Behind the Mic: Free Agent?

This is the time of the year when NFL fans get really nervous about some of their favorite players looking elsewhere, presumably for more money.  There are currently 650 free agents on the market.  650!  Free agency is a somewhat complicated process, which most of us, I would venture to speculate, do not understand.  I did a little research and will try to offer up in the simplest of terms, NFL Free Agency for Dummies.  Keep in mind this is written by a dummy.

For my example I will use Sam Bradford, last year’s starting quarterback for the Eagles.  By the way, there are 29 NFL quarterbacks right now in free agency. Sam Bradford is an unrestricted free agent (UFA).  The Eagles had until March 9 to sign him to a new contract before he was allowed to begin talking to and negotiating with other NFL teams.  In other words, after March 9, Bradford was “unrestricted”.  The Eagles could have named Bradford a franchise player before March 1, and he would have stayed with the Eagles for another year.  The cost to the Eagles would be the average salary of the top five players at his position.  The Eagles chose not to do that so Bradford is free to look elsewhere.

Bradford originally signed a six-year contract in 2010 with the St. Louis Rams for a signing bonus of $17,975,000.  He received an average salary of $13,007,500 per year.  He received bonuses from 2010-2012 totaling $17,300,000.  In the final year of his contract, the Eagles paid him $12,985,000.  His six-year contract totaled around $78 million.  When he signed the contract, he was guaranteed $50 million, but he obviously greatly far exceeded that.

So now what?  Of the 650 free agents, Bradford currently is the highest paid on the list primarily because he is a starting quarterback.  The second highest paid free agent on the market is defensive end Chris Long at $12,500,000.  Since the Eagles decided not to name him a franchise player or try to sign him before the deadline, Bradford now has his agent looking for a deal.  One service has his calculated market value at an annual salary of $18.6 million.  This value is arrived at by comparing Bradford to Ryan Tannehill, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, and Joe Flacco, all NFL quarterbacks.  Of course, his true value will be determined by the team that eventually signs him.

So, in a nutshell, you now have the numbers that a general manager must analyze to determine if Sam Bradford is the man for you.  In addition, a GM must concern himself with salary caps, but that explanation is for another time.  Remember, the Eagles can still be a part of the negotiations.  Once they have a sense of the offers being made, they too can present their offer or perhaps look at the 28 other quarterbacks available.

So what is Sam Bradford really worth to an NFL team?  Should the Eagles do whatever they can to bring him back?  Or would you just keep shopping?  If it was your money, how would you spend it?


  1. Now, you might be wondering what other NFL quarterbacks are available. To name a few – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Schaub, Tavaris Jackson, Chase Daniel, Kirk Cousins, etc.
  1. The Yankees announced this week that they will no longer honor print-at-home tickets saying there is too much fraud in the process (“rampant, on a daily basis, every single game”). StubHub claims that they encounter fraud in 0.01 percent of transactions.  Is this the Yankees just showing their power against StubHub or a concern that will expand to other entertainment venues?
  1. Jay Wright’s Villanova Wildcats continue to be the #1 team in college basketball, according to this week’s poll. They are 24-3 and garnered 25 of the 32 votes by the coaches.  Villanova is the team that knocked out Lafayette in the NCAA tournament last year in Pittsburgh.
  1. The PGA tour is literally in Tiger Woods’ backyard this week in South Florida and he did not commit to playing. There has been no word about his health since December.  He had a major back operation 19 months ago and two similar surgeries since then.  He is no longer listed in the top 450 golfers.
  1. Watch our local teams battle for the District basketball and wrestling championships this week on RCN-TV. The PIAA state basketball playoffs begin Friday, March 4.


Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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