Wednesday, March 13, 2013

NFL Free Agency: It's Not Personal, It's Business

It's almost time for NFL Free Agency to begin and to most fans that means the excitement of their favorite team getting a shot at some of the top talent in the NFL, but for the business side of the NFL it means millions of dollars will be tossed around in an auction like fashion. Coveted players such as the Pittsburgh Steeler's Mike Wallace could see contracts with numbers like 5 years with $60 million and $30 million guaranteed. That is a lot of money, and if you are the general manager that is going to pay him that kind of money you better be sure he is worth it.

When you pay for a player like Mike Wallace it comes with some more perks than just a top tier player. Bringing a player like that to your team will put more fans in the seat because they will be excited to see a player like Wallace. If that player plays well that team will also see a revenue increase in merchandise such as jerseys, shirts, and anything thing that has the team's logo and that players name on it. Paying big money for free agents is not just a decision to bring a quality player, but also more revenue in other locations of the organization.

The other end of free agency is making cap space to bring in big name guys. This is where you see older veterans and lower talent level players getting cut fot younger blood. SB Nation recently did an article on the decline of the NFL middle class. Sometimes a player has played well the prior season, but due to how much cap they are taking up they may be a cap causality. A couple of players that were big names for their franchises became cap causalities this year. Names like James Harrison (Steelers), John Abraham (Falcons), Michael Turner (Falcons), Steven Jackson (Rams), Charles Woodson (Packers), and more were given their walking papers in the last week. It isn't a case of the general managers of these teams not liking these players personally, it's just business.

Money is the key word when it comes to free agency. Money is the overall decision maker in the process and sometime can lead to some hurt feelings. NFL free agency is a fast and furious process and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but everyone is just looking to make the big bucks.


Zachary Cintron is a sophomore in Drexel's Sport Management program with a minor in Music Theory and Composition.  Zach also writes for his personal blog, Sports and Music Weekly. You can follow Zach on Twitter at @cintronz.

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