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Posts tagged ‘NFL free agents’

Ray Rice — Pay Da Man

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is another key player that was franchised last month. And like QB Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and RB Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears, Ray Rice has not signed his franchise tender and can not join his team in the voluntary offseason workouts that started this past Monday.  As the Ravens featured back, Rice is a key component in their offense. For the 2011 regular season, Rice rushed for 1,364 of the Raven’s 1,995 total rushing yards and had 15 of the 41 touchdowns (12 rushing/3 passing). His 1,364 rushing yards was 2nd in the league behind Jaguars’ RB Maurice Jones Drew who had 1,606. Rice has rushed for at least 1,200 yards and caught at least 60 passes in each of the past three seasons.

With the franchise tag, Rice would receive $7.7 million for one year. And of course, down here on earth, we all wonder what’s the problem with that? Your average Joe would be happy to sign any tag that would net $7.7 million for the year. We wouldn’t even squawk if they dropped the .7.   But consider this, the market rate for the services of a quality veteran running back in the NFL is far greater than $7.7 million. Arian Foster, running back for the Houston Texans, recently signed a five-year deal for $43.5 million with $20.75 million guaranteed. And at the start of the 2011 season, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson was given an extension on his rookie contract. Price tag — $53 million with $30 million guaranteed covering him through the 2016 season. The going rate for a top tier running back has been set and Ray Rice is a top tier running back.

C’mon man, Pay the man!

Matt Forte — Pay The Man

Running back Matt Forte is not feeling the love in Chicago. A month ago he took to Twitter to express his unhappiness after the Bears signed RB free agent Michael Bush to a 4-year deal to the tune of $14 million with $7 million guaranteed. The Bush deal was done after the Bears had placed the franchise tag on Forte which right now is good for one year and worth a little over $7.5 million. On Twitter, Forte wrote:

There’s only so many times a man that has done everything he’s been asked to do can be disrespected! Guess the GOOD GUYS do finish last…

for the record I’m not mad at the signing of another running back. This is 4th time that’s happened. I embrace competition as well as help

But as for not taking care of ur own and undervaluing a player under his market value is another story! #twitterrant”

I think he has the right to be disappointed. In 4 years with the Bears, Forte has been one of the most productive backs, both in rushing and receiving. He has total rushing yards of 4,233 and 21 touchdowns and has 223 receptions for 1,985 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. Forte has helped bolster the Bears’ shaky receiving corps while also producing as the featured back. When a team delays giving one its star players a long-term deal and signs an outsider to one, it leads to a situation like the Eagles had with DeSean Jackson last season. Jackson played much of the season uninspired, presumably due to not getting an extended contract. The Eagles had signed or re-signed several players to sweet deals much like the Bears have done this offseason. Since the beginning of free agency on March 5, the Bears have traded for WR Brandon Marshall and also picked up QB Jason Campbell, LB Blake Costanzo and WR Eric Weems.  They have re-signed QB Josh McCown, TE Kellen Davis, DE Israel Idonije, DB Tim Jenings and S Craig Steltz.

Forte missed the last four games of the season last year with an minor MCL injury. Some say the Bears will use this to justify not giving him an extended contract. But every player in the NFL knows they are just one play, one hit, one sharp cut away from a season-ending, or worse, a career-ending injury. And before that injury, Forte had started every game for three years. C’mon, Pay Da Man.

Drew Brees Fans to Saints: Pay Da Man

Last month, the New Orleans Saints slapped the franchise tag on quarterback Drew Brees and right away it was clear that Brees was unhappy with not being signed to a long-term deal. Understandable — he led the league in just about every measurable QB category this past season: 5,476 passing yards, averaging 342 yards per game with 46 touchdowns/14 interceptions and had a completion percentage of 71.2.  His passer rating of 110.6 was 2nd behind Aaron Rodgers’ 122.5.  Brees’ 5,476 yards also broke Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a single season. Marino’s record of 5,084 had stood since 1984. Added to Brees’ record is a Super Bowl win in 2009 and two subsequent playoff runs in 2010 and 2011. Even though Saints owner Tom Benson said today that they are close to a deal with Brees, these phenomenal stats have most people wondering why the Saints haven’t already re-signed the free agent QB to a long-term deal.

To date, Drew Brees has not signed his franchise tender and with voluntary training and conditioning programs starting Monday, he would not be able to attend until he is under contract. Because of the recent Saints’ suspension for their bounty for hits policy, it is imperative to have some continuity in leadership for the team which Brees definitely brings.

Sign the man — Pay the man — C’mon man!

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Drew Brees image used under CC Lic 2.0 via wikipedia.com

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