Devin Hester is the best return man in NFL history. And he wants to get paid like it.
An NFL personnel evaluator whose team has discussed a deal for Hester tells Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com that Hester is seeking a contract that pays about $4 million a year.
If that’s true, it’s ridiculous. The closest comparison to Hester in free agency this year is former Broncos return man Trindon Holliday, who just shopped himself around the NFL and ended up signing a one-year, $700,000 contract with the Giants. The idea that Hester would get five or six times as much money as Holliday is crazy.
Look, Hester has every right to believe he’s worth a lot of money. Hester is the NFL’s all-time record holder in combined kick return touchdowns and punt return touchdowns, and if there’s ever been a player who could make a case for Hall of Fame candidacy based solely on returning kicks, it would be Hester. But NFL teams don’t pay you for what you’ve done in the past. They pay you for what you’re likely to do in the future. And although Hester is still playing well (he led the league in kickoff return yards last year), the fact that he will turn 32 next season means that his best work is behind him.
So Hester is either going to drop his asking price, or he’s going to be looking for a long time.