Another one bites the dust: NFL veterans realize their true net worth

It’s getting bloody out on the tundra and offensive and defensive linemen are still on spring break.

Vince Wilfork bellyBy the time next NFL season rolls around, we’re going to need an all-inclusive fan guide to see who’s playing where and this all happened before free agency hit.  So far, a slew of names that have been forever associated with their franchises have gone their separate ways.

Vince Wilfork is 33 years old.  He’s played 12 seasons for the New England Patriots, the team who drafted him.  His unmistakable, 325-lb frame (and that seems light) is largely responsible for getting the Pats to their healthy collection of Super Bowl appearances.  Wilfork, however, won’t be playing in Foxboro next year.  Here’s your parting gift, sir: some Slim-Fasts and a contract elsewhere.

Troy Polamalu has been synonymous with the modern-day Pittsburgh Steelers.  The Head and Shoulders pimpin’ safety has not been cut yet but let’s just say him staying in the Steel City would require some fine tuning.  Unfortunately for Troy, one of those tunes doesn’t include him getting younger.

Reggie Wayne is in his 15th season, all with the Colts, the team that drafted him.  He’s scored 82 touchdowns in that white and blue uniform.  He won’t be scoring 83.  He was cut last week and is currently looking for work.

Andre JohnsonThe Texans haven’t openly cut Andre Johnson but they have pretty much made it public they won’t be re-signing him.  Johnson has been with the Texans since 2003.

The Saints have cut Pierre Thomas.  The Packers released AJ Hawk.  The Dolphins told Brian Hartline his services would no longer be needed.  Darnell Dockett was also released.  Brandon Marshall was traded but when is he not?  Heck, even Peyton Manning took a pay cut.

If you ever needed a reminder that the NFL is first and foremost a business, just thumb through the transactions section of your local newspaper.

The bottom line is nothing lasts forever.  Joe Namath was a Ram.  Joe Montana quarterbacked the Chiefs.  If the numbers don’t line up on the P&L ledger, even the face of a franchise can end up in another uniform.

About once a week on his daily broadcast, ESPN’s Colin Cowherd will field a call from a homer Patriots fan who will proudly proclaim that Tom Brady will retire a New England Patriot.  Cowherd will chuckle, guaranteeing that not only will Brady finish his career elsewhere, the Patriots won’t think twice about moving him.

BradyAs harsh as that might seem, Cowherd’s right.

If Brady is serious about playing until he’s umpteen years old and the Pats see that he’s lost a step, they’ll sit him down and make him an offer.  You know, to do the right thing.  But if Brady is adamant about his continued passion for passing, he’ll be cashing someone else’s paycheck.

NFL teams function under strict cap rules.  When a veteran’s salary rubs that number the wrong way, they’re as good as gone.

So why get all misty-eyed when guys like Wilfork and Wayne don’t finish their careers where they started?  If you want loyalty, buy a dog.

This has been going on since the dawn of time.  Think back to 1919 when Babe Ruth was sold from Boston to New York for $100 grand because Harry Frazee had a hankering for musicals.  And Ruth was in his prime!  It took Boston 86 years to recover from that.  While they’ll miss him, it won’t take New England nearly as long to recover from the loss of the equally-rotund WIlfork.

So the next time you hear a sports fan gripe about how players no longer stay with the same team for their entire career, tell them to stick a fork in it.  Loyalty takes a back seat to winning every time.

15 thoughts on “Another one bites the dust: NFL veterans realize their true net worth

  1. Chris

    Dawning of a new age in the NFL . Look at the NFL Draft of 1996 which I believe had Peyton Manning and then the year Brady was drafted . As the old adage goes…. all good things must come to an end ” . This has been one of the great eras of the NFL’s history in terms of players we are likely to be certainly enshrined into the NFL having met the eligibility requirements . There will one or two possible candidates, where there are likely matters of conjecture as to their merits, but it will make for a great debate .

    Tophatal ………

  2. Chris

    should read enshrined into the Hall of Fame .

    Darrelle Revis will likely be cut, because Patriots’ GM Nick Caserio will baulk at having to meet the $20 million price tag, due for 2015 . At this stage of his career , Revis isn’t worth $20 million of anyone’s money .

  3. If I was a GM in the NFL I think I’d be very careful spending money on these guys who are past their prime and yet expect a handsome salary… Give me the young, hungry guys… I know that sometimes there’s a specific need and the draft may be lean in that particular area and so yes, there could be times when a free agent might be needed, but seriously, other than the older QB’s (Manning? No Super Bowl wins for how much money?) name an older free agent who truly paid back his signing price… I’m hard pressed to think of any…

  4. Al…

    I’m looking forward to seeing how active the Bucs are this off-season. They have nothing but cap space. Are they going to waltz out there with the same mediocre team next year or are they going to make some moves and remember they’re actually an NFL team?

