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.
Aqib Talib– It’s been a rough few weeks for Talib. After a terrific start to the season Talib got injured and he has not been the same players since. He was bad against the Panthers and Texans and this week got steamrolled by Josh Gordon of the Browns. His QBR against the last 4 games, according to stats maintained by Pro Football Focus is around 115. Talib looked like a surefire candidate to get the low end of the tier 1 cornerback salary, but now he’s really in the same position he was in before he accepted a one year contract this season. He’s probably going to need a noteworthy postseason to earn that money he was hoping for.
Fred Davis– There are plenty of Redskins that probably could earn a place here but I’m not sure any has been more useless than Davis. Davis did get a few opportunities yesterday was targeted twice and came up with a grand total of 0 receptions. He has just 5 receptions on the season for 38 yards. The Redskins have not been successful at much this season but they did successfully damage Davis’ value even further with multiple deactivations and letting it known how poor of a worker Davis has been for the team. I doubt he gets more than a tryout with a team in 2014.
Terrell Thomas– The return of Thomas is a nice story for the Giants, but with the Giants likely about to undergo massive changes you have to wonder if they will look to bring Thomas back again next season or not. Outside of NY I am not sure what kind of market there will be and he simply is not a very good coverage guy. Yesterday the Giants could not find a matchup that he could really win. He was around 6 different receivers who were targeted and each time he gave up the reception including 43 yard TD early in the game that just set the tone for the blowout to come.
New Contract Disappointment Of The Week
Erik Walden– The Colts signed Walden to a head scratcher contract worth $4 million a season because they felt he would be a good pass rusher if given more opportunities. The Bengals passed the ball 35 times on Sunday and not once was Walden close to Andy Dalton. Walden only has 3 sacks on the season and is near the bottom of the league in pressures generated. His big claim to fame this year came after being blocked out of a play by TE Delanie Walker and subsequently ripping Walkers helmet off so he could head butt him with his helmet.
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.
Tamba Hali– For the second time in the last three weeks Hali has made this list as he is absolutely wrecking games for the Chiefs defense. Yesterday he registered another 3.5 sacks to bring his total to 7.5 just six games into the season. He is arguably the most dominant pass rusher in the NFL right now and on pace to destroy his prior career best of 15 sacks. The Chiefs tight salary cap situation in the next few seasons is going to give Hali all the leverage in the world to get a new contract. Set to earn $8.5 million in cash with a $11.5 million dollar cap hit he is one of the few players on the team that can save the Chiefs money with a restructured deal. Off a season like this, though, he may have no reason to restructure and will push instead for a contract extension that will likely give him a nice pay raise while also helping the Chiefs cap situation.
Aqib Talib– Talib gambled this season by taking a one year contract with the Patriots when he realized how soft the cornerback market had become, but that gamble is paying off. Talib played superstar TE Jimmy Graham yesterday and held him to nothing, completely disrupting the rhythm and strategy of the Saints offense. Talib has had an incredibly productive season and is earning the important reputation of being a shutdown corner. Bill Belichick is not shy about putting Talib on the best each week and each week those players are being shut out. And its not as if these are poor receivers Talib is facing- they are some of the best in the NFL. Unfortunately Talib left the game with a hip injury but the reports are that it is not too serious to impact him moving forward.
Frank Gore– At 30 years old Gore just keeps trucking along as the steady force of the 49ers offense. Gore became the first player this season to gain more than 100 yards against a very stingy Arizona Cardinals defense and his 2nd 100 yard game of the year. Gore has shown no signs of slowing down and is right on his normal pace for the season. Going into the year I think some assumed Gore would take on less of a role with the emergence of Colin Kaepernick throwing the football but Gore is as important as ever. In 2014 he is scheduled to earn $3.3 million in base salary and up to $2.75 million in roster bonuses. I think it had been a foregone conclusion that he would have been released by San Francisco next season and leave that money on the table. Now the 49ers may have to consider a two year extensionto keep Gore at a cap friendly figure in 2014.
New Contract Player Of The Week
Matt Stafford– I often give Stafford a hard time but he was really great in the second half of yesterdays game and helped lead the Lions offense to a 2nd half wipeout of a very good Cleveland Browns defense. Stafford did not try to force the ball to his favorite targets. He found whomever was open against the Browns defense and went there rather than forcing the football which likely would have led to a different outcome. If the Lions get Stafford to consistently play like this they will have a good chance of representing their division in the playoffs.