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The Contract of Diminishing Returns

Editor’s Note: This article was the winning submission of one of our Writing Contest winners – Chris Rohrer. It was chosen for the incredible amount of research cited, its creative idea and its overall quality. Team DLF is excited to welcome Chris to the writing group and we know you’ll enjoy much more of his work in the coming months and years.

PART I – Class of 2011

As dynasty owners, we have often speculated on the effects of a football star landing a major contract.  In the final year of a contract, landing a lucrative new deal is an obvious motivational factor for them to play well and fill stat sheets, which rewards fantasy owners.  But what happens after they land their big payday?  This article will take an in-depth look at players’ performances leading up to, and immediately following inking that deal.  The goal is to determine if the players with contract security can be counted on to perform at the same level of stardom, or if their major motivational tool is gone resulting in a shift in their mentality away from a competitive edge.

To reach a conclusion, the article will explore the 2011 season’s major signings.  First, we can look at their statistics in 2010 before their new contract.  Once we have the baseline statistics, we can then compare them to the players’ performances in 2011 and determine how it affected their fantasy owners (using standard scoring PPR leagues from MyFantasyLeague.com).  This article will focus on contracts that are four years or greater, with the idea that shorter contracts may not alter a player’s incentive to perform.

Aside from raw statistics, there are also a number of other factors that will be accounted for in this study, including whether or not there was a contract dispute, consistency from previous years and if the player has displayed any personality red flags.  The main factor I am looking for in a contract dispute is essentially if it resulted in a holdout where significant time was missed.  Preseason can be a critical time to get into game shape, develop team chemistry, and if necessary, learn a new offense.

Consistency is an important factor in distinguishing if a player has proven they can maintain a high level of play even in non-contract years.  If a player‘s previous season jumps off the page, it is more likely to reflect a player who is fighting for a payday.

Personality red flags are important because they can help determine if a player can continue to stay focused, or rather has had motivational concerns.  If their history suggests behavioral problems, this could result in league discipline, and potentially decrease their fantasy production.

Michael Vick, QB PHI

Just two years after reviving his NFL career in 2009, Vick got $40 million guaranteed from the Eagles when he signed the second $100 million contract of his career.

Throughout his career, Vick achieved mediocre consistency through the air.  His true fantasy value has always been derived from the threat of being able to run at any time, so in this analysis I will focus equally on his passing and running statistics.

Year (games)

Passing Yards

Passing TDs

Interceptions

Completion Percent

Rushing Attempts

Rushing Yards

Rushing TDs

YPC

2010 (12)

3,018

21

6

62.6%

100

676

9

6.8

2011 (13)

3,303

18

14

59.8%

76

589

1

7.8

 

Total Fantasy Points

Fantasy Points per Week

Fantasy Positional Rank

2010

328.3

27.36

1

2011

243.2

20.28

13

 

It is impossible to hear the name Michael Vick and not recall his checkered history.  We all remember the events that led to him being put behind bars and temporarily banned from the NFL.  However, I don’t believe this has had any impact on his fantasy decline between the seasons of 2010 and 2011.  I join those who believe he has matured over the last couple of years and think such mistakes are a part of his past.

Rather I think his significant decline in fantasy output has come due to his strategy of play.  The bulk of Vick’s fantasy value has come from his threat as a runner.  As years are progressing, his tendency to run is declining.  From 2010 to 2011, his rushing attempts decreased by about 25% – this is an obvious attempt to avoid further injury, which has been a reoccurring theme throughout his career due to his aggressive nature to fight for extra yardage and take some hits.

However, now that he landed his big contract, he no longer needs to show that he is the same dynamic threat on the ground.  He has had a change in mentality in which his goal now is to cut back on his reckless tendencies.  In fact, he has been on record this off-season confirming this, as his new motto is, “Get the next yard on the next play.”  This will allow him to stay on the field and continue collecting from his contract (the last year of which is voided if he does not play significant time in any of the other years).  The Eagles organization encourages this new philosophy, as they want their franchise quarterback to remain healthy.  This just doesn’t sit well with fantasy owners as they watch his production and subsequent value deteriorate.  This was the case in 2011 as we saw his rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns plummet.  His total fantasy output decreased by about 26% from 2010, despite playing an extra game in 2011.

