Moving our best and worst series along we examine the Indianapolis Colts
Best Contract: Hakeem Nicks
For whatever reason I have always liked Hakeem Nicks and feel as if this contract has the potential to be the steal of the offseason. While Nicks has never been the same following injuries I do wonder how much of that has been a lack of desire and concentration on his part. He has a tendency to do dump things on the field like attempting a one hand highlight grab when a normal catch will suffice, but I just feel as if he should be so motivated after the lack of interest in him in free agency.
The free agent offseason should be a wakeup call to Nicks, who went into 2013 thinking he could sleepwalk his way into an $11 million a year contract like Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace, and Percy Harvin did the year before. The Colts got him for next to nothing- a one year $4 million contract with $2.25 million guaranteed and $400,000 tied to playing time. That’s less money than was earned by Julian Edelman, Riley Cooper, Andre Roberts, Jeremy Maclin and a number of others who don’t have either the track record or upside as Nicks.
I know a lot of people dislike Nicks, but this is a contract that is essentially 50 cents on the dollar for a team that plays in a perfect environment and likes to air the football out. This is the ideal situation for both the Colts and Nicks. If they cant get greatness out of him likely nobody will, but at this price it’s well worth the risk associated with the contract.
Worst Contract: Erik Walden
I think you simply go back to the 2013 free agency class and take your pick of bad contracts with the Colts. You have what was likely a mix up on Gosder Cherilus contract, an overpayment for Laron Landry, a bad idea that Greg Toler could be an effective starter, among other moves. But nothing that happened in 2013 really changed my mind that Erik Walden continues to be the worst contract on the team.
Walden is, at best, a fill in starter in the NFL. Ideally he is a situational role player on a decent defense where you can hide some of his deficiencies. This should have been apparent from day 1, but Indianapolis, flush with cap room, decided that they saw enough to pencil him in as a starting linebacker. He received $8 million in guarantees, which was more impressive that other more proven players at the position. Of that $8 million only $1 million came in the form of a signing bonus and just $4 million was fully guaranteed, meaning the Colts could have escaped after one year, but they chose to let the contract continue.
Walden, as a starter, was about as productive as he was when a backup type. More opportunities, but the same amount of impact plays on the game. In most cases he is a liability. It’s one of those contracts that made no sense. He was unproductive with Green Bay, playing alongside Clay Matthews who should open up many opportunities for him. In his first run into free agency nobody in the NFL showed any interest. There was nothing he did in 2012 that should have upped his stock for his return to free agency in 2013, but in the Colts mind he did more than enough to merit the job and a nice little contract for a minimal track record. Barring a major turnaround in 2014, it is hard to picture him staying a Colt past this season.
2013’s Best and Worst Colts Contracts:
2013 Best Contract: Reggie Wayne(Injured, Remains on team)
2013 Worst Contract: Erik Walden (See above)
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.