Saturday, June 20, 2009

Is Ozzie's poker face failing him in the Suggs contract talks?


Just after the draft I learned that the Ravens had offered Terrell Suggs Jared Allen-type money (Allen’s deal included $31 million in guarantees). Either Suggs and his agent Gary Wichard both think that’s not enough money or Suggs simply wanted no part OTA’s and delayed the signing.

Or maybe both...

Wichard is said to be a bit of a gambler at the bargaining table and isn’t afraid to push his pile of chips into the middle of the poker table. Let’s consider what’s at stake...

For Suggs obviously there’s the $31 million in guaranteed money. If his refusal to accept that deal continues past July 15, Suggs will play for $10.2 million. He would then have to wait until the start of the free agency period in February of 2010 to negotiate a new deal provided he isn’t tagged again.

If he does wait, there’s always the risk that Suggs could have a subpar season or worse, he could suffer a serious injury – both of which would affect Wichard’s ability to negotiate a deal better than Jared Allen’s.

Suggs really isn’t worried about an injury. He’s yet to miss an NFL start during his six seasons. He’s probably not even worried about a drop in production either – not in a Baltimore Ravens uniform.

For the Ravens, they’ve already paid Suggs $8.8 million in 2008 as a franchised player. In 2009, barring a new contract prior to July 15, they’ll pay Suggs another $10.2. If they tag him a third time Suggs will be paid the average of the top 5 salaries in the league regardless of position and that number will probably fall somewhere in the range of $17-20 million. So conservatively speaking should he hit the franchise tag trifecta, Suggs will make $36 million over three seasons.

And these guys hate being franchised...

Add it all up and it looks to me like Wichard is calling Ozzie’s bluff.

The bet here is that Suggs will get his deal prior to July 15 and he’ll receive the most guaranteed money ever extended to a defensive player. Wichard will pound his chest and tell the world while the Ravens tell us that they wanted Suggs to T-Sizzle in Baltimore as a career Raven all along.

And then maybe buyer’s remorse will set in.

Is Suggs really worth all that money?

When the dust settles and after all the hoopla, pomp and circumstance, Ozzie better turn his attention towards extending Haloti Ngata ASAP.

Otherwise he’ll be back again at the table holding another losing hand.

10 comments :

Anonymous said...

I think this aspect of Ozzie's job is his Achilles heel. He farts around with guys like Suggs, C-Mac (years ago), Jason Brown and Bart Scott in their restricted free agent years with minimal one year deals, and we end up losing them or paying way more in the end when they have the leverage than was ever needed.

A-Dubs said...

I don't know whether Suggs is worth it either. He is great but up until this season I was not convinced he was worth big-time money. His playoff performance this year pretty much sold me, however, as he was unstoppable even with a messed up shoulder. Get him signed, and then rotate to Haloti's agent. I agree 100%

Anonymous said...

Suggs is good/very good, but not elite, as has been discussed here many times. Along with stupid deals like McGahee & Figurs, letting Jason Brown walk, overpaying Ray Lewis when nobody in the league was willing to pay him what the Ravens offered -- the deal should have been pulled off the table and a new, reduced offer should have been made -- the Ravens simply can't afford those sorts of mistakes and think they can compete at the highest level.

Luca said...

anon--
figurs was a draft pick, that's it. it wasn't any sort of financial deal so your point is lost. Second, jettisoning Jason Brown and bringing in Matt BIrk at half the price is a huge coup for Baltimore....same player, better leader, half the money......

Anonymous said...

Pat Moriarty, the VP of Football Admin, oversees all contract negotiations. According to the teams website "The Cleveland native negotiates all of the Ravens’ player contracts, oversees salary cap administration, roster management, and the day-to-day operations of the player personnel department...Moriarty is the team’s top contract negotiator and main liaison with the NFL Management Council and Players Association..." Your point is sound though, Suggs isn't worth that much money. One player can't bankrupt your team or prevent them from signing other players. All players and agents work in their rational self interest, so get the most money all the time is a reasonable mentality. However wins are the ultimate measure of sucess and having a well rounded team is the best way to ensure wins, so the team has to have an overall scope while negotiating, and perhaps so should the players and agents.

Harryos29 said...

HARRY O 29
LET SUGGS GO.. I've had it with these BIG HEADS... holding out for millions..while I toiled for much less...but I was more skilled being a Systems programmer on big IBM main frames. I had to know the intracies of OPEATING SYSTEMS... SUGGS just puts his hand in the dirt and after the snap.. goes full bore for the QB. NOPE.. let him go...

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29
I say let him go. I worked as a MAIN FRAME Systems programmer on big IBM computers. My pay was not even in the same ZIP CODE as what these players demand. I had a much more challenging job every day that required analysis and skill to make necessary changes to the Operating systems. all Suggs needs to do is line up and go full bore after the guy with the ball

Jerry B said...

I'm not sure any athlete is worth the kind of money they get paid today, but by today's standards, Suggs has proven his worth! As for injuries, while he has never missed a start, he did sustain an injury in the playoffs that he tried to "play through", but was not as effective as when healthy. And, the longer one plays and the older one gets, the more prone he becomes to injury. As for Ozzie, he's no stranger to these "chess matches" and I trust his judgment implicitly! That being said, I'd sign Suggs and....sooner rather than later!

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29
In Response to JERRY B.. Hey guy.. I respect your opinion...that is what this is all about. However, as the clock ticks on Suggs' Career, the injuries will become more serious and take longer to rehab.
...I say let him go after 2010...and bring up JAMELE MC CLAIN.
If you notice...the STILLERs have only EVER paid one big time player:
BEN ROTHLISBERGER: Guess where they were last Winter? in the SUPERBOWL.. I rest my case. CHEERS....
I am an High school baseball umpire and am currently working a METRO league summer Schedule. I get PAID for my OPINION on BALLS and STRIKES and SAFES and OUTS!!! I aint' always right..but I'm always the UMP! and Ozzie is in the same position; he is the GM!

Sulley said...

From what Suggs has said publically (that people will be shocked when the deal gets done) I don't think his contract will be as big as everyone else does. I agree with what Jerry B said, in that by today's standards Suggs has proved his worth and should be paid like one of the game's top defenders (not to mention the man who revolutionized the position of OLB). I see him signing a long term deal of 5-6 years at somewhere between $8.5-9.5 million a year with a $30-40 million in guaruntees. The sooner this deal gets done the better (and I expect it to be before training camp) so that Ozzie and company can focus on getting Ngata signed next.