Matt Stafford has signed a deal to make him the highest paid player in NFL history.
That sentence has lost all meaning now though isn’t it? The highest paid accolade is simply the most recent QB to ink a new deal, and with a never ending conveyor belt of up-and-coming trigger men in the ultimate pass-happy generation of the league, the title of “highest paid player” is set to change hands like a dollar bill.
But here’s the thing for me, the (still) ongoing Redskins-Cousins tug of war set my expectations here, and it set them rather wide of the mark.
The franchise tag misnomer
Kirk and his agent had me believe they had broken ground and discovered the new standard for winning the game of one-upmanship between player and team: accept the franchise tag, play under it and take the money. Rinse, repeat, get rich.
There’s literally nothing the team can do, they are completely at the mercy of the player. And so I fully expected Stafford to follow suit – to play out this season, get slapped with the tag, and gleefully skip down the yellow brick road arm-in-arm with his agent as they begin their journey to Filthy Richville.
Hang on, that didn’t come remotely close to happening. Apparently, whatever template Kirk set was of no interest to Stafford at all. Apparently, common sense can prevail after all! How novel.
So it’s business as usual for the NFL’s franchise QB. Team and player sit down in the last year of the deal and hammer out a market rate extension in a reasonable timeframe. Who’da the thunk it?
I feel like the way the team has bungled this whole saga so badly has made me short-change humanity as a whole. Their inability to simply pay a competent QB what the market dictates led me to believe others following in Kirk’s footsteps would see an opportunity to rinse their teams for all they could.
And perhaps worst of all from this, that inability is being obviously and rather embarrassingly exposed by the rest of the league. First Oakland, now Detroit. You can bet Atlanta and Green Bay will follow suit, with Tennessee and Tampa Bay coming not long after.
But it turns out money isn’t everything. I would say shame on the Redskins for making me think this way, but the sad truth is it’s probably my own fault for expecting anything different.