This week, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey preview free agency by answering important questions related to the Washington Football Team. Next up: They each pass on one key thing to keep in mind for when the fun begins.
There are going to be plenty of players that fit positionally-speaking for Washington — the wide receiver market is teeming with options and the Burgundy and Gold could use help there, for example, and the same can be said for linebacker and cornerback — but remember: Scheme fit is what matters the most.
Whenever I think about this concept, I think of Nnamdi Asomugha.
Back in 2011, the Eagles signed Asomugha five-year, $60 million contract, but the corner only lasted two seasons in Philly before being let go. The reason is because he excelled in man-to-man situations, while the Eagles asked their defensive backs to play mostly zone.
So, uh, yeah, you can see why the two didn't mix well. At all. And for those now thinking of Josh Norman's issues in Washington, that's the proper connection to make.
Of course, this doesn't just happen in the secondary; March after March, there are numerous examples of organizations bringing in high-profile additions only to cut ties with them far sooner than anyone could've expected.
Therefore, if Washington isn't in on the bidding for someone you've been hoping for over the past few months or they are chasing a lesser-name that you didn't previously know of at all, it's likely due to Ron Rivera's view of how that player could work in the system he and his staff has put in place. You shouldn't try to put a square peg in a round hole, after all! (I just aged myself approximately 45 years).
Never believe the first number that gets reported with a player's new contract, especially not this offseason.
More often than not the first contract numbers that emerge when a player signs a new deal come from a player agent, and more often than not those numbers illustrate the absolute max a deal can be worth. That assumes a player hits every incentive in a deal and every possible dollar becomes real.
Reaching every possible incentive rarely happens, and not that many high-dollar contracts even go full term.
This offseason with the salary cap decreasing about 10 percent from 2020 there will be even more funny business with contracts, particularly with voidable years on the back end of deals to comply with depressed 2021 numbers. In turn, contracts will have some wacky language and the latter stages of new deals will virtually have no chance of completion.
Agents have a job to do, and leaking the highest available number in free agency is part of that.
So when those first contract numbers start to come out - 5 years, $120 million! - take a breath and wait for the real guaranteed money to emerge before deciding if a team overpaid or not.