Santonio Holmes, WR NYJ

Following the 2010 season, the Jets re-signed Santonio Holmes out of free agency to a five year $45 million contract, $24 million of which is guaranteed.  In previous seasons, Holmes has definitely achieved a level of consistency, however those results have been mediocre, averaging around 50 receptions and just over 800 yards each season.  The outlier was his 2009 breakout season with the Steelers, where he amassed 1,248 yards and five touchdowns on 79 receptions.  This showed us just what Holmes is capable of if he is up to the task.  In 2010, his first season with the Jets, he played in just 12 games due to a substance abuse suspension.  In fairness of comparing his level of play from 2010 to 2011 (which he played a full 16 games), I will use a number of average per game statistics.

Receptions per Game

Receiving Yards per Game

Touchdowns per Game

Yards per Reception

Total Fantasy Points

Fantasy Points per Week

PPG Fantasy Positional Rank

2010

4.33

63.00

.50

14.3

155.6

14.15

24

2011

3.19

40.88

.50

12.8

167.1

11.14

38

 

Santonio Holmes’ 2010 and 2011 overall statistics are quite similar, but his 2010 totals were the product of just 12 games.  In 2010, as long as he was playing you could count on him in your lineup for borderline WR2 production.  In fact, notice that his fantasy points per game were equal to that of Larry Fitzgerald in 2010.  Whereas in 2011 he only maintained any fantasy value deeper leagues, and became one of the year’s fantasy disappointments.  His fantasy points per week declined by 21.3%.

Although no holdout or previous consistency problems were to blame for this drop-off, Holmes’ personality red flags have been well documented.  Since entering the league in 2006, he has missed playing time due to problems with arrests, substance abuse, and team infractions.  His highest level of consistency in the NFL has been being a problem in the locker room, and has even been labeled as “cancerous” to the team.  At the end of last season it was reported that he was benched after quitting on his team.  Is this really the type of guy that you can count on with a long term contract?

He has shown time and time again that he only cares about himself, and not what’s best for the team.  Now that he has a big contract, there is little left to motivate him.  Even his breakout 2009 season wasn’t enough for the Steelers to keep him around.  They traded Holmes to the Jets asking for only a fifth round selection in return.  While this doesn’t seem like a lot, perhaps they were the smarter of the two parties, electing to rid their club of his antics and not give Holmes the long term deal he was seeking.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI

Last offseason, Fitzgerald signed a $120 million contract over eight years.  He was in a position to help the Cardinals free up some cap room by restructuring his previous contract, and was able to get the deal done and secure about $50 million guaranteed without holding out from camp.

Looking at Fitzgerald’s past production, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more consistent as a wide receiver.  The last time he missed a 1,000 yard season was in 2006 by a mere 54 yards, and it was due to the fact that he only played 13 games.  Furthermore, those are three of only four missed games in his entire eight year NFL career.  Not only was Fitzgerald able to continue to play at a high level in 2011, but his fantasy production actually increased.  Take a look at the statistics:

Receptions

Receiving Yards

Receiving Touchdowns

Yards per Reception

Total Fantasy Points

Fantasy Points per Week

Fantasy Positional Rank

2010

90

1,137

6

12.6

212.2

14.15

18

2011

80

1,411

8

17.7

245.2

16.35

6

Larry Fitzgerald might be an obvious candidate to be an exception to the rule.  His great work ethic has been well documented, and this is a guy that is always looking for any way to improve.  Perhaps his combination of consistency, the avoidance of a camp holdout, as well as the lack of character concerns enabled him to be unaffected by the new contract and continue to produce fantasy results for his owners.  From the 2010 season, his fantasy production actually increased by 15.6%.

Chris Johnson, RB TEN

Following a highly publicized camp holdout, Chris Johnson finally inked a six year deal worth just over $55 million, $30 million of which is guaranteed.

Prior to his contract, Johnson had been consistently great.  Including his rookie season, every year Johnson has eclipsed 250 carries, at least 1,000 yards rushing, and well above 4.0 Yards per Carry (YPC).  As his 2009 season showed, from which his nickname CJ2K is derived, he even reached levels the rest of us can only achieve playing Madden on rookie level.  These are his statistics from 2010 and 2011:

