Well when you look at Alexander and Johnson, keep in mind what was happening to the team around them...the year after Alexander broke the record was the year that Steve Hutchinson went to the Vikings, right? And the whole offense (especially the O-line) had been falling apart for the Chiefs, so Johnson was due for some sort of fall. I didn't expect it to be as bad as he was that year, but some fall should have been expected.
I wouldn't worry too much about it for football because the nature of the sport is completely "what have you done for me lately?"...a player could always get released and his contract basically get torn up and not paid in full.
Baseball in the other hand has guaranteed contracts. I made a topic in the baseball cafe asking about players dropping off after they sign a contract, I think it can have some merit, but I was torn apart for saying that so I don't really know...
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Yeah, you have to look at each situation differently. SA had a past of injury issues even before his contract, was already past his prime, and the offense around him was declining. LJ - that offense went to hell in a handbasket. He's not that gifted a runner to begin with, so without the supporting case, he was speculated my many to have a bad year.
I think you do tend to see it in certain cases. WRs who sign a big deal with a DIFFERENT team almost never pan out for some reason. RBs often don't get a big contract until after they've performed a couple years - so many are already in their late 20's by the time they get that big contract. How many RBs have great years 3 seasons in a row? Not many - so after 2 good seasons, the guy gets a big contract and is likely to decline.
Keep in mind all of the 'decline' could just be fantasy related. Teams will often pay someone, especially a RB, a lot of money and then limit his work to protect their investment. So a decline in fantasy doesn't necessarily mean the player's skills have declined.
Teams change every year. Green Bay, for example, had a rash of injuries at RB last year which is how Ryan Grant got in the game. Even without this contract issue, he was probably going to share more carries because the Packers have other healthy RBs who aren't too bad. Jackson is healthy and in his second year and Morency is the most explosive back on the team, and probably the best receiver of the three. So if Grant disappoints fantasy owners this year, it may not be because he signed a big money deal - it may just be a result of the changes in the status of the offense.
I don't see contracts as a reliable source, generally speaking.
Larry Fitzgerald was smart to sign a 4 year deal. As a young elite WR that means when he's like 28, his contract will expire, and assuming he is still elite, he will get another max deal for another 4 or 5 years and another huge payday. Because this is obviously their plan (or else he would have signed a 7 year deal with more money up front), I think you are pretty naive to pass on Fitzgerald for a lesser guy like Marshall or Plaxico just because of the contract.
Barber is an interesting case. He signed a 7 year deal worth $45 mil with about $16 mil up front. He is probably real fat and happy now, figuratively speaking. Unlike LJ and SA, he is still very young at only 25 and still has a lot to prove. Plus the offense will find it hard not to get him double digit TDs as long as he stays healthy. I still see him as low risk, but there are warning signs. Really the situation is more similar to Lamont Jordan after he finally left the Jets - can finally prove himself as a lead back, the real question is how will he hold up long term.
Another guy to worry about is Westbrook. He has 3 years left on a 5 year deal but is crying loudly to max out and renegotiate even though he'd have a much easier time (given the rules agreed to by the players' union) if he renegotiated next year. Not to say he is done, but he's clearly trying to get the money while he's at the top, which means he's probably starting to anticipate the decline.
thriftyrocker wrote:Barber is an interesting case. He signed a 7 year deal worth $45 mil with about $16 mil up front. He is probably real fat and happy now, figuratively speaking. Unlike LJ and SA, he is still very young at only 25 and still has a lot to prove. Plus the offense will find it hard not to get him double digit TDs as long as he stays healthy. I still see him as low risk, but there are warning signs. Really the situation is more similar to Lamont Jordan after he finally left the Jets - can finally prove himself as a lead back, the real question is how will he hold up long term.
That couldn't be further from the truth in Barber's case, and not only with him, but I don't think every NFL player gets complacent when they get contracts...MBIII is one of the hardest workers on the Cowboys and has been for some time, he keeps to himself, doesn't like alot of media attention, but he is always working hard and I doubt the money changes that because he still has alot to prove.
Felix Jones can learn a lot from Barber, especially the first-year starter's relentless work ethic. I mentioned that Barber went through a grueling workout a couple hours before yesterday's practice. Jones has noticed that sort of thing is the norm for Barber.
"He's a very hard worker," Jones said. "I see him off when nobody's watching, and he's out here working or lifting weights or doing something to improve his game. That's something I admire about him. I'll be going out there working with him soon."
I believe he has questions surrounding him as do other backs, but I don't think getting lazy or complacent after a pay day is one of them, he has been seemingly working harder this entire off-season to flourish in his increased role...Your other questions I agree with and most should have to wonder those things...I feel the same about Fitz, he is a high character guy and always has been a hard worker, he's a guy who loves the game of football...Ever since he was hanging around with Denny Green for the Vikes I got the impression he would want to be one of the greats, so I don't see him slowing down...I think those big contracts are a case by case thing, I don't think we can lump everyone together who got big deals.
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Players tend to get contract extensions when they are at the top of their game as teams try to lock up key guys before they hit free agency. These players then tend to regress to the mean. I would tend to avoid guys coming off career years rather than guys who have just been resigned (though they are often one in the same).