July 14, 2012 by kujhawk
There was big news in the NFL yesterday. A big contract…a VERY big contract. The New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees agreed to a $100 millon deal, with $60 million of that guaranteed and $40 million of that guaranteed this year, making Brees the highest paid player in the NFL on the basis of per-year salary.
But why didn’t Brees take the offer on the table?
Brees has been a standout player not only for the Saints but in the entire league. He had the best single-season passing statistics in NFL history, breaking Dan Marino’s passing yardage record and completing 71% of his passes. The Saints lost a barn-burner to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional playoffs last year, but won a super bowl in 2009 and have won 62 games during Brees’s tenure under center. Brees also has more completions (2,488) for more yards (28,394) and more touchdowns (201) over the past six seasons than any other QB in the league. He was given an offer by the Saints to be the highest paid quarterback in the NFL, but Brees turned it down.
The negotiations between the Saints and Brees’s dragged on into the summer, with Brees telling Saints management that he would not report to team activities without a new deal in place. All of this started because Brees was hit with the franchise tag. If a player is going to become an unrestricted free agent, a team can place the tag on a player, binding that player to his current team for the next season. Every team gets only one franchise tag per season, so the tag is usually used on players with high importance to the team. But Brees did not want to be paid the franchise tag salary for a quarterback ($16,405,000) he wanted a long-term deal in good faith from his team. Brees got the deal, but the way it played out didn’t make anyone involved in the negotiations look good.
Even though the Saints put Brees under the franchise tag, they were essentially at the mercy of Brees and his demands, because if they didn’t pay Brees, you better believe there was another team ready to spend the money the Saints weren’t willing to spend. Moneyball has become a system used in Major League Baseball to try to get teams the most out of players by spending the least amount of money possible. In the NFL, that idea is scoffed at, with bigger and bigger deals happening every year for players who are holding out for more and more money at the earliest possible juncture.
Its seems like every season there is a big name in the NFL “holding out” for a better deal. “How much more do you want” is what I say. You are making millions – yes, don’t forget the ‘s’ there – every season to play a game. A GAME for crying out loud. I get it though. You are sacrificing your body. You are at risk of terrible injury and you should be compensated for that. But with the endorsements, commercials, appearance fees and NFL salary, when do you say enough is enough?
The average American football fan doesn’t sympathize with a player who is getting 10 million but wants 11. They don’t like hearing from the Randy Mosses, DeSean Jacksons and the Terrell Owens – the players who always seem to be whining about what they aren’t getting. They don’t want to hear about it. The culture of the NFL has become synonymous with fancy cars, lavish parties and doing whatever you please because of your name. How many times in the past year has a football player been arrested at a club or bar for fighting? ESPN is starting to sound like the local news with all of the stories on arrests, drug charges, shootings, DUIs and domestic violence involving players. This past week, for example, Adrian Peterson, all-pro running back for the Vikings was arrested at a club in Houston for getting rough with police officers trying to tell Peterson the club was closing and he needed to leave. Peterson pulled a “do you know who I am” but the officers didn’t care and were able to subdue the aggressive Peterson and take him out. There are countless other stories like this one involving an NFL player in a club doing something stupid. The most notable in the past few years was wide receiver Plaxico Burress and his incident where he shot himself in the leg and spent almost two years in jail.
People don’t want their children looking up to people like that. Those aren’t role models. Those are people who make obscene amounts of money who don’ t care about anyone but themselves. The NFL has become a me, me, me culture and it is a sad, sad thing. There is no longer a pureness to the game. It’s all about the money, from the players salaries to the price of hot dogs in the team’s stadiums. 100 million dollar deals are ruining the game and further disfiguring the NFL’s image.
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