Willis McGahee bounced back in a major way for the Broncos in 2011 and he wants to get paid for it.
McGahee ran for 1,199 yards last season and wound up in the Pro Bowl, a pretty nice rebound from a 380-yard season as Ray Rice’s backup in 2010. The Broncos paid him $3 million for that production and they have him under contract for $2 million in 2012, pleasant numbers given how much some less productive running backs made last season. That’s probably why McGahee went to the team and asked for more money.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that the Broncos aren’t going to renegotiate a four-year deal after the first season, a stance which makes sense. McGahee got a nice contract after three years of declining results in Baltimore and the Broncos’ overall success running the ball makes it hard to argue that McGahee’s numbers were totally a product of his own ability. Once Tim Tebow took over at quarterback, Denver went heavy on the run and McGahee was the beneficiary of that decision.
That’s not to say that he didn’t play well, just that years have taught us a lot about the relative fungibility of running backs in the NFL and what happens to them when they turn 30. McGahee hit that age in October and he’ll need to show that he’s able to repeat this year’s success before he’ll have a compelling case for an adjustment to his contract. Klis reports McGahee has no plans to hold out so there shouldn’t be much more discussion on this front.