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 helped 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 exceeded all expectations and provided exceptional value to his team.
Patrick Peterson– Though many who grade players at the position will point out the flaws with Peterson, the fact is he does the things in the NFL that get a player paid mega dollars at the position. His two interception performance stole the game from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday and it cements his reputation as one of the biggest playmakers in the NFL. While being a solid corner is always appreciated players who have made impact plays often stand out when it comes to signing deals, such as Cortland Finnegan’s seemingly absurd contract in St Louis. Following the game he was getting the same praise from his coach that Rex Ryan used to throw on Darrelle Revis which helped give Revis all kinds of ammunition to force a contract. With Peterson capable of being extended after the season is over expect he and Seahawks corner Richard Sherman to reset the non-Revis portion of the cornerback market.
Tamba Hali– This is actually a bit of an off the wall selection, not because of how he is playing, but because of his contract status. Hali actually has two years left on his contract after this season with the Chiefs and he will be set to earn $8.5 million in salary next year on a cap figure of $11 million. With the Chiefs cap situation being so tight I don’t think they can go another year with him in double digit cap totals. Hali is putting together a monster season across from Justin Houston, another player who is going to command huge dollars from the Chiefs, and yesterday Hali absolutely destroyed the Giants. He had 2 sacks and caused another 8 hurried throws by Eli Manning, which puts his total at 24 for the season according to stats maintained by Pro Football Focus. Hali is going to be 31 next season which is going to make this the last time he may be able to expect a big contract and he should push the Chiefs for one rather than any restructure for cap relief if this type of performance keeps up. I think this is going to be a pretty interesting year for Hali even though his contract may not be on the radar like some others.
Julian Edelman– I’m not sure that there were many expectations for Edelman when he re-signed with the Patriots for the season. There were questions about his ability to remain healthy and he was low on the depth charts. At one point he had a workout bonus converted into a bonus that would only be paid if he made the roster in week 1, often a sign that the player is on the fringe. A few injuries later and he has become an integral part of the offense and it is hard to imagine that New England would consider not playing him. Since becoming a starter in week 2 Edelman has caught 75% of the passes that have been fired his way and he is averaging just under 92 yards a game. Against Atlanta he had a career high 118 yards on 7 receptions, which allowed him to earn his first small bonus of the season. But the big bonus comes after this year when he is scheduled to become a free agent and he is going to make a push to make the same kind of money the Patriots paid Danny Amendola. Nobody would have thought that before the season, but his stock is going to keep rising, especially to a team with a quality QB situation.
New Contract Player Of The Week
Brian Hoyer– In two weeks Hoyer has led the seemingly hopeless Browns to two wins and made a bunch of receivers nobody felt were very good look like real top quality NFL players. Hoyer dominated the Bengals and easily outplayed Andy Dalton as he threw for nearly 270 yards and kept the ball from the hands of the Bengals. Hoyer’s rise is pretty shocking. Hoyer was undrafted in 2009 but made the Patriots as a backup to Tom Brady, a role he kept until being released in 2012. Hoyer then bounced around the NFL signing with the Steelers for a few weeks and then subsequently claimed by the Cardinals where he started two pretty non-descript games at the end of the season. Due to spending so many weeks out of the NFL in 2012 Hoyer maintained RFA status and was tendered by the Cardinals who ended up releasing him after they traded for Carson Palmer, which led him to signing with the Browns. While nobody knows how the story will end for Hoyer, and most times they don’t end well, he’s providing the Browns with a spark and giving them an opportunity to compete for a division title. At a salary of $715,000 he is quite the bargain.
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.