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.
Greg Hardy– Hardy registered 3 sacks against the Saints and had Drew Brees showing the look of fear on more plays than not. Hardy has 11 sacks on the season and with a great crop of young pass rushers all eligible for new contracts its going to be a race to see who gets the most money in the new pass rushing marketplace. The Panthers don’t really have the cap space to franchise him and carry him on that tag for any period of time and he has a teammate already making wild money that he will use as a starting point in negotiations. With the playoffs coming up he has a chance to earn some big money.
Robert Quinn– Another 3 sack game for Quinn, who now has five multi-sack games on the season and three games with three sacks. He has 18 sacks on the season, dominates the competition, and seems to make this list every week. The one thing he does not have going for him that Hardy does is the fact that he is not a free agent next season, while Hardy is. Quinn is extension eligible which gives a bit more leverage to the Rams when working out a contract with him. Still this is going to be a race to crown the highest paid player and one likely playing leapfrog over the other.
Andy Dalton– I’ve given up trying to figure Dalton out. He is all over the map this season but he sure did tear it up against the Vikings. Dalton threw for 4 touchdowns and 366 yards on the day. I don’t know what the Bengals really do here. The team is good enough to win it all, perhaps even this season, which could leave Dalton getting a Joe Flacco like contract. Of course the bad Dalton is going to leave you stuck with a Matt Schaub type contract if you extend early. Big decision is looming for the Bengals here.
New Contract Player Of The Week
Julian Edelman– Edelman could really go in either category since his contract was just a one year deal, but imagine where the Patriots offense would be without him? In a season of injuries and turnover at the position, Edelman has been the lone steady force out there. On Sunday he racked up another 7 receptions for 77 yards and he is going to surpass 1,000 yards on the season. Not too bad for a player with incentives for just low level of catches since nobody expected much from him. I’m not sure if the Patriot “system” has watered down the value of their players following flops of players like Deion Branch, Randy Moss, and David Givens over the past decade once they left the Patriots, but Edelman is one of the best values at his position this year and will likely earn a low level number 2 type deal next season.