Report: Devin Hester wants $4 million a year

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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.

105 responses to “Report: Devin Hester wants $4 million a year

  1. Um…wow. Has anyone told him that 32 year old returners are maybe a touch slower than 21 year olds? Good luck.

  2. Been a Hester fan since he was at Miami. I hope he saved his money though. Kick returners are being phased out of the game at a rapid pace.

  3. Hester you do know the competition committee moved the ball 5 yards closer limiting KR chances?

    2011 was his last year for KR TD. I think he will remain unemployed if 4 million is his asking price.

  4. He’s crazy! In a league that is doing away with his position you do not demand more money than runing backs that handle the ball 20-30 times a game get. Just another case of a player way over estimating his egotistical worth.

  5. Considering the NFL is trying to limit KR, is he really worth $4M? I understand there are other components of the game, I.e. PR, Returning long FG attempts but let’s face it, I think he is past his prime. He was a utility WR3 at best in his career with Bears.

  6. He can want it all he wants, but he won’t get it. No team will fork over that kind of cash for a one dimensional player. Once he realizes that, his asking price will go way down.

  7. Hed be lucky to get on a roster this season. I think it is BS that he has that many teams interested in him.

    He should pay them to take up a roster spot, because he cant play CB or WR. What a joke. He was the recipient of outstanding ST in Chicago. Nothing more. Retire bro.

  8. Do players and agents not understand the market? There are 32 teams that can compete for Hester’s services. Traditionally, absent a slot opening up for a quarterback due to injury, the market price goes down the longer we get into the free agency period because teams fill their needs, utilize their cap space or see the remaining pool of players as having less value. Agents think they can manipulate teams into believing a higher priced market exists for their client’s services than really exists (and there are some dumb organizations). Best to match your client with a short list of teams that he is willing to play that have both the ability and intent to sign him. Ask for a best and final offer and counter the best one with “reasonable” requests to make it work for both sides. Hester is not getting $4MM.

  9. This is probably why he hasn’t been signed in Tampa yet. He was all about it before, but I can tell you Tampa’s not paying 4/year for a good punt returner and a so-so wide-out.

  10. That price would be worth it for teams like the Steelers or Jets that get scored on a ton and hence have to field a lot of punt returns.

  11. This guy’s always been pretty delusional. He wanted to get paid more so he demanded to become a WR. The problem is, he wasn’t disciplined/ smart enough to learn how to run precise routes and work with QBs on timing or learn how to block. He’s best in the chaos of returns where he can run on instinct, not the precise timing of passing offenses.

  12. I’ve hated Hester just because he was a dirty rotten Bear, but think about this. Perhaps he figures that he’s already got enough money and that he’s just not willing to take the punishment that goes with the job for less than his asking price.

    Maybe he’s not saying “this is what I’m worth.” Maybe he’s saying “this is what it will take to make me take that beating.”

  13. Let’s see, he can’t play the receiver position and far and away most kickoffs are booted out of the end zone so the return man is pretty much useless. That sounds about right $4000.00 a year-whoa what $4 million-kinda outta hand!!!

  14. This is where the loyalty is Mr. Urlacher. The almighty dollar. Hester is doing the same thing you did and if he doesn’t cave will also be out of football.

  15. As a kick returner at 32 he is a step slow, as a reciever— cant’t catch, can’t block, cant’t run routes. I am thing he is not worth the veterans minimum. Devin you had a great ride!!!

  16. ariani1985 says:
    Mar 19, 2014 10:47 AM
    “Yeah, and I want the Packers to not be the laughing stock of the league when it comes to defense. Not gonna happen.”
    ——————————–
    Your team’s defense got lit up by the browns (@ the metrodome) and was a far bigger joke than our defense which was wiped out with injuries.

  17. U will be lucky to return 40-50 kicks a year.. also he hasnt returned for a td since 2011.. get real dude.. if u maybe had some receiver or corner skills u would be able to ask for that

  18. Breaking news report: Dan Snyder countered with a “take it or leave it” offer of $6 million per year.

  19. The kick returner position is becoming obselete with the changing of the kickoff distance. Hester has been the best of the best for a long time, but, this is a BUSINESS. Any team that would pay $4 million to a player because of his name and past accolades deserves to be OUT OF BUSINESS!

  20. Hester is like the circus lion that only jumps through hoops of fire when the circus is actively diminishing the use of fire in shows until it is illegal.

  21. Before I saw this article I never thought he would get more than vet minimum… actually I still think that. It’s quite possible he’s a camp body and never steps foot on the field in 2014.

  22. Nothing wrong with asking. When Selling something (he is selling himself) start high and negotiate downward. If buying, start low and negotiate up. If you sell a car and advertise $1000, you sure as hell ain’t gonna get $10000 out of it.

  23. I spit up when I read this….and he won’t join Urlacher at FOX, he can’t put a sentence together….wait, you don’t have to be able to talk at FOX Sports, just say stupid things!!

  24. Twice now the Bears have stopped negotiating with guys because they want more than they are willing to pay. One of those players found out last year that no one would pay him what he wants. Hester is going to find that out this year as well. I suspect he retires or rejoins the bears for about 1M a season.

  25. Considering Jacoby Jones who is 3 years younger, has been a better KR than Hester in the past 2 years AND is a much much better #3 receiver option, just got a 4 year $12M deal ($3M per year for those mathematically challenged)? I struggle to see where he gets his perceived value from.

  26. Even if he retires and gets a prime tv gig in the booth (if he was a hall of fame qb) he is getting 2 mill but if it’s nfl network apparently 500k is more standard. After ten years it’s over though.

