As we all probably know by now, the Jaguars signed their first free agent yesterday. Paul Posluszny, linebacker, from the Buffalo Bills. I personally view him as a good/great linebacker who has not necessarily hit his ceiling yet. I believe he will become a pro bowl player here in Jacksonville (as long as he receives proper recognition). However, many have speculated we overpaid dearly for him. Did we really though?
Chances are, you may not like my general answer; we both did and did not overpay for him. We signed him (well, will sign him) for 6 years, ~$40 million, with $15 million guaranteed. If completely accurate, that averages ~7 million a year which is more than what Patrick Willis’ contract is. In that regard, we most definitely overpaid for him as Willis is arguably the best linebacker in the game today and has basically been elite since the moment he stepped on the field.
However, heading into the future under the new CBA, we kind of did not overpay for him, necessarily. In free agency, players are usually overpaid for to begin with. However, now with the new CBA, we will now see more money being pumped in there. The new CBA has a high salary cap floor and for a team like us that began with roughly $35 million to spend, we are probably going to have to overpay. Additionally, the new rookie wage system significantly reduces pay for rookies and a lot of the money that is saved there is meant to go to veterans. Naturally, contracts are going to be higher. I believe this is a trend we will continue to see.
Along with the general changes in free agency though, there are some specific to right now. When you pack months of moves into a week, you should expect this kind of thing and, as far as I can tell, many did — they just potentially did not expect it to be to this extent. Charles Johnson, Paul Poslusny, and Doug Free are all examples of guys who have gotten huge contracts so far. Even Alex Smith is receiving $5 million for just 1 year of play. Alex. Smith.
Could this hurt the Jags? Potentially. But not if the team is smart about it. I think a lot of contracts in general now won’t necessarily be as back-loaded as before as there is now incentive to balance it out more and/or front-load it as to save money for future years and to still take care of reaching the cap floor now in the present time. Of course, this is all speculation as sometimes things just don’t go the way you think even if it makes sense, but I think that what I have stated is indeed the case and was probably meant to be side effects of the new CBA.