Paid for Potential, not Production

By: Daniel Oyefusi
News broke early this morning that the Cincinnati Bengals and QB Andy Dalton had agreed to a 6 year extension worth roughly $96 million. When I heard the report, I thought “Wow, thats a lot for someone with no playoff wins,” but I quickly remembered the world that we are living in today.
The Quarterback position is the most important in not only football, but in all of sports. It is imperative that teams have, at the minimum, above average quarterback play, to stay somewhat competitive. With the new rookie wage scale, rookies and quarterbacks especially, are not initially making as much money as past rookies and are, as a result, looking for big pay days when their opportunity appears. The need for franchise quarterbacks results in many talented, but underachieving, quarterbacks receiving exorbitant contracts before they have made much of their careers. For all the complaints about Joe Flacco’s $120 million, it capped off a historic Super Bowl run and MVP Honors. But if you look at many of the other highest paid QBs, you see a lot more to be desired.
Matt Ryan signed a $103 million extension with the Falcons in the offseason. With all the natural talent and targets that he has had at his disposal, he has 1 playoff win in 5 years and is under some pressure to get Atlanta back to the playoffs. Colin Kaepernick took over as the 49ers starting QB, leading them to the Super Bowl, but ultimately losing to the Baltimore Ravens. The next year, he led the 49ers to the NFC Championship game but came just short of another Super Bowl trip. In the offseason, he received a 7 year, $114 million extension with the hopes that he will lead San Fran back to the promised land. Let it be known that I am a believer in Colin Kaepernick. However, it seems a bit premature to give him a $100+ million extension. Lastly, although once again failing to lead the Bears to the playoffs, Jay Culter received a 7 year, $126 million extension. Albeit with a suspect Offensive Line at times, it shocks me that with targets Culter has, including Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte, Culter has only mustered one playoff victory in his tenure with the Bears.
All the case studies just mentioned currently make more money than Tom Brady. Let that sink in: They all make MORE money than Tom Brady. Although his last Super Bowl was almost a decade ago, Tom Brady is a perennial Pro Bowler and MVP Candidate, constantly in the playoffs, and has taken lesser talented teams deep into the playoffs. But like I said before, NFL executives face a tough dilemma in today’s QB-driven league: Overpay your current QB and hope he delivers or let him walk in free agency and suffer for another 3-5 years before another franchise QB comes your way in the draft. I’m pretty sure most NFL GMs would go with the first choice.

The Return of the King: Tipping the Balance in the East

By Daniel Oyefusi
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On Friday afternoon, we saw LeBron James depart from his 4 year stint in Miami in order to return home to Cleveland. While doing so, he completely altered the pecking order in the Eastern Conference. Rarely in American sports do we see one play alter the landscape of an entire league. Here is the analysis of LeBron’s move to Cleveland and how it affects the rest of the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland: Cleveland is obviously the primary beneficiary from the LeBron signing. James will be joining a young talented, but inexperienced roster that includes Kyrie Irving, Dion Waters, and Andrew Wiggins. This Cavs  team has multiple options on offense and should have no problem putting up points, but I am a little skeptical of the team defensively. In his letter explaining his intent to return home, LeBron said that the process to becoming a championship team will be longer than it was in his first seven years in Cleveland, however; in a weak Eastern Conference, the Cavs automatically become the frontrunners to represent the East in the NBA Finals. The potential acquisition of Kevin Love could expedite that process. As this Cavs team is right now, I am confident enough to go out on a limb and say that they will be in the Eastern Conference Finals next season. P.S. Although LeBron only signed a 2-year deal with a second year option, I fully expect him to stay with Cleveland. The NBA salary cap is supposed to increase significantly next year and with that, LeBron can make much more money on a max deal than he would this year.

New York: Yesterday, it was announced that Carmelo Anthony would re-sign with the Knicks on a max deal. This was not surprising but a decision from Melo was expected last Monday or Tuesday. There were reports that Melo was holding up his decision in order to see what LeBron would do in hopes that maybe, though unlikely, they could team up in either Miami or New York. With LeBron in Cleveland, Melo was back to his other options and opted to stay with New York, where he had an additional year and more money than he would have received from anyone else. The Knicks have many other transitions as well, acquiring Jose Calderon, a viable point guard in the triangle offense and Samuel Dalembert, a tenacious rebounder and veteran big. Despite their horrendous start last season, the Knicks were a few games away from grabbing the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. If they can carry the momentum from last season and take it to this up coming season, the New York Knicks are a viable top 6 team in the weak Eastern Conference.

Miami: The Heat lost out on LeBron James and were forced to making a big move of  retaining Chris Bosh with a 5 year, $118 million deal. It is expected that they will keep Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem and they have also reached out to Luol Deng in order to fill the void that LeBron left. Regardless, the Heat should be able to put together a team that can compete with others in the Eastern Conference but should not be considered a heavy favorite. As a matter of fact, I would not place them higher than teams like the Pacers, Raptors, or even the Wizards.

Dope: “Sprite” LeBron XI Lows Release Tomorrow

Sprite Lebrons

Fresh off LeBron’s decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Nike will be releasing the “Sprite” colorway of the Nike LeBron XI Lows. For those who are unaware, LeBron is sponsored by Sprite and the Coca-Cola company, appearing in numerous ads for Sprite, such as this, over the years.

This that “singe the hair off your nutsack” heat. The shoe is complete with Flywire technology and a 360 Air Max unit for overall comfort. These are definite head turners and are perfect with shorts for the hot summer weather. See if you can cop a pair for a cool $175.

Sprite Lebrons 2

These shoes are Hypebeast Approved.

-Victor Olalekan (Follow on Twitter @tobi5486)