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.
Hakeem Nicks– Nicks complained to some extent last week about his lack of getting the ball thrown his way, but this week the ball went his way and too often fell off his fingertips. Nicks, who after 2011 was poised to be a top paid WR, has struggled for the last two years. He hadn’t really made the kind of impact the team was expecting and against Kansas City he was a major disappointment. Nicks finished the day with 33 yards, which was 33 yards more than the week before, and had multiple passes that he could have hauled in end up on the ground. Early in the game he dropped a deep sideline pass and immediately began looking for a flag. Luckily for him there was one, except on the Giants which called the play back, making his drop easily forgotten. Later in the game he again was there down the sideline and he attempted a one handed grab for a reason only he could answer as he easily could have gotten a second hand under it. Two years of struggling on a team with another receiver doing well may prove difficult when he hits free agency looking to be paid like Mike Wallace. Like the Giants he needs to turn the season around.
Andy Dalton– Entering his third season in the league, Dalton was supposed to take the leap and establish himself as a bonafide top level starter in the NFL. He’s had the near perfect situation with a defense that is considered among the top 5 in the game, a solid offensive line, and playmakers in the passing game to make a playoff run that likely would lead to a lucrative contract extension after the season from the surprisingly high spending Bengals. Instead Dalton has been underewhelming and on Sunday was outplayed by a player most considered a journeyman backup. Dalton is going to be perceived similar to Josh Freeman in that he is highly dependent on one receiver and if that receiver was removed from the game his stats would fall to far below average territory. The Browns did a decent job of taking that receiver, AJ Green, out of the mix and Dalton struggled badly. More games like this and the extension talk is going to turn to “finding another QB before we waste the talent” talk very quickly
Maurice Jones-Drew– MJD has been here before and let’s face facts its over for him. Maybe he will find a home somewhere next season and have a surprising one year wonder resurgence like Jamal Lewis did with the Browns in 2007, but his ability to command big dollars is pretty much gone. Jones-Drew has yet to break 50 yards this season and this weeks’ 1.8 yards per carry is a season low, topping last weeks’ 2.26 YPC disaster. There was a time in his career when he could have at least made a team like the Jaguars with no viable QB at least look like a professional team, but now he just looks like the rest of the Jaguars. At this rate MJD may find it hard to even find a team to try him out next season.
New Contract Disappointment Of The Week
Matt Flynn– I could have easily gone with Joe Flacco this week after his 5 interception outing versus the Browns, but I chose Flynn instead. Flynn went up against one of the worst defenses in the NFL and did nothing. Flynn led the team to just 7 offensive points, but returned the favor with a pick 6 to give the Redskins life. He was sacked 7 times and fumbled once. The Raiders traded for Flynn this offseason assuming he would be a holdover starter for one to two seasons while they rebuilt the organization. The Raiders were the second team to learn that there is no upside to Flynn and benched him before being forced to start him this week due to injury to their actual starter. This was Flynn’s opportunity to prove everyone wrong and he failed badly. Flynn has just become another in a long line of failed backup QBs that should all have a buyer beware sticker around their neck at this point.
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.