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Derek Wolfe has to be waking up this morning feeling bad

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

When they’re preparing to negotiate a contract, players often have to balance short-term security against the potential for a bigger payoff if they’re willing to incur some risk.

So as Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson prepares to bathe in the reported six-year, $90 million deal with $42 million guaranteed with the Jaguars, one of the guys he left behind has to wonder why.

In January, the Broncos gave defensive end Derek Wolfe a four-year extension worth $36.75 million, with $17.5 million guaranteed.

That’s a pretty big difference, in case you’re not as good at math as I am.

Part of it comes from security, as Wolfe reportedly wanted a deal done before the playoffs started. But Jackson also took advantage of a bump in the salary cap, and a handful of teams with the need to spend big. With the Jaguars one of the teams needing to get to the CBA-mandated 89-percent cash spend floor, they were going to do a big deal with someone.

But, for lack of a better phrase, the Broncos took advantage of a guy who wanted to stay put.

“Last night I called my agents and the deal was already on the table and I said, ‘Look, let’s just take this deal,’” Wolfe said of the contract, at the time he signed, via the Denver Post. “‘I don’t want to leave. I love this city, I love the them, I love the organization, the coaches, my teammates and everything, so I couldn’t be happier. I’m in a place that I love to be, so why would I leave?”

And while there’s no reason to shed a tear for Wolfe — he’s still rich, lives in a beautiful city, and is a key part of the best defense in football — it’s hard not to wonder if he’s looking at today’s headlines and thinking “what might have been,” because what he might have been is much, much richer if he’d waited a few months.

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39 Responses to “Derek Wolfe has to be waking up this morning feeling bad”
  1. bloggingainteazzy says: Mar 9, 2016 6:39 AM

    Was the best defense lol

  2. whooligun says: Mar 9, 2016 6:42 AM

    Poor guy….only $36 million? How is he going to feed his kids?

  3. 6ball says: Mar 9, 2016 6:56 AM

    What a tool. He signs a contract 2 games before free agency. At least he could have tested the waters and see what the market would bear before returning to Denver. Players do that all the time.

    It’s nice, however, to know that ” the stuttering lawyer” from My Cousin Vinny found work as Wolfe’s agent.

  4. ausernamethatisavailable says: Mar 9, 2016 7:08 AM

    Growing up I was always told if you are healthy and happy you are rich. I get the point trying to be made here but I gotta believe having $36 million playing for the Broncos might be happier than $90 million playing for the jags.

  5. starrfavrerodgers says: Mar 9, 2016 7:19 AM

    Glad the Packers were able to lock up Mike Daniels in a similar fashion.

    Andrew Brandt was a guest on a local radio show here, and had some criticism of the way the Broncos managed their contracts. Going into this offseason you had Osweiller set to be a free agent at the same time you knew you had a big decision to make on Manning, and you had Jackson, Wolfe, Von Miller and others also slated for free agency the same offseason. His main criticism is you have to try to approach guys earlier and stagger their contracts so you don’t have so many hitting the market at the same time.

  6. uknepatsfan says: Mar 9, 2016 7:20 AM

    Wolfe wanted to stay in Denver and fair play to him too.

    Not every player wants to take the best offer on the table later on, especially if it means going to some crappy team and wasting away for 4 years.

    If I was Wolfe and I was happy in Denver, my wife and kids were settled there and I could get a deal I was comfortable with, even though I knew I’d probably make more waiting for free agency with no guarantees that Denver would be able to afford me then, I’d probably have done the same as him.

    I respect the dude for just wanting to stay with his team and getting a deal done. Good for you, sir.

  7. ravenousravenousrhinos says: Mar 9, 2016 7:25 AM

    Believe it or not, there is more to life than money. So my bet is he’s feeling just fine.

  8. tonebones says: Mar 9, 2016 7:28 AM

    A few months ago Wolfe felt like a person who had just won the lottery. He was financially set for life. Now he and his family could do anything they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. He was as happy as anyone could be. And he knows he’ll probably have a good shot at winning another lottery some day. He’s only 26. Then along comes one of his buddies and wins an even bigger lottery. Wolfe is already as happy as he could be, now he’s happy for his buddy. This morning he wakes up happier than ever since he knows that money is the last thing he’ll ever have to think about. Then he pauses for a moment as he wonders if he’s not dreaming. If that’s “feeling bad”, everyone wants to feel that bad.