  27. The only way he gets half of that is if a team decides to ignore the results in Chicago and try him out at WR or DB again. As a 4th receiver and great return man he could get maybe $2mm

  28. Maybe, just maybe he could get close to this kind of money IF the NFL did not change the kickoff rules. Now that only a few kicks AR returned his ability to impact the game was reduced greatly, and sadly for him, his earning potential. No wonder the Bears didn’t sign him, they would be crazy to pay even close to that kind of money.

  29. “oakmeals85 says:
    Mar 19, 2014 11:28 AM
    Come to the Raiders for 3yrs $9 million, $2.5 million of that guarenteed and continue to prosper Fam.”

    ‘Oakland’ and ‘prosper’ have never been synonymous, at least in my lifetime, fam…

  30. Cordarrelle Patterson-the best KR in the league-but can also catch, is only 22, but is on a rookie deal.

    No way Hester is paid more than CP, since Hester can’t catch, and he hasn’t returned one to the house in 3 years.

    Good luck with that, Devin.

  31. Back in 2008 when Hester signed a 4 year 22 Mil deal, MDS posted an article on AOL Fanhouse and tried to give me the business in the comments when I said it was a bad deal for the Bears – which it was. Now Hester wants less money and MDS is changing his tune and acting indignant that Hester could ask for so much. Keep tryin’ MDS!

  32. Dean Wormer says the chances of Hester getting $4 million per year are “zero…point…zero.”

  33. He is nuts. Aside from his age the recent rule changes have altered the role of a kick and punt returner. Plus most teams won’t keep a roster spot for a player to just return punts (since kickoff returns are almost extinct now). Hester needs to get real and get with a team before the draft.

  34. Hey Devin – come to Carolina. We need a punt returner, and your (lack of) wide receiver skills puts you about third on our depth chart. And the Bears are playing at Carolina this year. You just need to drop 1 zero off your request and you’ll have a new home…

  35. Hester feels that his value comes from his “ability” to play wide receiver and DB in addition to returning kicks. He doesn’t seem to realize that at both of those positions he’s a developmental player at best. It would be cheaper and easier to sign an UDFA at the rookie wage scale and let them float around the 50-53 roster spot as a returner while you develop them into a potential fifth receiver or back up dime DB.

    Reducing the asking price to $1 million a year, with half of that guaranteed and the rest in incentives will land him on a roster that is just desperate to have any talent or speed on it and protect their first or second string players that are currently doing the returning.

  36. I’m going to play devil’s advocate here a bit. Is it unrealistic for him to ask for $4 million to return kicks? Let’s look at why he would ask. If I’m a player of his caliber(and like it or not he is a caliber player) I look around and I see QBs getting guaranteed contracts for regular season performance and post season failure. I see WRs getting lofty contracts and the following year taking it easy on their routes. I see DTs getting huge contracts then complain about having to show up for training camp and taking plays off. So I think considering his career accomplishments, yes he is entitled to ASK for that much. But he’s crazy to think that a team is going to open their purse strings for the kinda money for a return man for those very same examples i listed. Not saying he’ll get lazy but if you’re a one trick pony, I’d be better off gambling on drafting an impact return guy for a fraction of that price that beating the farm on just returns.

  37. how about devin hester going to the 49ers for 1.5 million to play the slot and run streaks , deep posts , slants and drags. that will open up the field for veron , crabtree and boldin.. and of course to return punts and kickoffs. with our defence, devin will get alot of opportunitys to return a punt to the house. 49ers lack speed. devin hester could be bigtime in SF.

  38. Let’s say his opponent through scoring a bit resulting in a kickoff, and punting some…puts him on the field for what as little as 6 and as much as 10 plays a game? For 4 million dollars? That’s at the 10 play average, $25,000 a kick. Hope you saved your money Devin, you’ll be watching the NFL from your couch.

  39. Not going to happen. Devin Hester is a great player but his best days are behind him and he is on the wrong side of 30. He receiving skills did not pan out in Chicago so he is unlikely to get $4 million a year for return skills only. There is a reason why the Chicago Bears turned him loose. Beggars cannot be choosers. He will learn that.

  40. Heeee Heeee Haaaaaaaaaa……..(holding my stomach)…..Ahhhhhhhhhh….Ahhhhhhh…Four Million……FOUR MILLION DOLLARS………ahhhhhhh (now rolling on the floor)….Not even four million Yen…..Heeeee heeeee……..

  41. Hester will most likely have to accept a contract worth less then 2 mil a year. The only way he gets up to 4 mil a year is if it’s incentive based and he somehow manages to hit every incentive.

  42. Devin, Is Brian Urlacher your agent? I heard Brian told you that is a good starting point in contract negotiations, but you should definitely get no less than 3.5M…..Seriously, and people think the Bears have no Loyalty….. No, they finally have a competent front office that will not over pay for anyone, including Future HOF’ers…..Love you Phil!!!

  43. Hahaha, I hope Devin enjoys his early retirement. I’d be shocked if he gets over 1 mil. He doesn’t do anything other than return kicks and 2/3 of them are touchbacks.

  44. I really wanted him to come to the Falcons an play for us but for 4 million a year to return punts an kickoffs please him want be putting on this Red an Black or any other color no ones about to pay no old kick returner that type of money even if you are the best of all time that was then an this is now an sorry Hester but you ain’t worth that type of money!!!!!

  45. He will get more then holiday because he dont have fumble problems
    If u play field position football then he is key to ur team
    I have no problem with 3 yr 8 mill

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