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.
Blaine Gabbert– Gabbert is basically fighting for his career at this stage and is close to running the risk that the Jaguars will not even invoke the 5th year injury protected option for him. While there is little to lose by picking up the option I don’t think a team will want to even chance him being injured and paid on the sidelines when the upside looks to be so minimal. For Gabbert to have any kind of chance at a new contract in the future for more than the minimum he needs to do enough to at least keep his job in Jacksonville. 16 of 35 for 121 yards, two interceptions, and 6 sacks isn’t going to help his cause whatsoever. Gabbert’s $2.011 million dollar salary in 2014 is guaranteed but with all the cap room that the Jaguars have they could just pay him to go home if this continues. If things get so bad that he gets cut his career will probably be finished.
Isaac Redman– Redman is playing the year out on a RFA tender and if he matched last years production should be capable of a mid tier contract in free agency. Unfortunately for Redman he never got anything going against the Titans, rushing 8 times for just 9 yards and not being a factor in the passing game, usually his best asset. His fumble around the goal was a big momentum changer and the Steelers never really recovered. Injuries have already taken their toll on the Steelers running game, but after the game the perception is that Redman can not be a solution and the Steelers should look outside of the organization for help. The lower end of running back market was already shrinking in 2013 and Redman will need to perform better over the next 15 weeks to gain that new contract.
Josh Freeman– While it would be easy to blame everything on Lavonte David, and he is clearly the guy who was directly responsible for the final loss, nobody has more riding on this season than Freeman and he was underwhelming to say the least. I’m not sure I have ever seen a QB take back to back delay of game penalties following a time out until Sunday. That sequence eventually led to a 3rd and 35 play. Freeman looked like he forgot the snap leading to an unforced safety on the next possession. While some might point to his leading the team to what seemed like the game winning FG, it was a terrific play by Vincent Jackson rather than the good play of the QB. There may not be a QB more dependent on one WR than Freeman is on Jackson. Maybe Jay Cutler would be the only other one with Brandon Marshall, but the feeling on Cutler is that he can be passable with others. Freeman runs the risk of teams beginning to believe that he happens to be the recipient of a strong WR that pads what little numbers he has. Freeman will be a free agent in 2014 and needs to do a far better job than he did against the Jets if he wants to get his name into the mid level QB contract discussions.
New Contract Disappointment Of The Week
Mike Wallace– The $60 million dollar man produced all of 15 yards in the first game of the season for the Miami Dolphins. While there are other contributions that he made to the team, specifically pulling the Browns best coverage to help his teammates, those are all nullified by the attitude after the game. There is nothing worse than having an overpaid player complaining after a win about how he is being used. That is why he belongs in this list even more than the lack of statistics. The last thing the Miami Dolphins need is their version of Santonio Holmes ripping anything the team does because he isn’t getting the looks he wants. Wallace is in a position where he can have his contract restructured next season to ensure he makes even more than his guaranteed salary. More Sundays like this and there is no chance that it happens, no matter how much it impacts the teams salary cap in 2014.
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.