Shea Weber: Nashville Predators Had to Match Irrational 14-Year Contract
According to the team's official Twitter account, the captain will be back for the next 14 seasons:
There is absolutely no way that Weber will play at a level remotely near a $110 million deal for the entirety of this contract, but it was something that the Predators had to do.
If the organization declined to match the front-loaded offer, that will pay Weber $27 million by the time the defenseman's second $13 million bonus of the year is handed over on July 1, 2013 (via CBS Sports' Brian Stubits), that would mark the second star that bolted out of Nashville for greener pastures this offseason.
Even with the retention of Weber, Nashville is going to have a tough time filling the void left by the departed Suter. However, the organization has now proved to its fanbase that it is not afraid or reluctant to spend money on a player that matters.
Whether Weber is happy with the Predators matching the contract remains to be seen. Would he have agreed to an offer sheet with a different team if he didn't want to play in a bigger market with more tradition? That is for the Predators and hockey fans to ponder.
The Predators are a defense-first team, and there would be no chance of matching last season's 104-point campaign if head coach Barry Trotz lost the second of his top-two defenders.
By re-signing Weber, the Preds saved their power-play attack. The 26-year-old former second-round pick has racked up 46 power-play goals in seven seasons, including 10 last year en route to helping his team compile the best power-play percentage in the NHL.
Did the Predators make a mistake by matching the offer?
If nothing else, general manager David Poile and the rest of the front office saved face by keeping a fan-favorite in town. The organization was able to keep some grit on the ice, as well as hang on to one of its leaders.
No athlete in any professional sport should receive a 14-year deal with the amount of turnover we see on a year-to-year basis, but there are exceptions to the rule.
The Nashville Predators matching the offer sheet for Shea Weber was one of those exceptions.
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