Touches

Yards from Scrimmage

Total

Touchdowns

YPC

Total Fantasy Points

Fantasy Points per Week

Fantasy Positional Rank

2010

360

1,609

12

4.3

255.9

17.06

8

2011

319

1,465

4

4.0

212.5

14.17

13

Aside from the number of touchdowns scored, the numbers aren’t as staggeringly different than you might have expected.  Johnson still eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark on the ground, and his number of receptions and yardage through the air even increased.  Despite the fact that his total yardage didn’t show a significant drop-off from 2010, anyone watching him play could tell it wasn’t the same CJ2K we remembered.  What we all remember from 2011 is his incredibly slow start after missing the entire training camp.  His holdout lasted until he finally signed the contract on September 1st, a mere 10 days before their season opener.  Later he admitted to being in poor shape when reporting to camp and it was obvious that missing this time in the off-season contributed to his struggles.  The large touchdown differential made quite a difference in his fantasy output, as his total fantasy points took a 17% hit in the year following his contract signing.

Here are a few other players who signed big contracts last year:

 

Player

 

Fantasy PPG 2010

Fantasy PPG Positional Rank 2010

 

Fantasy PPG 2011

Fantasy PPG Positional Rank 2011

Percent Difference in Production

Frank Gore

18.77

6

13.11

21

-30.2%

Kevin Kolb

17.75

14

15.09

23

-15.0%

DeAngelo Williams

9.87

34

9.72

36

-1.5%

Sidney Rice

9.50

53

11.86

33

+24.8%

*Ryan Fitzpatrick

18.51

11

15.31

22

-17.3%

* Since Ryan Fitzpatrick signed his contract extension midseason, the 2010 columns will represent weeks one through six in 2011 (before the deal).  The 2011 columns represent weeks seven through the end of the season.

Injury held Frank Gore to just 11 games in 2010, but that didn’t stop the 49ers from giving him a long term deal worth $26 million over 4 years.  In 2011, Gore played all 16 games of the regular season, but his overall total production was actually lower.  He had more fantasy points in 11 games in 2010 (206.5) than he did in a full season in 2011 (196.6).  Needless to say, his average fantasy points per game dropped dramatically.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is an example of this principle on steroids.  After week six of the 2011 season, the Bills gave him a contract extension totaling $62 million over seven years.  It’s interesting to look at the immediate results by comparing his PPG from weeks 1-6 to the rest of the season.  Not only do his fantasy points reflect the declining trend, but it is interesting to note that the Bills started the season 4-2, and proceeded to finish 2-8 following Fitzpatrick’s new deal.

DeAngelo Williams, Sidney Rice and Kevin Kolb all had at least one of these seasons significantly reduced due to injury.  Thus points per game was the only way to really compare their performance between seasons and is what I used for the positional rankings as well.  I did not count a game played if injury came early and prevented them from putting up any statistics, nor did I count Kevin Kolb’s 2010 late season game where he came in just to kneel the ball and run out the clock.

Conclusion

There are many factors to consider, but the bottom line is that the vast majority of players went on to underperform after signing a new contract.  Seven of the nine players discussed declined in fantasy production, averaging -18.3% in PPG.  Additional motivation in a contract year is a primary reason to explain some of previously inflated statistics.  People often grow to expect this type of fantasy production from the player, rather than see it as an outlier.  Large guarantees from contracts ensure a hefty paycheck irrelevant of future production. Now that their motivation to get paid is gone, repeating career years often proves to be too difficult, which almost always leads to disappointment in dyntasy circles.

Fitzgerald was the only player of last year’s class to have all three of the factors in his favor, and he was also one of only two players to outperform his previous season.  Unfortunately the other player, Sidney Rice, has had such an injury riddled career making it difficult to use him as any type of indicator.  Even if a player may pass the conditions that I explored as indicators, it does not mean that they will necessarily escape the post-contract slump.  Fitzgerald is a special kind of talent, and just because he can do it doesn’t mean that others will be able to follow his lead.  It may not be a recipe for repeated success, but it does suggest that players with certain conditions have a better chance to put everything together for a repeat in production.

PART II – Class of 2012

The overwhelming majority of last year’s players who signed a big contract lost fantasy production in 2011.  As discussed, there were a variety of factors in play.  Based on my previous findings, I will use the same parameters on the players who just signed new long term contracts this offseason to determine what we can expect from their fantasy production in 2012 and beyond.

Drew Brees, QB NO

Contract:  5 years – $100 million ($40 million guaranteed)

Dispute:  Yes.  Following the 2011 season he was franchise tagged, but was very displeased that the Saints were unwilling to meet his demands after his consistent dominance at the quarterback position.  He refused to sign the tender and even held out of preseason OTAs.  Although it was far from a smooth deal, both sides were able to reach an agreement before the franchise extension deadline.  This allowed him to report to camp on time.

