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The mistake with Delhomme


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#1 Mr. Scot

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 12:55 PM

So where did the team really go wrong in it's handling of Delhomme?

I know some will point to keeping him too long, but honestly that's too simple an answer. In my mind, there was more to it than that.

Where things really went bad is that the team essentially managed to both do justice to him and take advantage of him.

How is that possible? Read on.

In the years when Delhomme did his best, he wasn't paid to the level of a "franchise" QB. Ah, but the team doesn't believe in franchise QBs, you say. True, but they did believe in Delhomme. Still, while he was paid what would be considered "handsomely" by our standards, it was "modest" pay for a starting NFL quarterback.

The specifics:

Delhomme's original deal was two years, four million, essentially a backup/tryout contract.

Prior to the second year of that deal, the team gave Delhomme a five year extension worth a total of 38 million. Sound big? Yep, but it was also somewhat backloaded and not much was guaranteed. There was a 12 million dollar signing bonus up front (split over the first few years) and his yearly salaries for the first three seasons were a little over half a million, with the bonus money making the rest of the cap number. It wasn't until the later part of his contract that his cap hits went up to about 8 million per year. Only the 12 million of the signing bonus was initially guaranteed.

Still sound big? It is, but here's a few notes for comparison.


Derek Anderson's 2008 extension: 3 years, 26 million (13.5 million guaranteed; this after one good season and the Browns didn't make the playoffs)

Matt Hasselbeck's 2005 extension: 6 years, 47 million dollars (guaranteed uncertain, but likely around 25 million)

Aaron Rodgers 2008 extension: 5 years, 55 million (20 million guaranteed)

(Rodgers had played well at this point, but still hadn't even finished a full season as a starter)

Chad Pennington's 2005 extension: 7 years, 64 million (23 million guaranteed)

Carson Palmer's 2005 extension: 6 years, almost 119 million dollars (about 31 million guaranteed)

(Palmer's rookie deal was 7 years, about 40 million with escalators that took it close to 50)

Michael Vick's 2004 extension: 10 years, 130 million (37 million guaranteed)


You might notice that of the players listed above, only one has even been to the Super Bowl. That'd be Hasselbeck, whose championship appearance came after he signed his extension, and to top it all off, he played poorly in the big game (for the record, so did Roethlisberger).

Some of these guys have barely even sniffed the playoffs, much less played well in them. Delhomme, on the other hand, had a winning playoff record and among the highest postseason QB ratings ever. Thus, for a QB with that record being paid less than other guys who were still all "potential", you could make a pretty good argument for the term "modest" being applicable here.

And speaking of "potential", how about some of those rookie contracts?


Mark Sanchez' rookie contract: 5 years, 60 million (28 million guaranteed)

Jamarcus Russell's rookie contract: 6 years, 68 million (32 million guaranteed)

Matt Ryan's rookie contract: 6 years, 72 million (nearly 35 million guaranteed)

Matt Stafford's rookie contract: 6 years, 78 million (about 42 million guaranteed)


Yeesh :sosp:

So was Delhomme underpaid? That's arguable. What's not is that he was making less money than guys whose list of accomplishments wasn't as good as his. The team was conscious of this, but being generally cap strapped, when they asked Delhomme to renegotiate, defer or convert salary and promised to reward him later, being a good teammate, he obliged.

Truly though, more important than the "how much" is the "when".

In 2009, on the heels of an overall good season, but with a reconstructive surgery and a playoff meltdown in the rear view mirror, the team decided it was finally the right time to reward Delhomme for his prior accomplishments. In the process, they locked him up through what would likely be the end of his career and even saved some money against the cap. Mind you, even with that contract added to the previous one, he's still making less or equal money with guys that haven't accomplished much of anything in their NFL careers. Regardless, it was more than he'd made previously, and made him the highest paid Panthers quarterback.

And then, the wheels came off.

Timing, as the saying goes, is everything.

Should Delhomme have been more handsomely rewarded earlier in his contract? If the Panthers truly felt he was their guy, then yes. It would certainly have been a better option than waiting until he was farther along, post reconstructive surgery and playoff meltdown.

