The NFL free agency period is upon us again. Plenty of players have some big decisions on their hands as they decide where they want to play next season. Of course money is a big determining factor for a lot of players. After all, the NFL stands for Not For Long and you definitely have to get all the money you can. While money can sway decisions, it cannot be the only factor in signing a contract. And for some, they may want to look at a two separate free agency decisions that were made in the last two free agency bonanzas.
Free agent defensive lineman Michael Bennett very quietly signed during 2013’s free agency frenzy. He signed a one-year deal worth $4.8 million with Seattle. And in one season, Bennett went from a player that was quiet to a player everyone could not miss. Bennett ended up having a team-high 8.5 sacks as he, along with veteran defensive end Cliff Avril, spear-headed the pressure the Seahawks put on opposing quarterbacks. In a league where pass-rushers are worth their weight in gold, Bennett was considered to be one of the top free agent pass-rushers available. And he had plenty of teams that were willing to give him big money to sign with their franchises. The biggest threat of those teams was the Chicago Bears. They were in dire need of a pass rush and it would have also been a chance for Bennett to play with his brother, Beats tight end Martellus Bennett. But despite Chicago offering more money, Bennett decided to return to Seattle with a brand-new four year contract that offered him $16 million in guaranteed money. Of course Bennett could have taken another deal for more money, but he valued a couple things more: happiness and winning.
In 2013, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace was considered one of the big gets in free agency. The speedy receiver and the Steelers could never come to an agreement on a deal in the years leading up to him being a free agent. And because of that, Wallace hit the free agent market. His speed was always excellent, but his hands were always questionable. But even with that knowledge, the Miami Dolphins inked Wallace to a five-year, $60 million deal ($30 million guaranteed with an $11 million signing bonus). Wallace got the money he wanted, but he also left the consistent success that he once had with Pittsburgh. He tallied 73 receptions, 930 yards and five touchdowns, but he also had a ton of keep drops. Another byproduct of Wallace not taking everything into account was the team’s pattern of losing. It looks like Wallace the pressures of being paid like a top receiver are starting to wear on Wallace and the Miami fans as a whole. He got the money he wanted, but with more money more problems can arise. And Wallace is witnessing that right now. Money didn’t buy Wallace him peace of mind and joy.
Decisions can be the difference between happiness and misery. These two players are very good examples of that. Going forward, I hope these players begin to see the whole picture instead of seeing just bits and pieces of the screen. Making the right decision includes more than just going for the money.
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