Hold the presses; it appears that there actually IS some money out there that NFL teams are willing to spend this offseason. After weeks of pondering whether any contracts were going to be signed at all amongst first round picks and veterans looking to be compensated according to their production, three relatively high profile deals were struck on Thursday by teams around the league.
Surprisingly the process began with the Dallas Cowboys who have broken the stalemate between first rounders and their respective teams by inking wide receiver Dez Bryant to a five-year $11.8 million deal. Many thought the St. Louis Rams would be the first team to get the ball rolling by signing number one overall pick Sam Bradford to a big deal, but instead the Cowboys beat them to the punch. It has already been announced that Bryant will carry the burden of wearing Hall of Famer Michael Irvin’s jersey number 88 and with his game breaking speed as well as top end speed, Dallas hopes that he can produce like the old version of number 88.
Another hotly debated rookie inked a deal that is not quite as unexpected as a first rounder, but nonetheless former Texas Longhorns signal caller Colt McCoy is officially a member of the Cleveland Browns for 4 years at $5 million. This amount of money is a bit higher than the usual salary for a mid-third round pick which suggests that Cleveland has McCoy in their long-term plans under center. Accuracy is not in question for the former Longhorn who completed 70.6 percent of his passes last season, but his arm strength might be borderline for NFL success.
The final bit of contract news is the biggest in terms of dollars and cents as the Denver Broncos stepped up to the plate and unloaded a truckload of money for pass rusher Elvis Dumervil. Denver signed their undersized speed rusher to a six-year $61.5 million contract which includes between $41 and $43 million in guaranteed money. With the team’s switch to the 3-4 defense last year Dumervil put up some of his best numbers to date with 17 sacks during the 2009 campaign earning him a trip to the Pro Bowl. Only two players have accumulated more sacks that Dumervil’s 43 since entering the league in 2006. Demarcus Ware has amassed 56.5 and Jared Allen has totaled 52 in that same time span which puts Dumervil among some lofty and now wealthy company.
For an offseason that had been quite benign to this point, the cash was really quite free flowing on Thursday for these select few. Hopefully this first round signing is just the first of many to come and contract holdouts don’t become the latest black eye for a league still bouncing around in labor negotiations. Plenty of veterans are still unhappy with their deals around the league and are looking for more money as well, but perhaps this is a positive sign that the league and the NFL Players Association are moving toward some common ground. News of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) would be fantastic for the benefit of both parties and keep this impasse from getting any uglier.
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