The question is, naturally, is he worth it? There are seven people in the NFL who have the distinction of signing $100 Million deals. And, surprisingly, none of their names are Brady or Manning. So, the question needs to be asked... Is anyone?
These are the 7 contracts that broke the $100 Million barrier:
So, what do you think? Were they worth it? Brett Favre will one day be in the Hall of Fame, so his contract signed in 2001 seems like a good deal. But... wait a minute... Brett won his Super Bowl in 1997... In fact, after he signed his $100 million baby, he didn't even make it to the NFC championship game for seven years. And he quit the Packers after that. One could argue that he earned his contract by his previous years... but what kind of business pays a guy for something he did three years ago, while not expecting him to do it again? Is that they way you get paid? Because it's not the way I do...
Drew Bledsoe is my favorite in the list, because it shows just how much of an un-genius Belichick is. He signed Drew "Feets of Stone" Bledsoe to a $100 Million contract -- which pretty much proclaimed he was the starting quarterback for life. I mean, that's why you sign these deals, right? Because you think the guy is so good, you don't ever want him leaving. Problem is, Bledsoe got hurt in the second game of the season, and some kid named Tom Brady ended up finishing the season for him, and in the process doing the one thing the $100 million dollar man couldn't: Win a Super Bowl. Bledsoe ended up getting traded and finishing a mediocre career in Dallas. OK, so now I ask you: If Belicheck is as much of a genius as Peter King seems to think... and he is a great mastermind at realizing talent... why would he sign Bledsoe to a $103 Million contract, which would have kept Tom Brady holding the clipboard for ten years?
What about the rest? Daunte Culpepper?... please. When he went 8-8, the Vikings thought they had a good year. And in 2005, he ended up on a river boat with "strippers" and "exotic models" -- geez, Daunte, you would think $100 Million could buy you a private room.
Carson Palmer? Yeah, that $100 million bought the city of Cincinnati undying loyalty, didn't it?
McNabb? Nice, you pay him -- then run him out of town to give his job to Kevin Kolb, Genius thinking like that will give you a franchise record of... well.. Philadelphia -- always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
And Albert Haynesworth... well... more on him later.
There are only two reasons to pay a guy that much money: 1) because he will win championships for you in the future and 2) because he puts butts in the seats. Ben signed his contract in 2008 the year he won Super Bowl 43. Yeah, I know, the whole team won the game... but Ben had the historic drive to win it, so give him his due. And, he was back again last year. And, the Steelers expect him to make it there a few more times before he cashes the last of the $102 Million checks.
Mike Vick put butts in the seats for Atlanta. They marketed him as much as the team: "The Michael Vick Experience." Yeah, sounds like a bad ride at Universal Studios, but people paid to see him play. That $100 million was an investment.
This latest contract? Ummm... We'll see, but I'm thinking this is another GM getting stupid. (It's not like Philadelphia has never done that before...) You heard it here first: Michael Vick will never play in the Super Bowl. Not as a starter, anyway. Sorry, I am not buying into the dream team hype. And I remain unconvinced that Michael Vick can handle the pressure. The stage is just too big for some guys. Some guys, like Brady, Warner, and Roethlisberger play better on the big stage. Some, like Peyton, Romo, and Vick seem to shrink under the bright lights unforgiving glare. Vick can prove me wrong. But so far, he hasn't shown he could be big in the big moments.
So, as a courtesy to the GMs out there, let me offer a cheat sheet as to how to avoid sign a $100 million mistake.
Rule #1: Never sign a $100 million deal with a guy whose BMI is higher than his IQ.
Rule #2: Never sign a guy who has never QB'd your team to a winning record (Culpepper) -- Corollary: Never pay a guy who has been photographed in a fur coat. Ever.
Rule #3: Never sign a guy who has never QB'd your team to more than one winning record (Palmer) -- especially if he is from California and now has to live in Ohio.
Rule #5: Never sign a guy who is hated by most of your fan base (McNabb) -- [Remember the "Putting Butts in Seats" rule...]
After that, it gets trickier. So, before you sign a contract, you have to do a few quick tests to ensure your investment is sound. For example:
The "Can You Make a Decision Test"
This is a timed test. You ask the candidate: "You are stranded on a deserted island. What one member of the Gilligan's Island cast do you want to be stranded with?" There is no right answer of course. It's fine if you say Mary Ann, or Ginger. But if you can't make up your mind, then you are suffering from IPD - Indecision Paralysis Disorder... a debilitating mental illness that makes you unsure of everything... from your reads in the pocket, to not being able to decide whether to retire or not. Don't give this guy $100 million. (Oh, and anyone who picks Gilligan is also right out...)
The Ines Test
Other tests such, as the Ines test, are also valid. It goes like this: Have contract candidate walk down a hallway three feet across. While subject is halfway down the hallway, have Ines Sainz walk the opposite direction. If the candidate cannot deftly sidestep the "reporter caliente", you have a Drew Bledsoe on your hands. Don't sign him. (If the subject avoids the collision, but later sends pictures of his dong hanging out of his wrangler jeans, Brett Favre somehow made it through the previous test. Don't sign him, either...)
The I Only Pay Winners Test
Finally, a good test is to call the candidate into your office and offer to make him a deal. Tell him you can't pay him $100 million to start, but you can offer him $150 million, is he is willing to play as a backup. Anyone who will take that deal, should be cut immediately.