To Sign or Not to Sign Is the Million Dollar Question

Bill KaoContributor IApril 21, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - 2007:  Joe Banner of the Philadelphia Eagles poses for his 2007 NFL headshot at photo day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Getty Images)

Let's dream for a minute and pretend I was just drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles or some other NFL team in the third round.  The first year, I get on the field as a special teams player.  I do a great job with my special teams coverage.  I have a good rookie season and I even got paid $300,000 for my first year.

Year two: I am third on the depth chart at the beginning of training camp and by the end of summer camps, I am starting at left corner due to numerous injuries.  My first nine games, I have 45 tackles, two sacks and three INT's.  After week 12, I get a call from my agent to tell me the Eagles would like to offer me a seven year $21 million dollar contract to lock me up long term.  I am 21-years-old and a NFL team wants to lock me up for seven years and pay me $3 million dollars per year to play football.  What do I do?

Year six: I have just made my third first team All Pro as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL.  I am one of the best football players in the NFL yet there is one problem.  I am not paid like one of the best football players in the NFL.  Why, because I signed a dumb contract back when I was 21-years-old and I am now locked up until my seventh year.

This is a common scenario we are witnessing in the NFL.  Teams are willing to risk a long term, cheap contract on a first or second year player that shows some promise just to lock them up for good.  It makes sense for both parties.  A team is taking a risk with locking a young player to a long term contract and a young player is getting financial freedom with a long term contract.

To all the NFL players that sign those stupid contracts, HONOR YOUR CONTRACT...If you were dumb enough to sign those contracts early on in your careers, make sure you play out your contract.