John Harris of the Tribune Review, brings up a good point in his most recent column. Harris notes that Joey Porter's situation may very well effect whether our crop of 2008 Free Agents decides to test the open-market rather than to resign with the Steelers. If Porter inks a big deal, next year's free agents (who know how they stack up compared to Porter skill-wise) can be sure they'd receive a much larger check if they looked for work outside of Pittsburgh.
Harris also mentions that this year's free agents are already reaping gobs of money from their new employers, despite their relatively low profiles. Nate Clements for example, just signed an $80 milllion dollar deal with $22 million guaranteed. That's a crazy amount of money, but some teams like the 49ers are so far under the cap that they literally have money to burn, especially with the salary cap rising under the terms of the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Clements is just one example though. Derrick Dockery, Adalius Thomas, London Fletcher, and Eric Steinbach also signed deals that contain at least $10 million in guaranteed money or are structured to pay out most handsomely in the early years of the contract. The bottom line is free agents are getting paid like never before, and there's no end in sight. The cap will rise even higher in 2008, making it even more enticing for all available free agents to test the waters.
I'm sure Porter and his family will be able to feed themselves and maybe even go on vacation no matter the size of the deal he receives, so here's hoping he doesn't get offered much. Perhaps then, some of our more valuable assets may be less emboldened to test the open-market in 2008 and beyond.