Consistency:  You would be hard pressed to find many players who show the same kind of consistency, regardless of their position.  Over the last six years, the time span of his previous contract, Brees led the league in completed passes (2,488), passing yards (28,394) and touchdown passes (210), while missing a grand total of one game.  Over the six years, this averages to a stellar 4,732 yards and 33.5 touchdowns per season.

Personality:  His history has an absence of any red flags.  He is perennially known as a good guy who was the savior of an organization and a city.  He was the spark who helped the Saints turn things around following his free agency signing in 2006, as the city of New Orleans struggled to recover from Hurricane Katrina.

Conclusion:  Looking at the three factors I focused on, only one raises any concern.  Although he missed some preseason activities, he reported to camp on time and this should prove as insignificant.  Considering Brees’ high level of consistency throughout all years of his previous contract and the lack of red flags regarding his personality, there is little suggest that he won’t continue to be a dominant force in 2012.

That being said, his fantasy production is bound to decline in 2012.

He had a career year, in which he set the record for the most passing yards ever thrown in a single season, with a grand total of 5,476 yards.  His peak fantasy production was likely in part due to being in a contract year and chasing Dan Marino’s single season record, even late in the season despite early playoff contention.  This is a difficult feat to repeat, and Brees knows it.  He was on record earlier this offseason saying that he feels he may play better this year, but his stats may not reflect it.  A reversion to the mean would reflect a decline of in overall fantasy production, but would still be a top quarterback option for 2012.

Rob Gronkowski, TE NE

Contract:  8 years – $55 million ($16.5 million guaranteed)

Dispute:  No contract dispute was necessary. The Patriots wanted to lock him up for the foreseeable future and avoid any conflict in the future by signing him to this extension.

Consistency:  Much like Brees, Gronk had a career year in his 2012 breakout campaign.  He shattered single season tight end records with an astounding 1,327 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns.  Unlike Brees, however, he hasn’t had a chance to prove consistency, as 2011 was only his sophomore season in the NFL.  Not only does he lack statistical consistency, but this type of production from a tight end is a brand new concept in the NFL.  Although there has been much speculation that this is the beginning of a new era, we have yet to see any consistency showing that this previously unfathomable tight end production will now be the new norm.

Personality:  Gronk definitely creates waves around the league, but unlike others the attention doesn’t come from any off-season transgressions.  He rather receives harmless attention due to his outgoing and goofy personality.

Conclusion:  Gronk may be a top candidate at tight end, and as a huge Patriots fan I would love to see an identical season from him, however he is a candidate to fall back to into the realm of fantasy reality.  He has yet to prove that he can consistently put up numbers that are quite this daunting.  He should remain a top fantasy producer at his position, however repeating last year’s feat may prove to be too difficult.  For him, even a great season may be viewed as a disappointment as he tries to follow up his 2011 career year.

Calvin Johnson, WR DET

Contract:  8 years – $150 million ($60 million guaranteed)

Dispute:  No, the Lions were wise to come to terms on a long-term extension with arguably the most valuable asset right now in dynasty leagues.

Consistency:  The consistency is there as well, as he has topped 1,000 yards receiving in three of his five NFL seasons, just narrowly missing a fourth in 2009 having only played in 14 games.  However, 2011 definitely stands out as the most dominant season of his career, totaling 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns in the regular season alone.

Personality:  Described as “low-key, humble and team oriented” by teammates, Calvin is the epitome of letting one’s play do the talking.  You won’t see him in any headlines causing problems.

Conclusion:  Among the factors I explored from 2011’s contract candidates, everything seems to be in line for Johnson to continue to produce superstar numbers.  However, somewhat of a decline in total fantasy points wouldn’t be a complete surprise given his career year in 2011.  He finished 2011 as fantasy’s number one wide receiver, and while there is little doubt that he can do this again, it leaves nowhere to go but down.  That being said, he is the exact type of player you want on your team (NFL or fantasy alike) due to his freakish athletic ability and hardworking, unselfish attitude.

