Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne and defensive end Robert Mathis are sitting out mandatory minicamp due to displeasure with their contracts. Both players have two years left on their current deals.
Defensive end Robert Mathis is also staying away because he’s unhappy with his contract. Safety Antoine Bethea, who is an unsigned restricted free agent, continued his offseason absence by not attending. (Bethea is not required to be there, and cannot be fined.)
Mathis is in the area and participated in a charity event Thursday night, so the absence is clearly contract related. Wayne and Mathis both have two years left on their respective deals and have to understand they won’t get paid until Peyton Manning does.
The Patriots have announced the signing of seventh-round pick Thomas Welch, an offensive lineman out of Vanderbilt.
Conner is viewed as the heir apparent to 38-year-old Tony Richardson in New York.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Bucs have signed rookie wide receiver Mike Williams to a four-year contract.
Adam Caplan of Scout.com reports that the Eagles have come to terms with seventh-round picks Jamar Chaney and Jeff Owens.
Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network reports that the Seahawks have signed fifth-round safety Kam Chancellor.
In a subscriber-only piece for ESPN Insider last Friday, Len Pasquarelli indicated that contract talks between unsigned restricted free agent Pierre Thomas and the Saints had broken down.
It’s refreshing to hear pro athletes focusing on their performance before pay, much as Cowboys receiver Miles Austin recently indicated he would do instead of holding out for a new contract.
A.J. hired Houston-based agent Kennard McGuire, according to Houston-based reporter John McClain. Texans G.M. Rick Smith was scheduled to meet with Johnson’s uncle Andre Melton Friday to talk contract.
It’s unclear if this news prevented that meeting from happening or the meeting resulted in Johnson finally getting outside help.
Either way, it’s a good thing for Johnson long-term. ESPN’s Michael Smith points out to us on Twitter that Smith and McGuire have a “very friendly” relationship.
We don’t know if Johnson can squeeze any money out of the Texans right now, but this greatly helps his chances.
The Broncos signed the first of their nine draft picks on Friday, inking seventh-rounder Syd’Quan Thompson, a cornerback from Cal.
The folks at NFL.com called Thompson one of the most physical cornerbacks in the draft.
We are going to defer to their knowledge on this one, because we don’t really know much more about him. The first-team all Pac-10 player started every game possible during his four year college career, a school record of 52 starts.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears have signed seventh-round pick J’Marcus Webb to a four-year contract.
After linebacker Patrick Willis signed a five-year, $50 million extension with the 49ers, coach Mike Singletary proclaimed that the three-year veteran “may go down as one of the best” to play the position.
So why isn’t Willis being paid better than any of the men who currently play the position?
After details as to the Willis deal were reported, several league insiders expressed surprise regarding the fact that the contract fails to set a new high-water mark for linebackers. Some believed that Willis ultimately would be paid not as the best linebacker in the game, but as the best defensive player in the game, regardless of position.
It didn’t happen. Our goal in this regard isn’t to trash the deal or praise the contract, but to set forth both sides of the story, because we think each side has some appeal.
The naysayers point out that, when it comes to cash paid out after the first three and four years, Willis lags behind three other linebackers: Karlos Dansby, Bart Scott, and DeMeco Ryans. Though the gap based on three and four years isn’t huge, the objectively undeniable fact that Willis is better than any of the others makes the objectively undeniable fact that he didn’t get more than each of them glaring.
“Willis is the next Ray Lewis,” one league source said. “This is like the contract Ray Lewis signed in 2003. It isn’t much better.”
But there’s an important difference to keep in mind. Dansby got his deal as an unrestricted free agent, after six years in the league and two under the franchise tag. Scott received his contract as a unrestricted free agent. Ryans was a restricted free agent, but the fact that he had no contract allowed him to be paid without regard to the 30-percent rule.
Willis had two years left on his rookie deal. Apart from the complications presented by the 30 percent rule, Willis was saddled with the risk — for 32 regular-season games, eight preseason games, many offseason, preseason, and in-season practices, and up to eight postseason games — of a serious injury that would have dramatically harmed his market value. So he instead inked a deal after only three seasons and at age 25 that will pay him nearly $30 million over four years.
Could he have gotten more if he’d played for roughly $800,000 in 2010 and $2.5 million in 2011 and (most likely) the franchise tender in 2012 (and possibly 2013)? Sure. But at some point in the next two, three, or four years, he also could have gotten seriously hurt — and thus never received the kind of monster payday that sets him and at least a generation after him up for life, especially if he invests the money conservatively and doesn’t spend lavishly or recklessly.
So while other agents may regret that Willis didn’t blow out the market, since it would have helped other players get more money, the fact remains that Willis had to make the best decision for himself and his family. Under the specific circumstances that he faced, we probably would have made the same choice.
Jay Glazer of FOX reports that Willis has agreed to terms on a five-year, $50 million extension. (It’s probably not a coincidence that Glazer and Randy Couture helped get Willis ready for the 2009 season with MMA training.)
His rookie deal runs through 2011. The new deal puts him under contract through 2016.
It’s not yet clear how the 49ers navigated the 30-percent rule, which applies to all renegotiations signed in the uncapped year. Per NFLPA records, Willis was due to earn a base salary of $760,000 in 2010, and $2.75 million next year.
We’ll break it all down once we get our hands on the contract.