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Market for pass rushers ends up being a disappointment


Sometimes, we get so caught up in the avalanche of free-agency developments that the implications aren’t immediately obvious.

For pass rushers in this year’s class, one this is becoming clear: The market blows.

It started with linebacker Paul Kruger’s deal. Though he has every reason to be happy with a five-year, $40 million contract, the average is only $8 million per year. For the first guy out of the gates, that’s a low average.

The dynamic has continued into Wednesday, with defensive end Cliff Avril’s surprising two-year, $15 million contract. That’s an average of $7.5 million.

That said, Avril got $11 million guaranteed and he gets another crack at the market in 2015, when there’s a chance the new TV deals will cause a spike (or at least a more significant “smoothing”) of the cap. He’ll be only 28 at the time.

And with a stifling secondary in Seattle, Avril will have plenty of chances to rack up major sack numbers.

Either way, he will have earned $25.6 million over three years -- and it’s not entirely clear that the Lions were offering a firm $30 million over three in 2012.

For other pass rushers who remain on the market, the news isn’t nearly good. Many are on the wrong side of 30, and the high end of the market is at $7.5 million to $8 million. As time passes and players get antsy, the prices will drop.

It’s yet another unintended consequence of free agency in the modern NFL. The players desperately wanted the ability to change teams, and now there are so many of them trying to change teams that very few can get paid the kind of money they want.