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.
Ben Tate– I wrote Sunday about how Tate was going to get an opportunity that could make or break a new contract for him and on Sunday it certainly broke. Tate, replacing Arian Foster, finished Sunday with just 56 yards on 15 carries and added next to nothing in the passing game. Tate is not in the most ideal of circumstances- he’s injured himself and his QB is not respected yet- but he has to make the most of this situation. If he fails to deliver over the next few weeks it will be hard to convince another team that Tate should be a highly paid starter.
Colin Kaepernick– During the offseason I was getting questions about how would the 49ers afford $20 million a year on Kaepernick. I thought that was an extremely high estimate and I have to think now most agree. Since being named starter last season Kaepernick had just 1 game in which he passed for under 200 yards and that includes his terrific playoff run. In 2013 he has had 7 games under 200 yards including a 91 yard game yesterday at home against the Panthers. I think Kaepernick has pretty much lost that special aura he had about him last year and with it will go the dreams of an incredibly lucrative extension in the offseason. He’ll still get an extension offer but unless he begins to play better the dollars of that offer are falling every week.
Jake Locker– Locker was injured again this week following just a disastrous start against the lowly Jaguars in which he was intercepted once and fumbled. Locker who had already missed two games this year following a hip injury will now most likely finish the season on Injured Reserve. If the injury is season ending it will leave Locker with 14 missed games over a two year stretch due to injury. Locker was eligible for either an extension or an injury guaranteed option year in 2015 that would have been worth close to $9 million. Though picking up the option for most players seems to be a foregone conclusion, with Lockers injury history I don’t think the Titans can afford to do that. Not only that but when you can not count on a player it means bringing in real competition for the spot not journeyman backups and mentors like Locker has had since 2011.
New Contract Disappointment Of The Week
Tony Romo– Romo has had his share of good games this season, but last night was not one of them. Romo and the offense was thoroughly confused by a defense that had given up over 24 points in two of their last three games. Romo could never get anything going down the field and was settling for short little throws This was by far Romo’s worst game of the season on a day where the Cowboys needed an A+ effort to go toe to toe with a high powered Saints offense. Romo did not deliver and the Cowboys were embarrassed by the Saints. Romo always get more than a fair share of criticism and this game will bring more of that his way and deservedly so in this case.
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.