We are just three days into the NFL’s high-end version of a swap meet, but it is already clear that some teams have money to burn and are burning it as quick as they can. It will, of course, be months before we can determine the real winners and losers from these last few days, but here are some of the players and teams that seem to have done well and others that have not fared as well so far.
Smiling All The Way To The Bank
Charles Johnson and DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – Typically one of the stingier teams in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers whipped out the check book to retain two of their top veterans.
Johnson, who is coming off an 11.5 sack season in 2010, was one of the more sought-after players in free agency, but the Panthers didn’t give him any chance to get away as they agreed to a six-year $72 million contract (with #32 million guaranteed) the first day they could talk.
Though he was limited to just six games and 361 yards rushing in 2010, the Panthers agreed to a five-year, $43 million contract ($21 million guaranteed) with Williams. If he is healthy, it is a great move because it gives the Panthers one of the better one-two punches in the league with Williams (1,515 yards rushing in 2008, 1,117 in 2009) and Jonathan Stewart (1,133 yards in 2009, 770 yards in 2010).
Sidney Rice – Seattle Seahawks – Like Williams, Sidney Rice missed much of the 2010 season due to injury and is now being rewarded with a huge contract (five-years for $41 million with $18 million guaranteed). If he is able to repeat the success he had with Minnesota in 2009 (83 catches, 1,312 yards), then the signing will be a good one for Seattle. However, given that in his other three NFL seasons Rice has only 63 catches for 817 yards, you have to wonder at least a little if his success was a result of playing with Brett Favre at the top of his game as much as it was Rice’s ability to be a long-term superstar.
Santonio Holmes – New York Jets – It seems to be a trend that players who didn’t play a full season in 2010 are receiving huge contracts to start 2011. However, unlike Williams and Rice, Santonio Holmes missed four games in 2010 not because of injuries, but because of off the field issues. The New York Jets obviously aren’t concerned about the past as they inked Holmes to a five-year, $50 million contract even though according to the NFL’s conduct policy he is one-strike away from missing an entire season. In just 12 games last season he caught 52 passes for 746 yards and six touchdowns and in 16 games in 2009 had 79 catches for 1,248 yards and 5 touchdowns while with Pittsburgh. Read the rest of this entry →