Well, veteran running backs officially are the new kickers.
The three-year deal recently signed by Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has a base value, according to a league source, of $9 million. Making it worth $3 million per year.
And matching the annual average of the contracts signed last year by Panthers kicker Olindo Mare and Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell.
It doesn’t make it a bad deal for GreenEllis. It’s arguably the best deal of any of the veteran running back contracts signed since free agency opened. He’ll get $4 million in the first year, he can make another $1.6 million via mostly reasonable triggers, and (unlike Michael Bush and his $3.5 million annual average) GreenEllis won’t be backing up Matt Forte.
And so with Bush getting $3.5 million per year from the Bears and GreenEllis getting $3 million per year and Peyton Hillis getting $2.6 million on a one-year deal in Kansas City, and Mike Tolbert averaging $2.5 million over four with the Panthers, the guys who run with the football may have been better off if they’d learned to kick it.
Just ask Phil Dawson. The 37-year-old Browns kicker will make $3.8 million in 2012.