  5. Yeah but Dwin…

    The Pats have been able to sign a ton of vets for pennies on the dollar, convince them that’s the place to be, fit them under their cap and win ten games a year for a damn eternity.

    Are Kraft and the Hoodie the only people in the league capable of doing that?

  6. Not only is Wilfork personna non grata with the Pats, he’d be barred or taxed in any buffet out here. Belichick eliminates personell on the way down not on the bottom. Do you understand Mr. Revis?

    Chris whatta u think of the QB swap of Foles and Bradford? The Saints shitcanning of Graham might have a little to do with insubordination among other personality factors. When your coach tells u there is no slam dunking in football and you defy and cost ur team 15yd penalty. Sean Payton wins.

  7. Chris

    It’s not just Kraft and the Hoodie, but also the guile of GM Nick Caserio . .Add in the fact , they have a defensive coordinator finally worth a damn , with Matt Patricia and the Pats were firing on all cylinders this past season .

    I don’t know what to make of the Buccaneers, because this past season , Lovie Smith simply proved to me he cannot turn water into wine and when dealing with chicken $hit , things still didn’t get any better .

    Jay Cutler , this generation’s version of Jeff George and from there , Smith had to deal with Mike Glennon and Josh McCown. All of this from a coach, who’s meant to be defensive minded individual and he still couldn’t instill discipline into the Bucs’ secondary, but yet anal retentive fans kept on talking about, his being given a pass in his first season. What are they now to expect in his second year ? Let me pose this question, which player on the current Buccaneers’ roster is meant to be a vocal leader, much less , any type of leader at all ? When Tampa , their fans and the entire coaching staff can figure that $hit out, perhaps the team might actually prove to be competitive for once .

    Tophatal ……….

  8. Day One recap of free agency, Bets?

    Way to start out with a bang. I talked to my Saints contingency. Couldn’t find a happy one. What the hell was that all about and does that set the ‘Hawks over/under at 12 or even higher?

    Personally, the Bradford/Fowles trade does nothing for me except, I think, make the Rams stronger in an already tough division and make Philly fans wonder what in the world is going on. Plus I’m sure having another white quarterback in Philly makes Stephen A. Smith all happy.

  9. Enough talk about Cutler, Al. We’re wasting our breath.

    There are players in this free agency period and there are not.

    Which are the Buccaneers?

    I think we both already know.

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  11. Chris,
    Stephen A Smith huh? LOL He keeps referencing Riley Cooper. That SOB has been publicly chastized, embarrassed,ridiculed and finally now believed to be color blind. Well kinda anyway. SAS might wanna look deeper into the roster. Cooper has paid for his ignorance.

  12. I agree, Bets.

    Look, there’s racism everywhere. Philly, the South, the North, Midwest, you name it. People hate people for various reasons regardless of where they live and where they come from. Philly, and it’s football team, isn’t any more racist than any other pocket of America.

    As you suggest, I’m pretty sure by this point that Riley Cooper has worked his shit out with his black teammates and they’ve either forgiven him or take him with a grain of salt. Just because Cooper dropped an N-Bomb once, before Kelly got there I believe, doesn’t mean that Philly endorses a racist culture.

    What they should really be concerned with is how bad that roster is.

  13. Chris


    It would appear Chip Kelly is not only running the show in Philly but over the past eighteen months he has done enough damage to the franchise than during the tenure of Andy Reid , specifically over the latter part of Reid’s coaching stint. In all honesty do you really believe getting rid of Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson , LeSean McCoy and now Nick Foles will actually make the team any better heading into this upcoming season ? GM Howie Roseman appears to be sitting on his balls , not having the guts to speak up and simply going with the $hit being thrown up against the wall by the head coach , who also has an aversion to playing defense with his teams .

    Who knows what to make of the Buccaneers’ moves because at this moment I am sure neither Licht , Smith and the entire coaching staff are aware of what they’re trying to achieve . Throwing #hit up against the wall and running with what sticks now personifies the franchise and it’s been that way since the latter part of Gruden’s tenure and with each of his successors . There has been no plan or specific strategy by the front office. It’s not as if the Glazers themselves are now in a unique to position to realize the damage done . Spending way too much time on the familial business concerns and the monies being lost.

    Which of the male Glazer siblings, has the wherewithal to actually take the reins and actually deal with the Buccaneers effectively ?

  14. Apparently, Al, the Eagles are now talking to DeMarco Murray. Is he just driving up his price or his he actually interested? And if Philly lands him, does Dallas go after Peterson?

    The Bucs just signed two Bears defensemen. But with the way the Bears played D last year, are we sure that was the right thing to do?

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