Shea Weber: Predators Must Match Flyers' 14-Year, $100 Million Offer Sheet
The Nashville Predators must match the 14-year offer sheet worth around $100 million that defenseman Shea Weber and the Philadelphia Flyers have agreed to because losing him would have a crippling effect on the franchise's short- and long-term health.
Darren Dreger of TSN broke the news Wednesday night.
Breaking: Shea Weber agrees to offer sheet with Philadelphia. 14 years, upwards of $100 mil. Preds have 7 days to match. Wow!!— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 19, 2012
UPDATE: Thursday, July 19 at 9:57 a.m. ET by Nicholas Goss
The financial terms of Weber's offer sheet from the Flyers have been revealed by Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.Ca.
As expected, the Flyers' offer is greatly impacted by large bonus figures. Weber would make only $1 million of salary for the first four years of the contract, but with a $13 million signing bonus in each of those seasons, he would make $56 million over the first four years.
The total worth of the contract is 14 years, $110 million. The question for the Predators is this: can we afford these bonuses, and if yes, is Weber worth that kind of money to our small-market franchise?
--End of Update--
There are a number of things for Nashville to consider while making its decision to match or not match Weber's offer sheet.
If Nashville doesn't choose to match, it would receive up to four first-round picks from the Flyers as compensation for losing Weber. The complete RFA compensation chart can be found here (via James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail).
For compensation, they divide 5 years (not 14) into total value (about $100M), which is why #Flyers wld have to give 4 first-rounders.— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) July 19, 2012
Also, if the offer sheet is front-loaded and/or contains a few years in which Weber's salary is astronomical, the Predators might not believe that matching is a good idea. Thus far, the full financial terms of the offer sheet have not been released.
Its going to be fascinating to see financial terms of Weber's offer sheet. Hearing in one calendar year, he could make $26 mil.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 19, 2012
Will the Predators match the offer sheet?
In all likelihood, the Flyers probably did all that was possible to make the contract as unappealing to the Predators financially in the first three to five years of the deal that they could. Giving Weber huge amounts of bonuses in addition to a high salary would be tough for the Predators to match, but it's a decision that has to be made. Nashville must think of the possible loss in revenues from ticket, merchandise and other sales that would occur if Weber left town.
Weber is everything to their franchise now that Ryan Suter is gone. He's their only star player, excluding goaltender Pekka Rinne. Nashville's only draw from a free-agent standpoint is that it has an elite defenseman in Weber and a top goalie in Rinne. Losing Weber would make the franchise an unattractive destination for future free agents to sign with.
The four first-round picks (or whatever picks they turn out to be) as compensation would be great, but when you consider that the Flyers, especially with Weber, will likely be picking at the end of the first round for the next decade, those picks aren't going to be very valuable.
Is Weber worth four first-rounders that are between picks 25-30? Absolutely not. He certainly isn't worth two late first-rounders, and late second- and third-round picks.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Giving anyone in the NHL a $100 million contract is a risk, but in the Predators' situation, it makes perfect sense to pay Weber that kind of money. They know what they have in Weber, an elite No. 1 defenseman who can dominate on a nightly basis who is only 27 years old. Every championship team has a No. 1 defenseman.
With Weber, do the Flyers win the East in 2012-13?
There is little risk for Nashville in this situation if it matches the offer sheet. It would be keeping one of the best players in the game for a decade. The money involved will be massive, but for a small market like Nashville to compete with the big spenders, you have to pay superstars what they are worth.
The financial aspect of the offer sheet could certainly make it difficult for the Predators to match, but the consequences of letting Weber leave the team would likely be far greater.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?