DeSean Jackson, WR PHI

Contract:  5 years – $51 million ($15 million guaranteed)

Dispute:  It took over a year of public whining and protest for DeSean Jackson to finally get the deal he desired.  The contract dispute had been ongoing since 2011’s offseason, which was when he was entering the final year of his rookie deal.  Last year he staged a holdout that lasted through the first 11 days of training camp before finally reporting.  As his contract expired, this offseason the Eagles chose to use the franchise tag on him, which he did sign.  Two weeks later, Jackson was rewarded with the long term deal he longed for.

Consistency:  He has achieved some level of consistency between seasons, generally finishing with right around 50-60 receptions and 1,000 yards.  Most players would be labeled as a success story with these stats, but we all know DeSean Jackson is capable of more.  ForJackson, his inconsistency can be seen from game to game.  He is the epitome of a boom or bust pick, and on any given week he can either put up WR1 numbers or be almost invisible.  No one would argue about his big play potential, but he has yet to prove that he can achieve a high level of play throughout an entire season and be the Eagles’ go-to guy.

Personality:  There is a lot to be desired.  Some say that by signing this deal he will be able to put an end to the distractions and it will allow him to just play football.  I disagree.  This type of behavior doesn’t just evaporate. Jackson has continuously caused distractions for his team as he demonstrates his immaturity on and off the field.  I see this contract situation as similar to that of Santonio Holmes’ from 2011. They share a selfish attitude and they have both missed games due to team infractions as a direct result.  This is exactly the type of player you don’t want to give a long term contract to.

Conclusion:  Of these candidates, Jackson’s consistently mediocre production combined with his talent and potential upside have arguably the most room to improve on last year’s stats (if he finds a way to consistently put everything together).  However, the lingering dispute and behavioral track record suggest that this may not be the case after signing a new long term deal.  This explains why he received the lowest relative amount of guaranteed money of any player from this analysis. This gives the Eagles flexibility to inexpensively rid them of this plague if Jackson continues to cause problems.  Will the low amount of guaranteed money be enough to keep him motivated and make his distracting antics a part of the past?

Marshawn Lynch, RB SEA

Contract:  4 years – $31 million ($18 million guaranteed)

Dispute:  No dispute was necessary, and the deal came in form of an extension avoiding any type of holdout.

Consistency:  Consistency has never been achieved by the six year pro.  He started his career with two respectable seasons, but had since been unimpressive before the emergence of “Beast Mode” in the 2010 playoffs.  This carried into 2011, which was by far his best season, and arguably the only one in which he produced true RB1 numbers.

Personality:  Character concerns are an ongoing problem.  He has a history of off the field issues, and he recently showed that this type of behavior is not just a part of his past.  It had been a two year hiatus since his last arrest, before he was charged with a DUI not long after signing his new deal.

Conclusion:  His lack of consistency is clearly evident, as the 2011 season is the one that jumps off the page.  This type of one-off performance very much fits the bill for a player fighting for a payday that could trail off in the following year.  His most recent arrest could have an immediate fantasy impact, as the lingering threat of a league sanctioned suspension remains.

Matt Forte, RB CHI

Contract:  4 years – $32 million ($18 million guaranteed)

Dispute:  This was one of the messier contract disputes this offseason.  After being franchise tagged, Forte refused to sign the tender, staged a holdout from OTAs, and threatened to be absent from camp.  It got personal as Matt Forte openly talked about how he felt disrespected by the organization.  Both sides were reportedly far apart in talks, and it wasn’t until the deadline that the two sides came together and reached a deal.

Consistency:  In each year of Forte’s career his workload has waned.  He has been able to post respectable statistics throughout his career, but the 2011 season jumps off the page as his top season before missing the final four games due to injury.  This can be seen most clearly in his average yards per carry.  In the three seasons prior to 2011, he produced a YPC of 4.0 on 802 carries.  In 2011, this spiked to 4.9 yards per carry.  One thing in favor of his PPR league value has been his consistency in the passing game.  He has always been a passing threat out of the backfield, with averages hovering around 50 receptions and 500 yards each season.

Personality:  His background is void of any issues, as he is known as one of the good guys in the league.

Conclusion:  Although Forte should be able to out produce his 2011 injury reduced season totals, he fits the bill for a decline in fantasy PPG.  His consistency has waivered throughout his career, as 2011 was certainly his best year from a fantasy perspective.  A contract dispute is never a good thing, despite its resolution.  While projecting Forte’s possible decline, we cannot ignore the addition of Michael Bush to the backfield as an outside factor influencing his impact in 2012 and beyond.  With Bush’s size and capabilities, there is little doubt that he will be a vulture in goal-line situations, and he has also proven to be a capable third down back if necessary.  As mentioned, each year of Forte’s career has resulted in fewer caries.  Although he should top last year’s injury reduced total, there’s good reason to believe his total carries shouldn’t exceed 250 by much.

