Money matters in the NFL.
Players want as much of it as possible -- and rightfully so. Teams want to horde as much of it as possible-- and rightfully so.
Interestingly, fans often side with players they like or follow and root for more than the teams and are upset when teams let good players walk. Last year, Texans fans were upset Mario Williams was allowed to leave via free agency and right tackle Eric Winston was cut.
In the coming days, many Pittsburgh Steelers fans will be unhappy if Mike Wallace leaves the team, as expected.
And I'm hearing many Dolphins fans, some on this very site, bemoaning the possibility Jake Long will be allowed to walk via free agency because he's been a good player.
Well, the reason let players you like walk is because they make priorities of other players. And sometimes quantity is just as important as quality.
Consider that Long initially considered himself "highest-paid NFL left tackle material" and wanted to maintain his $11 million per year salary he's enjoyed recently if not get a raise. That would have put Long in the $11-$12 million per year salary range.
Then consider what the Dolphins have done the past week on the contract front. They tied up Randy Starks with a one-year $8.45 million franchise tag. They tied up backup QB Matt Moore for a reported $8 million over two years. They re-signed No. 2 wide receiver Brian Hartline for $30.8 million over five years.
That's a total of $47.25 million.
If the Dolphins had met Long's intial contract desires, they would have paid him between $44-$48 million for four years or $55-$60 million for five years.
So the Dolphins got Hartline, Moore, and Starks tied up this year and in Hartline's and Moore's case, for multiple years, for the same money they might have gotten for Long alone.
Obviously, some fans will believe that would have been alright for the right to keep a starting albeit declining left tackle. Some fans will be upset if Long walks.
The Dolphins are happy with what they've done.
“I am excited that we have been able to reach an agreement with both Brian and Matt to keep them as members of the Miami Dolphins,” said Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland. “Brian is an ascending player that has steadily improved over his first four years with the organization. He has represented himself positively both on the field and throughout the South Florida community. Matt has been a valuable contributor to the Dolphins ever since he arrived two seasons ago. We are happy we were able to resign him, and we think he combines with Ryan Tannehill and Pat Devlin to give us an outstanding group of quarterbacks."
I believe it wise the Dolphins are likely to let Long test the market. I definitely don't think the guy is worth even $11 million per season. Not when you can get multiple good players for that price."