NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

March 15, 2014

Follow the money in free agency

NEW YORK — Hidden money, dead money, funny money.

They all apply to NFL free agency, where the price tags never really are what the teams, agents or players say they are.

Sure, there are a very few deals that are exactly what they say on paper, such as standout cornerback Darrelle Revis’ one-year, $12 million contract with New England. No confusion on the length or the value.

Compare that to what the guy Revis is replacing with the Patriots, Aqib Talib, got with Denver. The Broncos offered Talib a six-year contract for $57 million, with $26 million guaranteed. An average of well over $9 million a season, right?

Uh, not quite.

The only money Talib definitely will see is the $26 million, which he’ll get even if he is injured and barely plays for Denver. In four years, he will be 32 and unless he plays like, well, a vintage Revis, the Broncos aren’t likely to have interest in the rest of this contract.

For nearly every agreement in free agency, that’s how it is. Follow the guaranteed money, be skeptical of the back end of all deals — especially the extremely lengthy ones.

Bill Polian, who built three Super Bowl teams (Buffalo, Carolina, Indianapolis), points to Green Bay as an example of how to approach free agency. Notice that the Packers barely have taken part in it this year, their usual course.

“Free agency is not free, it costs two things you never get back: time and money,” says Polian, now an analyst for ESPN and SiriusXM. “When you have a good team, and the Green Bay Packers have a good team and a good personnel department that drafts well ... then it behooves you to stay conservative in free agency. Sign your own and be in a position to make very good judgments on a few players in free agency.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Tiger Woods: 1 on 1 3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season
Special Features