Ray Rice, RB BAL

Contract:  5 years – $40 million ($24 million in first two years)

Dispute:  Yes.  Ray Rice was another player who was franchise tagged this season before later agreeing to terms on a long term deal.  He signed a player friendly, front-loaded deal right in the final minutes before the deadline.  He held out of OTAs, but having agreed to terms by the deadline means he didn’t miss anything significant as he reported to camp on time.

Consistency:  Definitely.  Since becoming the unquestioned starter in 2009, he has recorded three straight dominant seasons, recording over 1,200 yards rushing in each.  In PPR leagues, his consistency as a pass catcher has been matched by none.  Since 2009, he has averaged over 72 receptions per season.  The only thing that separated last season from his previous ones was a spike of his total number of touchdowns, with 15 – up from six in 2010.

Personality:  No red flags I can think of.

Conclusion:  People have expressed concern in him slowing down because of his heavy workload in both college and the NFL catching up to him.  This is a concern that shouldn’t be ignored for the long run, but based on the factors explored, there is nothing to say it will be this year.  Rice is still only 25 years old and his consistency has been golden.  The spike in number of touchdowns is the one outlier that could be hard to repeat in 2012, and result in an ultimate decrease in fantasy production.

Arian Foster, RB HOU

Contract:  5 years – $43.5 million (about $21 million guaranteed)

Dispute:  No.  There was no way Houstonwas about to let Foster walk in free agency even though his contract was up.  Any controversy was completely avoided as Foster signed a new deal ahead of the franchise tag deadline.

Consistency:  Arian Foster is too young to say he has had consistency throughout a contract.  He’s played both his NFL seasons on one year deals.  Having said this, both of those seasons were monstrous.  He missed the opening three games of 2011, but was still able to finish as a top three overall fantasy running back.

Personality:  No major red flags.  This is a guy who has been constantly doubted at all stages of his football career.  He went undrafted out ofTennessee, but worked his way from the Texans practice squad to starter.  Foster plays with a chip on his shoulder, like he still has a lot to prove.

Conclusion:  Although he has only played through two NFL seasons, the factors seem to be in Foster’s favor to keep producing at an elite level.  Foster missed the three opening games of last season, but scored more fantasy points per game than any other running back.  I think that there is a distinct possibility this happens again, and because of the missed games he is a candidate to produce more overall fantasy points than last season if he can stay healthy.  We will see if the big contract has caused him to lose a bit of his edge, but my guess is no.  He’s a motivated guy that worked hard to get to where he’s at.

Keep your eye on these guys:

None of the players I focused on in 2012 had major contract disputes leading to extended camp holdouts.  This is obviously because all of those who now have contracts were able to resolve their issues before it lead to further action.  Maurice Jones-Drew and Mike Wallace are two high impact fantasy players that should be closely monitored.

Guys coming off career years tend to use this as leverage to get a new deal, even if it’s not a contract year.  This is the position that Maurice Jones-Drew finds himself in.  In 2012 he will be following up on a season that he recorded 1,980 total yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns, and finished as the number four fantasy running back.  He wants to strike while the iron is hot because he, too, knows that repeating last year’s feat is difficult, and this could very well be his last chance to score a big-time contract.

Wallace, on the other hand, is tagged to play the 2012 season on a $2.742 million tender.  It’s not quite the long-term, $10 million per year deal he was looking for.  It’s no surprise he’s holding out from camp and potentially longer.  Things got even uglier when the Steelers signed teammate Antonio Brown to a five year, $42.5 million extension.  Even more undesirable about Wallace’s situation is that he needs to learn a new offense under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.  The Steelers have said that they won’t continue contract talks until Wallace reports to camp.

The effects of camp holdouts are evident by Chris Johnson’s slow start to the 2011 season.  Jones-Drew and Wallace both risk missing significant time in camp, and are even threating to be absent from the lineup in week one of the regular season.  Both cases have taken a turn for the worse and don’t show any signs of improvement.  It has been reported that contact between opposing parties has been non-existent.  Each additional day they miss hinders their ability to prepare for the 2012 season, and could have disastrous fantasy impacts.

