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.
Mark Ingram– Back from injury, Ingram exploded for 172 yards and a touchdown. Ingram has run the ball since late last season like a man possessed and could very well be the most attractive free agent runner on the market this year. I say that for two reasons. One is that he does not have a tremendous amount of wear and tear on his body and secondly that the Saints are looking to be for running backs what the Steelers are for wide receivers.
Ben Roethlisberger– It will soon be extension time for the QB class of 2004 and Roethlisberger put on a show for the ages with a 522 yard, 6 touchdown performance against a defense that was in a groove and shutting offenses down. The Steelers can be maddening to watch at times, all too often playing to the level of their opponents, but Roethlisberger always gives them a chance. They would be lost without him and that is going to show when the extension finally happens.
Justin Houston– Houston is on pace for a 20 sack season and obliterated the Rams for 3 sacks and 5 solo tackles. I’m not sure that there is a better player at the position and he compares favorably to where Clay Matthews was when he signed his $13.2 million contract that set the market for the outside linebacker. With Gerald McCoy, a defensive tackle, breaking the $13 million per year mark there is no reason for Houston not to aim for $14 million a season.
New Contract Player Of The Week
Golden Tate– Tate gets the nod two weeks in a row following his 151 yard day. I think at this stage of the season its safe to say that Tate was the best free agent signing of 2014. I’m not sure where the Lions would be without Tate, but they definitely would not have a winning record. The Lions front office has not gotten many things right the last few years but their pinpointing of Tate was perfect.