NFL management throws around million-dollar contracts with about as much reservation and sober second thought as a giddy tourist pitching pennies into the Trevi Fountain.
It is this seeming lack of fiscal apprehension that can cause eye-rolling from an ordinary sod trying to figure which credit card to pay this month.
But all those numbers can be deceiving. When it comes to the average NFL contract, all is often not as it appears — and the owners like it that way.
Every day this time of year it seems some free agent or rookie out of Football U. is signing up to sweat buckets for a gazillion dollars. In many cases all those big numbers add up to nothing more than those pennies in the fountain.
Rarely are the owners as generous as they like to appear. Take the current Revis affair in New York. Head coach Rex Ryan has referred to Darrelle Revis as being among the elite players at his cornerback position and the Jets, in an attempt to sign him long-term, suggested they ditch his rookie contract.
Only problem is the two sides now can’t agree on a deal and Revis is holding out. Ryan has changed his tune saying the club can get by without him. Management is portraying Revis as greedy for not accepting a 10-year, $120-million contract.
Revis is holding out for $16 million a year for the next decade, putting him in the same league as Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
If it were only so simple.
Truth is if the Jets were actually offering Revis $120 million in the bank, guaranteed, no ifs, ands or buts — he’d have been in camp yesterday.
But it’s not. The deal the Jets are offering, like most NFL contracts, isn’t guaranteed. Often NFL teams simply inflate the total value of contracts with money that will never be paid out. The Patriots could sign Tom Brady to a billion-dollar deal and the Jets can say they’re paying Revis $120 million. But it doesn’t mean anything because players can, and routinely are, cut if they get injured or fail to perform to the team’s wishes.
There was much fawning over the Jets bestowing tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson with a six-year, $60-million extension. But ESPN noted it’s really a one-year, $5.3225-million arrangement with no other guaranteed money.
If he suffers a career-ending injury this year, the rest of the deal becomes void. Even if he just gets hurt a bit and the Jets believe his performance suffers they can terminate the deal.
That’s hardly $60 million in the bank considering the inherent risk of this game.
In Revis’ situation, his current rookie contract calls for a guaranteed base salary in 2010 of $1 million and he’s supposed to make $20 million guaranteed in 2011 and 2012 combined. Except there’s a big BUT: The guarantee doesn’t become effective until he gets through 2010 without an injury in which case the Jets have an escape clause.
So, while management is talking like Revis is holding out for big bucks, what he — and so many other players — really hold out for is security.
He — and every player from Brady to a third-string lineman — are looking for are guarantees that if they blow out a spinal disc, or end up with a few missing brain cells due to concussions, they’ll get more than a pat on the butt, a “thanks for showing up” and — oh, don’t let the clubhouse door hit you on the way out to your new career as a Walmart greeter.
Blame Revis for holding out if you want but don’t blame him for — as management would have the public believe — turning up his nose at $120 million. That would be a figment of a fiscal imagination.
Signs point to Sam Bradford being the Rams starting quarterback in the season opener. While A.J. Feeley will start Saturday’s preseason game, coach Steve Spagnuolo confirmed Bradford will see action with the first-team offence. The Rams say Bradford will have to earn the starter’s role and reports indicate that is precisely what is happening at camp.
Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins has dropped 33 pounds in three months on Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet. “They’re more muffin tops than cookies,” said Jenkins. In any case, he was down to a svelte 360 pounds by training camp.
Jenkins went on the diet when his weight ballooned while recovering from a torn ligament in his left knee. The cookies are 90 calories each and contain ingredients like milk, soy, whole wheat flour, crisp rice and non-vegetable protein.
Jenkins gets six a day.
The cookies are actually appetite suppressants and Jenkins' goal is to weigh 350 by the time training camp is over in late August.
Houston, putting pressure on Aaron Schobel to decide if he’s going to sign, is now looking at free-agent defensive end Raheem Brock ... Colts Pro Bowl centre Jeff Saturday, who has missed only six games since 2000, has had arthroscopic knee surgery. He may miss the season opener ... With their top three tailbacks sidelined, Denver has signed Justin Fargas (3,369 yards, seven seasons with Oakland). The Broncos lost Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) and Correll Buckhalter (back) the first day of camp and LenDale White (leg) two days after signing last week. In other words, Fargas’ future looks about as good as the guy who once showed up at another camp with the words: “Reporting for duty, General Custer” ... Saints’ Lynell Hamilton is believed to have a torn ACL that, given his history of knee injuries, could be career-threatening. Pierre Thomas now has a chance to take over goal-line duties.