Hey guys, after reading Craig T's excellent write up on Eric Berry yesterday it really got me thinking; is Eric Berry really worth it at #3. After doing a small amount of digging, I've got to say no. At least I don't think he is. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Berry isn't a talented player, I think he is spectacular. In my opinion he is about as close to a sure thing as you can get these days.
My concern with Berry doesn't even have anything to do with him personally, my issue is with the position he plays. As we all know NFL rookie contracts have gotten ridiculous. Often rookies come in making more than established vets who have proven their worth time and time again. The system is fundamentally flawed, and you won't get any argument out of me, but let's save that discussion for another day. Read more after the jump
NFL rookie contracts are sloped so that each subsequent pick receives a little less than the pick before. Obviously there are exceptions to this, position sometimes play a factor, as does Al Davis' wallet. The first thing I did was look up the past five NFL drafts and the contract that the #3 overall pick received.
2005 - WR Braylon Edwards: signed a 5 year 40 million dollar contract with 19 M guaranteed.
2006 - QB Vince Young: (Note: this was considered by many to be one of the richest rookie contracts in history at the time) signed a 5 year 58 Million dollar contract with 25.7 M guaranteed.
2007 - OT Joe Thomas: signed a 5 year 42 million dollar contract with 23 M guaranteed.
2008 - QB Matt Ryan: (Note: Another HUGE contract) signed a six year 72 million dollar contract with 34 M guaranteed.
2009 - DE Tyson Jackson: signed a five year 57 million dollar contract with 31 M guaranteed.
Now as we all know, QB contracts are quite different from other positions so let's go ahead and throw those out the window for the sake of this examination. For arguments sake let's just suppose that the Buccaneer front office can get Eric Berry to sign on the dotted line for significantly less than Tyson Jackson got last year. This hypothetical contract will be five years for 50M with 30M guaranteed.
Seems like a bargain right? Not so much when you take into consideration that if Berry is signed to that contract he will be making A LOT more than the two premier safeties in the NFL.
Troy Polamalu is locked in until 2011 with a four year contract worth 30.2M. This breaks down to $7.55 M per year. Reed's is even less. He is signed through 2012 after signing a six year deal worth $40M, which breaks down to 6.66M per year. Both contracts were the richest contracts ever awarded to safeties at the times of their signing.
Now, despite Berry's obvious ability, he is still unproven. Is he really worth 3M more per season than the most elite player at his given position. Safeties just do not warrant that kind of money. So if we can trade down and get him at a more reasonable rate, I would consider it, but at #3 I gotta say thanks, but no thanks. What do you guys think?