Market for pass rushers ends up being a disappointment

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Sometimes, we get so caught up in the avalanche of free-agency developments that the implications aren’t immediately obvious.

For pass rushers in this year’s class, one this is becoming clear:  The market blows.

It started with linebacker Paul Kruger’s deal.  Though he has every reason to be happy with a five-year, $40 million contract, the average is only $8 million per year.  For the first guy out of the gates, that’s a low average.

The dynamic has continued into Wednesday, with defensive end Cliff Avril’s surprising two-year, $15 million contract.  That’s an average of $7.5 million.

That said, Avril got $11 million guaranteed and he gets another crack at the market in 2015, when there’s a chance the new TV deals will cause a spike (or at least a more significant “smoothing”) of the cap.  He’ll be only 28 at the time.

And with a stifling secondary in Seattle, Avril will have plenty of chances to rack up major sack numbers.

Either way, he will have earned $25.6 million over three years — and it’s not entirely clear that the Lions were offering a firm $30 million over three in 2012.

For other pass rushers who remain on the market, the news isn’t nearly good.  Many are on the wrong side of 30, and the high end of the market is at $7.5 million to $8 million.  As time passes and players get antsy, the prices will drop.

It’s yet another unintended consequence of free agency in the modern NFL.  The players desperately wanted the ability to change teams, and now there are so many of them trying to change teams that very few can get paid the kind of money they want.

30 responses to “Market for pass rushers ends up being a disappointment

  1. No wonder Harrison’s phone AINT ringin! Kruger set the bar with 8m a year and he’s not even the best of the bunch

  2. Vikings need to restructure Jared Allen’s contract in a big way. $14.5m salary this year ($17m cap hit) for a guy on the wrong side of 30.

  3. With the salary cap not going up much, and the new rookie contracts becoming such a bargain, the age of big free-agency deals is coming to an end. This year is the first sign of it.

    Plus, more and more GMs are seeing the light that big free-agency deals often don’t work out.

    If it wasn’t for one or two teams that still have some big salary cap $$ to spend (Miami being the biggest), this free agency would be a total flop from a player’s perspective.

  4. Cliff Avril pickup was a good one for Seattle, dude had like 40 sacks in 5 years in Detroit. How ya gonna let that go!!! Seattle has made good moves…. from a bills fan

  5. First guy to sign isn’t always the most valuable. Kruger’s not worth what he’s getting (can’t play the run AT ALL) and there aren’t any big name pass rushers who aren’t past their prime.

  6. James harrison turned down an opportunity to make 6.5 mil with the steelers, and the biggest contract to a pass rusher has been 8 mil a year to date? Looks like hes gonna lose the bet on himself.

  7. All the hype and bull from Di Smith and the Players negotiators from the last CBA –> the Players are just seeing how they got screwed. Goodell is stronger than ever, and the Owners have really manipulated the Salary Cap in their favor. What a joke; a terrible joke on the Players. They got what they deserved.
    10 more years!!!!

  8. Come back to nyg big chief. We miss you already. Hang for another 3 yrs, get your 10 sacks/4 strip fumbles per, grab another ring and retire as a beloved life long giant like your former brethren before ye.

  9. Yeah, you better love them sacks he’s getting because you’re gonna be pissed when he runs right by the RB and or gets denied at the line. He wants to much money for being a young pass rusher and he obviously didnt wanna be here anymore..

  10. It’s called scheme diversity!!!

    Not all 4-3 and 3-4 defenses are the same and so that’s why there’s no splash.

    All the 9-technique guys were worse elsewhere and Mario Williams underachieved despite 10.5 sacks. Why take huge gambles when fits at the right prices are better for teams?

  11. Relatively speaking, Avril didn’t lose out on too much money. Yes he turned down 30mil over 3 years but he played last season under the 10+ mil franchise tag and gets $15mil these next two seasons. He most likely would have faced a restructure or be cut in year 3. So he may end up making what he was initially going and playing on a much better team.

  12. This reeks of collusion and it illuminates the mistake D. Smith and the NFLPA made in hastily signing the CBA two years ago. The players can’t lament this result because they signed the deal. The face of the players, Drew Brees, got his deal because of the position he plays, but it seems as though everyone else is getting screwed. Qb’s rule the $. The salary cap remaining stagnant is a joke as well, the owners made out like fat cats.

  13. I don’t think the CB demand is soft, there’s just a glut of available CBs. Also, the draft is rich in linemen this year. Add to that the egos of some of the players such as Osi who thinks he’ll be DPOY and I think a lot of the problem is the price tags are unrealistic.

    I don’t see a lot of collusion. Elway certainly doesn’t seem to be colluding with Kraft and no one appears to be colluding with the Ravens.

  14. Its all about the money now. What ever happened to commitment, loyalty, integrity and the love of the game? Its a joke watching the FA feeding frenzie over the MONEY!

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