  9. razwan65 says: Mar 9, 2016 7:30 AM

    so the guy gets 17 mil to take care of his family, while Jackson get 42 mil (guaranteed). That is horrible….a true travesty….at what point is it enough, and not about ego? I know that Wolfe is complaining, but, jeez…….

  10. captainwhodat says: Mar 9, 2016 7:36 AM

    time will tell which team (Jaguars, Broncos) made the better deal…history tells us that the off-season deals do not dictate who wins championships, the play on the field does…

  11. dmvdmv101560 says: Mar 9, 2016 7:37 AM

    I’d still rather be in Wolfe’s position – he knows that his team will be a perennial playoff contender. Jackson was in it only for the money – which is fine – but he’ll be watching the playoffs every year of his contract from his living room couch!

  12. jgedgar70 says: Mar 9, 2016 7:38 AM

    I’m sure he had a moment where he thought, “Wow, I left a lot of money out there,” but I doubt he feels bad. He’s not the first person to take less money to be where he wants to be.

    Now, when the team drops to 9-7 and misses the playoffs because they have no QB and have suffered other free agent losses, then he’s going to feel bad.

  13. razzlejag says: Mar 9, 2016 7:43 AM

    Well…if you love the them….

  14. therealraider says: Mar 9, 2016 7:45 AM

    Moral of the day. Make your way to the open market before you sign anything.

  15. 2manyconcussions says: Mar 9, 2016 7:53 AM

    The thing about these big contracts is they are not guaranteed anyway. The reality is that most end up getting renegotiated down in the out-years, or the teams are forced to cut good players to avoid paying them what they are not worth.

  16. weepingjebus says: Mar 9, 2016 7:56 AM

    Plus with the Broncos we all know you have to add another 50 percent for under the table benefits.

  17. joker65 says: Mar 9, 2016 8:07 AM

    Saying they took advantage of him ? The guy is averaging 9 million a year. That’s pretty good cabbage.

  18. thesmartest1 says: Mar 9, 2016 8:09 AM

    Mo money mo problems. While he may feel bad, he’ll be fine.

  19. snowdood163 says: Mar 9, 2016 8:14 AM

    Can we stop with the player greed already???? How about we give players like d Wolfe credit for not being a d bag? I think it’s awesome when a player realizes that he’ll be rich even if he doesn’t try to milk a team for all he can. Good on you, D Wolfe, for realizing that it’s not ALL about the money.

  20. leroysbutler says: Mar 9, 2016 8:15 AM

    How much is too much. Kudos to Wolfe. What’s the price of happiness?

    Apparently $24.5M guaranteed.

  21. cantfakethefunk says: Mar 9, 2016 8:15 AM

    He’ll be fine. The Broncos probably promised to feed him a bunch of money under the table anyways, thus circumventing the salary cap.

  22. getyourownname says: Mar 9, 2016 8:22 AM

    Nobody took advantage of him. He was offered what they were willing to pay under the circumstances. There is a value to not being uprooted, and to not having to deal with a new team and system, which he recognized. If the team had felt an acuter need, they would have offered him more to keep him, but I doubt you would then have said he took advantage of the team.

  23. reddzen says: Mar 9, 2016 8:24 AM

    razwan65 says:
    Mar 9, 2016 7:30 AM
    so the guy gets 17 mil to take care of his family, while Jackson get 42 mil (guaranteed). That is horrible….a true travesty….at what point is it enough, and not about ego? I know that Wolfe is complaining, but, jeez…….

    —-Wolfe isn’t complaining. This article doesn’t quote him one time. DG is speculating. Guy said he wanted security and stay in Denver. Pretty sure he isn’t grousing.

  24. TacomaHawk says: Mar 9, 2016 8:32 AM

    Mo money, Mo problems

  25. anpsteel says: Mar 9, 2016 8:36 AM

    Well, the real difference is likely the $40 mil guaranteed vs the $36 mil lifetime.

    Because, baring injury, Wolfe will see that reasonable contract through fruition.

    No way does Jackson get that $90 mil. After 4 season, that deal is going to get renegotiated. Maybe sooner.

    Net net: over the 4 seasons, Jackson will make apx $4mil more than Wolfe.

  26. gotitan says: Mar 9, 2016 8:40 AM

    @captainwhodat says:
    Mar 9, 2016 7:36 AM

    time will tell which team (Jaguars, Broncos) made the better deal…history tells us that the off-season deals do not dictate who wins championships, the play on the field does…
    While that may be a fair argument, the fact is that last season’s Bronco team had 7 of their 9 highest players added via free agency. Including that QB that DeAngelo Williams called garbage.

