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Dumb contracts

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A lot of the current Redskin problems could be summed up in two words: dumb contracts. Related to this, even good contracts aren't extended soon enough.

There are at least two kinds of dumb contracts:

1. Excessive contracts. These include guaranteed payments regardless of playing time, contracts that escalate unrealistically (sometimes via incentive clauses) in later years, and long contracts with older players combined with large signing bonuses (the player is unlikely to be around that long, so the signing bonus ends up hammering the salary cap when the player retires or is cut).

2. Short-term contracts for young or mid-career players, even if they are unproven or coming back from injury.

There's simply no excuse for the dead money being paid to Deion Sanders, Mark Carrier and Jeff George. The Skins have an obligation to think through every eventuality and make sure they will not be punished by their own contracts. The only decent excuse for dead money is catastrophic injury by a player early in the contract, causing the player's signing bonus to hit the cap after the player is off the team. I do think that it's fair in these cases for the player to retain the signing bonus. What's idiotic is paying out a signing bonus when the player retires for no good reason (which should be a breach of contract), or is cut for performance reasons.

Then we get situations like the Stephen Davis contract, where everyone agrees that the contract "obviously" needs to be renegotiated ($11 cap hit in 2003), and that everyone involved knew this when the contract was signed. That's kind of like a plan to head straight for a brick wall at 60 mph and say "obviously we need to install steering and brake systems before we get there." Similarly, Bruce Smith's contract presumes that he will be playing when he is about 70. Call me insane, but why can't the team and the players negotiate contracts that actually have a reasonable shot of executing on their original terms? Is that so hard?

Another kind of bad contract is the Ki-Jana Carter low-ball short-termer. This is a plan that by its very design is certain to work out badly for the team. Either KJ stinks out the joint coming back from injury (and is cut or rides the bench, causing the team to regret signing him), or the Skins play the fool's role of proving KJ is back to his top college-level skills, just in time to wave goodbye to him in free agency. Why couldn't the team and KJ simply written a long-term, incentive-based contract that would pay him his worth if he succeeds, but allow the team to cut him without penalty if he fails? The team already won the tough part of that contract (cutting without penalty), so why isn't it in both their interest to reward him if he succeeds?

Note that we have a number of new players signed this year to the KJ plan. So we're not exactly learning from our mistakes.

Related to the dumb contracts is the foot-dragging when it comes to extending the good contracts with good players. Everyone says we should extend contracts before the final season with good players (Jansen, Bailey). Problem is, by the final season, the player can smell the dollars of free agency, and the team isn't left with enough time to plan reliably beyond the next season (they don't really know whether to draft a replacement). The time to extend contracts with good young and mid-career players is with *two years* to go on the contract. At that point, free agency seems way off, and the player gets the compliment of knowing the team believes in him -- instead of the sinister threat (Jansen, Davis) that the team might cut or trade the player because the contract is about to run out or explode.

Some idiot will probably object that it's too early to extend a contract with two years to go. Give me a break. Many contracts are for four or five years, often with unproven rookies or players who haven't played in the Skins system. Take a player like Jansen -- you *know* he plays great for you, so why not extend the contract with plenty of time to go?

If I were running the Skins, I wouldn't let any key player in his prime get closer than two years to the end of the contract. The extensions don't even have to be very long -- add a year or two. These contracts don't have to be a Herculean clash if you just make clear this is the Redskins style of business to extend contracts for good players in their prime. Mind you, that's not a guaranteed extension or a huge signing bonus -- it's just an incentive-based extension that basically says, if you are still playing for us and you are productive by the standard metrics of your position, we will pay you what you are worth.

Is that so hard? I've got to believe I could do a better job at this than these clowns.


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don't disagree with what you said. I think we all have to realize the new administration with Spurrier and Mendes playing a predominant role will mean using a different strategy on personnel than was used under Vinny or Charley Casserly before.

Casserly if you remember started the merry go round with the signings of Stubblefield, Stanley Richard and James Washington to million dollar deals and these guys for the most part fell flat on their faces.