Editor’s Note: Keep in mind this article was formulated prior to Wallace and MJD reporting to camp.

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Wallace's Warriors
9 years ago

This doesn’t have anything to do with this article but I was looking at the rankings and one of the so-called new experts ranked Andrew Luck (4) ahead of Drew Brees (5). How can anyone honestly say that they think a player who has never played a game before (at the time he hadn’t) is better than the guy who led the league in passing yards and touchdowns the year before. He also owns the record for most passing yards in a season and completion percentage. Can someone please explain to me his case because I can’t see it.

Admin
Reply to  Wallace's Warriors
9 years ago

I’ll let Ryan McDowell answer that since those are his rankings, but I can imagine it has everything to do with the longevity factor.

Brees is 11 years older than Luck and likely has four or five seasons left in comparison to what could be 12-15 for Luck. They’re both close in the composite rankings (Brees is 3.63 and Luck is 5.38). It’s all about strategy. If you’re a competing team, it’s Brees all the way. If you’re a rebuilding team, Luck could be a great asset to own and build around.

Wallace's Warriors
Reply to  Ken Kelly
9 years ago

I get that point. I think it doesn’t make much sense, though. If you think that Luck is going to be great in 4 years than you can trade for him in two years. If you think over three years ahead, you are over thinking it (excluding on rookie picks where this does not apply). If a player is going to gain value in two years than trade for him next year when his value will be about the same. I could see why you would rank a guy like Cam in front of him because he is some what proven. The rankings you guys put out are extremely rookie heavy so the averages don’t show they are close. That is extremely eminent by your ranking of Brandon Weeden. He is 28 and ranked ahead of Blaine Gabbert who is 22. I mean he had one bad season and now there are apparently 5 rookies who are better than him. Next year Tannehill and Weeden will both be dropped into the 30s even though they only got one year older. I would also think that if Griffin or Luck don’t have stellar rookie numbers they will find them selves out of the top 10 when next year comes around and Barkely is the 5th fantasy QB.

MarkFF
Reply to  Wallace's Warriors
9 years ago

FWIW I’d rather have Luck than Brees. Now that isn’t true if I plan on winning right now but if I have a middle of the road or a rebuilding team I’m taking luck over brees. He will be a stud and has more than twice as much time to play as Brees. It isn’t redraft.

JBlake
Reply to  Wallace's Warriors
9 years ago

I don’t think anyone would argue that Luck is better than Brees. Those are DYNASTY rankings, and some people favor 15 years of unknown (but probably very good) production over 3 years of elite production.

Jason Sandhage
9 years ago

Great article Chris! The amount of time and effort this must have taken you clearly shows in it’s style and insight. It was an enjoyable read and I look forward to seeing your articles in the future.

amoo
9 years ago

Great idea for an article and well written. That being said, no VJax?

Eric MacKenzie
9 years ago

Fred Jackson? LeSean McCoy? Matt Schaub?

The one thing that I’m curious about is team driven contracts (A. Hernandez) vs. player driven contracts (F. Jackson). It seems to me, the team driven contracts generally result in less of a decline than player driven contracts.

Larry T
Reply to  Chris Rohrer
9 years ago

From my perspective, TEAM driven contracts are prior to the player reaching PRIME Years… but end or have escape clauses when they reach 30 yo mark. They are buying into the “What Will You Do for me Now” approach. Team is for the Keep Them Now and get them Low. Player Driven is Pay Me for what I have done… not what I will do.

Enjoyed the article…. but was looking for more of a conclusion … maybe to say “Avoid those Player Paid Contract” efforts, but maybe comment about players are still viable for “Team Paid”

Braxton
9 years ago

Awesome article, Chris!

I found a pic of you on Facebook and you’re super cute!

Call me maybe?

9 years ago

Very thought-provoking article, Chris! I’d like to see this concept expanded to evaluate all players who have signed huge contracts in the past 5, 10, or even 15 years. I’d also like to see the comparison between the last two seasons of the original contract and the first two of the new contract. Obviously that kind of a study would be a huge undertaking but it would certainly provide some pretty concrete and robust data.

Also, it would be cool to compare production for players who signed that new huge contract with the same team as their original contract versus players who signed that big contract with a different team (via trade, free agency, etc.). I’m very curious about whether those results would be any different and I have a feeling they would be.

Dayne_225
8 years ago

Attack of the spammers!

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