The opening hours of free agency always comes through with at least one doozy of a contract.
Something so wild, it stops you in your place and forces you to try to put it in perspective.
This year, it was Christian Kirk’s deal with the Jaguars:
Christian Kirk's four-year deal with the #Jaguars:
$20 million signing bonus
$37 million fully guaranteed
$39 million over first two years
$12 million in incentives
Base value: $72M.
Max value: $84M.
A $1M roster bonus on fifth day of 2024 league year serves as a trigger.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 14, 2022
That sure is a hefty chunk of change Jacksonville gave to Kirk. And with a unique structure, too. Kirk was one of the many receivers we were expecting to get ample interest around the league. But since Kirk’s signing, it’s been all quiet on the receiver front. Somewhat surprisingly, too, I might add. Between the volume of receiver options and the need throughout the league, I was expecting more movement in the area.
But maybe Kirk’s deal did to NFL general managers what it did to me:
That’s why the WR market came to a dead stop. It will pick back up… maybe shortly or maybe not until tomorrow. Clubs know they pay some premium early in FA but the Kirk deal was more than ridiculous
— Greg Gabriel (@greggabe) March 14, 2022
This bit of interesting perspective from Greg Gabriel is worth sharing. Especially since he has spent some time in professional front offices in the NFL and XFL. And you don’t have to squint to see that it makes sense. In short, it is quite possible that the Kirk contract and its structure has caused teams to re-think how they’ll go about addressing the position.
This isn’t to say players won’t get paid. After the NFL bumped the salary cap to $208.2 million, there is cash to go around. However, when a receiver with just four 100-yard receiving games in four years gets ridiculous money in securing the bag, it grabs your attention. Moreover, it probably put teams in a place to push pause before diving into the deep end of the market place. At minimum, they’ll think twice about doing it at that price. Because while the cap is treated like a myth in some circles, there is a reality to its presence. Think of it as credit card debt. At some point, you’ll need to pay off that vacation. You can do it piece by piece, but eventually, that bill comes in the mail.
Anyway, the receiver market won’t be frozen forever. There are still a bunch of worthwhile targets on the market. Among them are a handful of pass-catchers we were discussing as recently as Saturday. With that in mind, I’ll pump the brakes on feeling angsty about the Bears not addressing the position just yet. For now…