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– Did Hakeem Nicks even play this week, because he was near impossible to spot on the field, unless you were looking for a player to not make an attempt to break up an interception. Much like Mike Wallace a year ago in Pittsburgh, Nicks mentally checked himself out of the season back in May when the Giants showed no intention to extend him. Nicks’ pattern this year is to have a good game here and there to remember he exists and then go through the motions afterwards. I’d be very wary about signing him to a big contract in 2014.
Jimmy Graham– Graham was decimating teams early in the season and putting up unheard of numbers that were going to earn him crazy money in free agency. He’ll still earn a big dollar figure but following the return of Rob Gronkowski for a few weeks it became clear that Gronkowski was at the very least still equal if not better than Graham. Graham’s numbers have plummeted, following five 100+ yard games in his first 7 contests. Since then he is averaging 54 yards a game on a 55% catch rate, including a season low 25 yards against the Rams this week.
Santonio Holmes– Speaking of going through the motions we have Holmes of the Jets who called out the Panthers secondary and then responded with two receptions for just 14 yards. Holmes dropped another pass, this time right in his gut, and was targeted eight times in total, including on the pick 6 interception. Holmes will be released this offseason, earning $24 million from the Jets for about 95 receptions and 1,350 yards over three years. It’s been robbery on his part and he may have a hard time finding a job next year.
New Contract Disappointment Of The Week
Paul Kruger– The Browns opened the bank for Kruger this offseason expecting him to be an impact player. Instead the Browns look to have fallen into the deadly trap of overpaying a part time player that doesn’t have the benefit of playing alongside solid players on a defense. The Browns defense has fallen apart in recent weeks and Kruger has been unable to do much anything. He has just 4.5 sacks on the year and failed to add any this week despite the Bears throwing the ball 31 times and he failed to record a tackle. Kruger has just 17 solo tackles this season, 13 off last years pace. He needs to be much better in the coming seasons.
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.