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.
Terrell Suggs– Suggs has one year remaining on his contract, but at a $12 million dollar cap hit on a cap strapped team he is either getting a new contract in Baltimore or elsewhere. Suggs’ 2012 season was a total washout and at 31 years of age there were questions about what his future would be. He’s been spectacular this season and took it to another level against Miami. Suggs brutalized the Dolphins offensive line, racking up 3 sacks two of which came on Miami’s second to last drive of the game and helped set up the game winning field goal. He was in the backfield all day and showed no signs of his age slowing him down. Players over 30 at this position often struggle to get new lucrative contracts- he looks like the guy who may not struggle to do so.
Dez Bryant– Bryant has been spectacular this season and he was unstoppable against the Broncos. This was Bryant’s second 100 yard game of the year and his most dominant. I know he had the one fumble but he was a man among boys on the field. His toe tap touchdown is the type of catch very few players in the NFL can make and he seems to make with ease. Bryant is a true difference maker when healthy. He is the type of player that makes things easier for his teammates because you have to be aware of him on every play and every type or route. Dallas is going to want to extend him following the season. Whether they have the cap space to do so is a question, but he is positioning himself to be the highest paid at the position not named Fitzgerald of Johnson.
Brandon Spikes– Though it was a losing effort for New England, Spikes stood out defensively with a monster game. Spikes racked up 12 tackles and intercepted Andy Dalton on a play where Dalton pump faked and scrambled, never biting on anything and leaving his coverage responsibilities. The tackles Spikes had were mainly impact tackles all coming within 2 yards of the line of scrimmage. Spikes in on pace to be involved in 85 tackles this season and is a key contributor to a defense that is the unit carrying the Patriots in 2013. He will be a free agent following the season and is going to be viewed as superior to and more versatile than the the Dolphins Dannell Ellerbe, who received a $7 million dollar a year contract in free agency last season. Spikes is well on his way to establishing himself in the mid-tier of the ILB market.
New Contract Player Of The Week
Tony Romo– I know Romo did not win and it has become fashionable to criticize Romo every time he makes a mistake, especially in crunch time, but that was the finest game of Romo’s career and when you score 48 points you should win the game even with an interception. Romo’s contract is not a great one for the Cowboys and probably extends too long, but for this week he outplayed the contract. With one defensive stop Romo would have been the talk of the NFL as he outdueled Peyton Manning. The final pick of the game wasn’t the type of throw that makes you scratch your head. He wasn’t falling down or lobbing a ball into triple coverage. It wasn’t a great throw and the defender made a very good play to pick it off. Those things happen to the best of QB’s. I think you can make a strong argument that he has been the 4th best QB in the NFL in 2013 and that’s worth something even when his defense allows 48 points.
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.