NFL: Are Long-Term Deals Worth It?

John LewisSenior Writer IMarch 3, 2008

There were two big signings today, although re-signings, one getting a long-term deal and one getting a three-year deal.  Ben Roethlisberger received an eight-year deal and Randy Moss signed for three years. 

That begs the question, are long term deals worth it anymore?  Is Roethlisberger going to be in Pittsburgh for eight more years, he's 26-years-old now? 

But what most fans don't pay attention to is the amount of money guaranteed.  NFL contracts always have that other number next to the big number, what is actually guaranteed which means that a team can lock up a player for a long time but not have to pay out all that money in the end.

Roethlisberger signed for $102 million, but only $36 million of that is guaranteed and he gets an immediate $25 million signing bonus.  What this says to me is that the Steelers don't have any intention of paying Big Ben the entire package.

Smart, you bet!  Another example of this would be the New York Jets signing of 31-year-old guard Alan Fanaca to a five-year $40 million contract, which guarantees $21 million.

It's just one way NFL teams get a great free agent to sign, and if things don't work out a few years later, the team can get out of the contract relatively unscathed.