I was reading two great pieces on Buffalo Rumblings tonight – Chris Trapasso’s on reading Tyrod’s contract correctly and Tom Mitchell’s on the ramifications of a re-structure and it hit me like a ton of bricks:
Why do we care about how much a player makes?
I ask this, primarily because we as Bills fans are in the ‘Million Dollar Man’ era of football. For those of you that are uninitiated to the world of pro wrestling, Ted Dibiase, aka the Million Dollar Man would give fans the option to do really dumb things in the ring in exchange for a few hundred bucks. While the Pegulas won’t have fans do anything sillier than show up weekly to New Era Field, they are billionaires that have shown a willingness to spend to make their teams winners; or at least spend in the hopes they win. Tyrod Taylor’s contract will be, if accepted somewhere between 17th and 20th in terms of average salary for a starter in the NFL. As it stands, with the Bills activating the extension they’ll have 26 million or so in cap space for this year, which isn’t bad considering many see this as a “rebuild year” for the team. As an unabashed fan of Taylor’s, I don’t see his contract as an issue – even if the Bills were to backstop it with another quarterback in the draft.
So, again, what’s the issue?
The current CBA was built with the idea that the last iteration was too heavily skewed towards rookies making beaucoup bucks in the NFL before they’d earned the right to demand such lucrative sums of money. As a result, the money was designed to go to veterans after they’d proven their worth in the NFL. Yet, when Stephon Gilmore asks for money commensurate to the market for his position, it’s deemed that it’s too much and for some, that Gilmore is being greedy.
So if the rookies aren’t getting the money, and the vets are being said to be too greedy with the demands, who gets the money?
Hint: It’s not going to be us. It’s not going to magically go to only players that love playing in Buffalo. Like any job any of us work on a day-to-day basis, you’re gonna want to succeed and seek opportunities elsewhere if your current employer doesn’t want to pay you what you think you’re worth.
So, why is that a problem in the NFL in the year of our Lord 2017?
If it’s the cap, next year the Bills as is are going to be between 56 and 65 million dollars under the cap. So while this may be a “lean year” cap wise, they’re also paying bigger bucks to Cordy Glenn, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes as they enter the meatier portions of their extensions. I’ve heard complaints that Dareus, a former 3rd overall pick that amassed 34 sacks from the defensive tackle position in 4.5 years is overpaid, which I cannot disagree with more. Now, if you want to say the Bills should have protected themselves more should he have another issue with marijuana, sure – I’m with you 100%. However, that’s on the Bills management for not protecting themselves, not Dareus.
If the Bills aren’t going to give the money to their quarterback or their number one corner, who are they going to give it to? Tony Romo? Look, I get the dream – but if a 36 year old with several back and collarbone injuries is going to be the savior of this team, I would hope they spring for protection for him, which costs (gasp!) money. A right tackle that’s going to be decent is still not going to want to the vet minimum. And if you want to go that route (cough cough Mills cough cough) then you get what you (don’t) pay for.
The Bills currently have 44 players under contract prior to free agency and the draft. One would think, if the team thinks like fans do with regard to cap and cheap labor, they’d try to acquire as many picks as possible in the draft. Instead, under Whaley the penchant has been trades up – sacrificing the opportunity to draft 2 cheaper players (or more!) in an effort to get just one.
So, until the Bills figure out if they’re coupon shopping or going on a Clampett style spree all over Beverly Hills, I’m going to bang the drum; don’t worry about the money.