Every Monday during the season we will take a look back at three players who are entering important stages of their contract that may have hurt their stock in upcoming negotiations with their play on Sunday. In addition we will also look at one player signed in the offseason to a new contract that did not live up to the expectations that his contract sets for the player.
Josh Freeman– Freeman has had a rough few weeks as numerous outlets are reporting that there is a major rift between him and his head coach. According to Jason LaCanfora Freemen is seeking a trade, but with games like this it could be a limited market. 9 completions and 22 attempts for 125 yards is brutal. He had a costly interception and was all over the field with some of his passes. If not for a penalty Vincent Jackson would have helped his stat line tremendously, but if you watched that play 99% of the credit would go to Jackson who had to come back on a badly thrown ball and shield out the defender from making an interception. One or two more games like this and Freeman wont be playing at the end of the season, basically the doomsday scenario for a player looking for a new contract.
Maurice Jones-Drew– Last season MJD held out as long as he possibly could as he hoped to pand a contract extension that would increase his pay rate from good to back towards the top of the NFL. The Jaguars and their new ownership held firm and have forced him to honor his contract which expires at the end of the season. After an injury last year MJD needed to bounce back and have a big season. Working with no quarterback, Jones-Drew I would imagine looked at this as an opportunity to showcase that he could help a team with a developing QB or slide into a playoff caliber team and do extremely well with the presence of a strong QB lessening the defenses attention to the run. Through two games MJD looks to be nothing more than a replacement back on a bad team. This week Jones-Drew finished with just 27 yards on 10 carries and added just 1 receiving yard. While these types of games often plague many runners, back to back games for MJD like this is something he has never really done before. If he doesn’t right the ship soon he may struggle to find a job next season.
Cam Newton– It was just two years ago when Newton burst onto the scene and after two games looked to be the new age version of Dan Marino, as Newton threw for over 400 yards in back to back games. That player is completely gone right now and with it are the thoughts of any kind of early extension that could have come after the season. Newton has now become somewhat of an afterthought when we think about the young QB in the NFL. It’s not all his fault as his coaches seem to be trying to turn him into a game manager of sorts. Against the Bills Newton was sacked 6 times and only completed 55.8% of his attempts for just 229 yards. The team had to settle for field goals most of the day and rightly or wrongly he is going to get most of the blame for the day.
New Contract Disappointment Of The Week
Greg Toler– Every time I saw a big Mike Wallace highlight I seemed to see Toler running 3 or 4 yards behind him, including the big TD catch and run. Wallace was unable to get on track against the Browns in week 1, but decimated the Colts going for 115 yards, 81 of which came against Toler according to Pro Football Focus. Toler was brought in this offseason and given $5 million guaranteed, which in the sluggish CB market was actually considered pretty good money. He’ll need to put forth a better effort for the Colts this season especially if he is going to match up with the most dangerous target on each team.
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.