In his entire career, Flacco has never hit 3,900.
One player many expected the Ravens to keep was inside linebacker Danell Ellerbe, was swept up by the free-spending Dolphins.
Ellerbe had always been a good linebacker, who, in credit to him, stepped up this year and played well in the absence of Ray Lewis. However, whatever convinced Phins’ GM Jeff Ireland that he is worth seven million per year over five years, I’m not seeing.
Ellerbe has played in the NFL for four seasons after coming in as an undrafted free agent and certainly earned the right to sign the fattest contract he could find. But after only starting 14 games in those four years, I’m incredibly skeptical he’ll live up to the this contract. I’m not even sure he’ll be on the Dolphins to finish it.
A player the Ravens didn’t even try to retain, Paul Kruger, was given an even more ridiculous contract. He was handed a five years deal worth $41 million dollars, an average of roughly eight million per year.
Eight million dollars is the kinda money great, consistent players make. The Browns handed Kruger eight million per year, even though he has only started seven career regular season games. Oh yeah, I also forgot that he was playing across from 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs and behind stud d-lineman Haloti Ngata. Over his career, he has a total of 15.5 sacks. His contract is potentially worth $41 million. That means they gave him over two and a half million dollars for each career sack. Reggie White would be an especially rich man.
However, the most dumbfounding contract was handed out by a repeat free agency offender: The Philadelphia Eagles. You would have thought they learned something after Nnamdi Asomugha’s signing was a complete bust. Unfortunately, the answer is no.
The Eagles signed cornerback Cary Williams to a three-year deal worth roughly $17 million. Even worse, they gave him 10.5 million guaranteed. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams allowed six touchdowns this season, which is tied for fifth-most in the NFL. The same website gave Williams a grade of -1.7 for the 2012 season.
Do you know who Phillip Adams (Oak) is? If not, don’t worry. But if your an Eagles fan, I would be worried my team paid Williams more than a no name player with a far better rating.
The worst part apart this whole contract is 10.5 guaranteed. There’s really no excuse for that, unless you count “for comedic purposes” as one.
With Ed Reed still to sign, we will if this list grows or if GMs finally have their head screwed on straight.
In the end, one thing can be learned from all this: Football is a team sport. You win as a team, and if this year’s free agency has taught us anything, you get paid as a team.
UPDATE: ED REED SIGNS WITH HOUSTON TEXANS
Reed signed a deal for three years worth slightly over five million per year. Did I mention he will be 35 years old when the season starts and has dealt with injury problems over the past few years? The Texans assume Reed will still be Ed Reed-like at 38. I’m in doubt.