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.
Lamarr Houston– The Raiders Defensive End is going to be one of the most sought after free agents on the market provided that he is not slapped with the Franchise tag, which would seem likely. Houston is one of those rare pass rushers in the NFL that can be just as effective against the run as he is sacking the QB. He finished Sundays game with 1 sack and 5 tackles, two of which were for a loss. He is one of the most well rounded players at the position. The Raiders salary cap situation is so unique that he could find himself getting an incredibly lucrative front loaded contract if this level of play persists. He can be a force for a long time on what is becoming a formidable defense.
Andy Dalton– I had pretty much thrown Dalton out for the rest of this season when it came to contract talks next year, but over the last three weeks he has shown improvements and I think we can at least discuss the possibility of an early extension for the Bengals QB. Dalton ripped the Jets apart for 325 yards and 5 touchdowns bringing his 3 week total to 1,034 yards with 11 Td’s to just 2 interceptions. Statistically that is an incredible pace and way into the upper echelon of QB play in the NFL. Sure he still may miss a few deep throws here and there, but the bottom line right now is nobody can say that the Bengals are winning in spite of Andy Dalton. As they look to lock up their young core talent Dalton may be in line for that extension after all.
Antrel Rolle– Rolle only has one more year remaining on his contract with the Giants and at a $9.25 million dollar cap charge he is either going to become a free agent or get extended. Rolle is the vocal leader of the Giants defense but put forth an effort where he was more than just vocal. Rolle began the day by intercepting the Eagles and helped set the tone for the Giants defense all day long. Rolle was all over the field with 4 tackles, a sack, and a pass broken up to go along with his interception. Rolle is set to earn $7.25 million if he is not cut next season. Big games like this one might give him the opportunity to earn that much money from the Giants or someone else.
New Contract Player Of The Week
Aaron Rodgers– Rodgers looked every bit the highest paid player in the NFL with his performance against the Vikings on Sunday night. Rodgers, despite his lack of receiving targets, sliced and diced his way through the Vikings defense with pinpoint accuracy. Some of the throws he made were incredibly difficult as he helped bring his team to a 41-17 point lead in the 4th quarter. This year has not been kind to the $20 million plus contract players except Rodgers, who is the only mega dollar player at the position who looks like he deserves the money and can justify the spending.