The problem with the excessive contracts has been a long festering one with the Redskins which has only been compounded by the age and lack of work ethic of some of the players the team has signed.

Things have definitely improved in 2002. Only Armstead is over 30 of the players the Skins have brought in. We hope to reap the harvest of having the following players play their prime years here:

Trotter (25), Jones (28), Moore (26), Anthony (27), Green (26), Wynn (27), Wuerffel (27), Loverne (26).....................

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Before we all go off about contracts, let's recall the old adage, "it takes two to tango." Different players have different priorities, and teams are forced to bend a little to accommodate those players' priorities sometimes. You'll note that the contracts we most often complain about relate to elite, or at least big-name players. These are the most rare players out there, and they have therefore the most bargaining power and command the most money.

As far as the contracts themselves go, certain players want money up front in a bonus because that's the only money in an NFL contract that's guaranteed. Lavar's contract was like that. Deion's was like that too. The remaining years on the contract essentially exist to prorate the impact of the bonus for cap purposes across a number of years.

Now, elite players also often want to have shorter contracts because each opportunity for them to negotiate a new contract is an opportunity to get a new bonus and to increase the yearly salary to reflect the new, higher levels. That conflicts with the team's need to prorate the bonuses across as many years as possible to dilute the cap impact.

What the players do to get what they want in this regard is have escalating salary levels in the later years of the contract that ensure that the team needs to renegotiate the contract before they have to pay the salary. In essence, those huge contract years ensure for the player that they are either cut, or that they get a new contract from the team. The team initially benefits from these faux 5 year contracts even though they only last 3 years in reality because for the first 3 years, the team gets to act for bonus proration purposes as if the contract is 5 years. In other words, for example, with a $5M bonus, the team's cap would only reflect a $1M per year cap hit for the bonus for that 5 year contract until the contract was terminated, either for good, or was extended via renegotiation.

This is all a way of saying that there is a method to this madness. However, the system is certainly weighted towards the elite players in the prime of their careers getting the lion's share of the league's money. And that's indeed how it tends to play out, to the detriment of the "depth" on the team and to veteran players who are slightly past their prime and who otherwise would be valued on rosters.

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Careful 9er ... I'm an App St. grad. So is Dallas' best LB Dexter Coakley. And you know what ... Dexter won a lot more games at App St. than he has at Dallas.

Appalachain State University has a rich football tradition and is a perennial power in I-AA football. Look it up if you don't believe me. Several coaches have broken into the big time out of there (Mack Brown - Texas and Sparky Woods - frmr South Carolina).

As for players in the Pros there have been many. To name a few:

- Dino Hackett (Pro Bowl LB for KC)

- John Settle (Pro Bowl RB for Atlanta)

- Mark Royals (punter for several teams)

- Bjorn Nittmo (kicker for Giants).

- Dexter Coakley (good player for wrong team),

- Matt Stevens (OK bad example but he does have a ring)

- and a handful of linemen whose names escape me.

You could do a lot worse than having a few App St. Mountaineers on your squad.

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Jimmy Johson won 2 Super Bowls by cornering the market on Miami Hurricane players.

This year, Jerry Jones is cornering the market on Ohio State Buckeyes.

I hear Danny Snyder is sending a contingent of scouts up to SUNY Stony Brook.



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Originally posted by 9inarow

Brave, for real? You went there by choice or did your parents send you away kicking and screaming?



My kid went to Frostburg State University (where we have our training camp), because he wasn't smart enough to go anywhere else. But I tell everyone that he went to FSU. That way, they figure he went to Florida State.


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before anybody starts laughing at schools, just tell me where Larry Allen and Leon Lett went before being taken by Dallas?

the Cowboys benefited from a lot of smaller school players. it is a misperception that Miami guys ruled.

Aikman? Smith? Haley? Novacek? Williams?

the only potential HOFer that was from Miami was Irvin.

And he was drafted by Tom Landry the year before Johnson got to Dallas. :)

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