  27. ( . Y . ) says: Mar 9, 2016 8:45 AM

    I have no problem with Wolfe’s situation, the deal he made, the reasons he made the deal, etc.

    And I appreciate the comments above expressing similar sentiments. But its hilarious that Wolfe takes a “team friendly” deal because he has no interest in going anywhere else, and Broncos fans in unison support him as some kind of hero. Meanwhile, Tom Brady takes a team friendly deal, leaving millions on the table, because its not just about money, and he is immediately accused of taking money from Kraft on the side through his other business ventures… Classic PFT comments

  28. intrafinesse says: Mar 9, 2016 8:59 AM

    If you make 36.75MM, you are set for life, and your grand kids are taken care of. And also your great grand kids if the money is invested not blown.
    If you can play for a team you like playing for, thats well run, and you like where you live, and your friends are there – how much happier will you be with an extra 10-15MM on top of the 37MM playing for a terrible team, living somewhere you don’t like, and being away from your friends.

    If the choice was play in Denver for 2MM or play somewhere you dont like for 4MM, ok , take the 4MM.
    But once you have 37MM, you have FU money. You can do what you enjoy.

  29. johnniemayes says: Mar 9, 2016 9:26 AM

    We love you too Wolfe! In my mind, if I were ever a pro athlete I’d do it the same way. It’s not about the money after you’re making 10s of millions. I’d rather take $24 million less and be in a place I want to play and live. What am I going to do with $42 million that I can’t do with $18 million?

  30. NYCTourGuy (Bucs fan) says: Mar 9, 2016 9:28 AM

    Don’t forget that how high your salary is, is what makes you more likely to be a “cap casualty” two years later. Most players never see the entirety of their contracts.

    Also, the Jags WAY overpaid. Jackson is no Von Miller.

  31. dac458 says: Mar 9, 2016 9:39 AM

    Let’s not forget the guy was caught taking PEDs last year and had an4 game suspension and benefited out of it with an new contract. I’d say he did just fine knowing a second offense and Denver probably moves on.

    Denver will now extend two of their top defensive guys caught taking PEDs right after Miller takes off his dancing shoes.

  32. coopsxx says: Mar 9, 2016 9:45 AM

    Maybe these guys shouldn’t be so greedy…

    I am sure Julius Thomas would have stayed at Denver (and still earned well!) if he knew he was getting a ring…

    If they are smart they will all retire rich, why waste a short career playing for a team that (historically) never wins.

  33. Suedevanshoe says: Mar 9, 2016 10:38 AM

    THIS is what SMART teams AND smart players do.

    Sure, I understand the need for this article and that is a big difference in money for two similar players. Yeah, for all of us struggling to pay a mortgage it seems like a lot regardless if it’s 36 mil or 90.

    But smart teams look for value, and this could be going down as a huge win for the Broncos if Wolfe has four years left at the level he’s played the last two.

  34. In Teddy We Trust says: Mar 9, 2016 10:52 AM

    [Sung to the tune of “I’m Into Something Good” by Herman’s Hermits]

    Woke up this morning feeling bad
    I have the feeling that I’ve been had
    Last night my friend signed a deal with Jacksonville, oh yeah
    Something tells me I missed out on $24 mil.

  35. chriskap11 says: Mar 9, 2016 11:09 AM

    Totally agree with the majority of posts regarding Wolfe. If you ever met him you would see his high caliber of play is only complimented by his awesome personality and character.

    Probably won’t see him in the media acting like a jackass rather you’ll see him doing charity and other classy acts.

    Wish you a great career thanks for being a great person

  36. surfinbird1 says: Mar 9, 2016 1:44 PM

    Playing for a contender, making millions and you can walk into a store and buy pot legally. God, I can only dream.

  37. icebowler says: Mar 9, 2016 9:26 PM

    If they had both torn an ACL or busted an Achilles in the playoffs, which one would be better off now?

  38. Seprix says: Mar 9, 2016 10:56 PM

    Geez, wish I got 36 million..

  39. zibet says: Mar 11, 2016 6:27 PM

    on the surface yes, but one is a six year and one is a four year. Wolfe will probably play the whole deal therefore getting close to $40 million also and then probably get re-upped by the Broncos or at least another good team based on his Broncos pedigree. Jackson will play three years and get cut as the losing breaks his love of the game. or at least thats what happens to most guys that sign with awful teams for the absolute max dollar

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