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.
Anquan Boldin– Boldin had a historic Sunday catching 13 passes for 208 yards. He was targeted 17 times out of 38 passes meaning he was pretty much it for the 49ers offense on Sunday afternoon. Boldin earns $6 million dollars in 2013 and his price tag was considered too high for the defending champion Baltimore Ravens. Considering the 49ers only gave up a 6th round pick for Boldin, there were probably a number of other teams that felt the same way. This is the final year of his contract and at 33 years old needs to prove he is capable enough to snag a Reggie Wayne style three year contract for about $5.5 million a year. Boldin hasn’t produced 1,000 receiving yards since 2009, but should be well on his way to getting there in 2013. A big day for Boldin’s pending free agency.
Charles Tillman– Tillman had a big day on Sunday picking off Andy Dalton of the Bengals twice and proving to be a major reason why the Bears defeated the Bengals in week 1. Tillman’s first interception on the day helped set up the Bears first score and his second one likely prevented at least 3 points from going on the board for the Bengals. . Though Tillman did have a costly penalty I believe the impact plays easily outweigh the negatives. Tillman is in the final year of a six year contract and will have a chance to earn a payday from someone in 2014 based on his ability to be a defensive playmaker. Two interceptions right away puts him on pace to get a third straight Pro Bowl nod and parlay that into a nice little contract for the 32 year old corner.
Sam Bradford– Though Bradford is not in a contract year he is in a unique situation because his salary cap hit in 2014 is gigantic, over $17 million, and so is the cost to cut him from the team. It sets the stage for an extension for cap relief regardless of the player deserving the money or not. Matt Stafford recently received a similar contract and the year before Mark Sanchez did the same. While both got good deals that would allow them to hit free agency at a young age after a short term extension, both came off mediocre seasons that limited their bargaining power and chances to get bigger contracts. The Rams have shown a propensity to pay their performing draft picks well and the game Bradford had will help him join that group. While the 299 yards is impressive, more impressive is the fact that he shook off an interception and was productive down the stretch helping lead his team to 14 unanswered points in the 4th quarter.
New Contract Player Of The Week
Reggie Bush– I have always been critical of Bush as being an overhyped and overvalued player, but there is no way to discount the impact he had on the game this week for the Detroit Lions. 21 carries for 90 yards and the big 77 yard reception where he just split apart and then outran the entire Vikings defense. At a $2 million cap number and $5 million cash number, it would be hard to find a better free agent bargain in the first week than Bush.
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.