How much more? Not to the level of Palmer, Brady or Manning (those salaries get ridiculous) but more than Hasselbeck? That would be fair. Somewhere in-between Hasselbeck and Aaron Rodgers would likely have been a happy medium. More than "modest", but still far less than "blockbuster".

Instead, the team chose to defer until the hour was late. And when the clock struck twelve, they wound up with egg on their faces.

The lesson in this: Strike while the iron is hot, not after the iron's been sent to the blacksmith for repair work. Money management has been key in the salary cap era. And whether the future brings us a new cap or no cap, you still have to be wise in how you spend your money.

Here's hoping they don't make similar mistakes with guys like Beason, Williams, Davis and others. For the record, I don't believe they will...

...but you never know.

#2 Kurb

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:01 PM

Don't forget Jake restructured at least once.

#3 Mr. Scot

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:04 PM

Don't forget Jake restructured at least once.

I 'membered.

So was Delhomme underpaid? That's arguable. What's not is that he was making less money than guys whose list of accomplishments wasn't as good as his. The team was conscious of this, but being generally cap strapped, when they asked Delhomme to renegotiate, defer or convert salary and promised to reward him later, being a good teammate, he obliged.

I know at least once. Could have been more than once. I don't even know if they always announce those things.

Funny thing: Jake's willingness to be a "good soldier" and the team's desire to justly reward him are both good, but in the end they produced a bad result.

#4 Wither

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:06 PM

I'll have to bookmark this and read it later. Looks to be a good post, though.

#5 Zod

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:08 PM

Throwing a ton of money at a QB who just had one of the worst playoff performances in history was probably a good marker.

#6 Fiz

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:08 PM

hey i gotta come to chicago in a few weeks to speak to investors wanna like get a beer and bro out

#7 carpanfan96

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:09 PM

Nice post, Mr. Scott. I agree, giving him the contract when they did was a bad Idea. Should have happened a lot earlier then it did.

#8 AceMan

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:13 PM

hey i gotta come to chicago in a few weeks to speak to investors wanna like get a beer and bro out




#9 Mr. Scot

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:14 PM

What will be interesting in light of this will be watching what happens if Matt Moore has a good season.

As a side note, I think we should temper the expectations there. I'll be happy with a "good" season. I'm not expecting the second coming of Tom Brady, and I don't think it's wise to set our hopes that high.

#10 CRA

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:14 PM

being stupid enough to believe that an average QB like Jake would become the first QB to legitmately return from Tommy John. IMO, that injury ended his career. Maybe a young QB can pull it off.....Delhomme never mentally was able to overcome the changes in his arm imo.

#11 Darth Biscuit

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:15 PM

That's a good way to look at it Mr. Scot. Haven't thought about it that way. My thinking of late has been that they made a huge mistake giving him that last 5 year extension and the big signing bonus, which unlike what a lot of people on here were complaining about, the 12.7 mil owed to him this year, was really part of that bonus, just paid in 2010 instead of 2009. Your point of view on this makes me somewhat less critical on the F.O.

Jake was never really a "great" QB, but 2003-2008 he was definitely an above average QB who did pretty well with what he had.

#12 Mr. Scot

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:20 PM

One of these times I'd like to take a look around the league at the ratio of QB pay to QB accomplishment.

Based on just what info I looked over today, the word "skewed" comes to mind.

#13 Darth Biscuit

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:22 PM

What will be interesting in light of this will be watching what happens if Matt Moore has a good season.

As a side note, I think we should temper the expectations there. I'll be happy with a "good" season. I'm not expecting the second coming of Tom Brady, and I don't think it's wise to set our hopes that high.


Yeah, I'll be happy if he just comes out and doesn't make stupid mistakes... hand the ball off to double trouble and keep the interceptions down.

#14 The Saltman

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:31 PM

What will be interesting in light of this will be watching what happens if Matt Moore has a good season.

As a side note, I think we should temper the expectations there. I'll be happy with a "good" season. I'm not expecting the second coming of Tom Brady, and I don't think it's wise to set our hopes that high.


I agree. He will not be perfect but we just have to be behind the guy like we have been with Delhomme in the past. The first thread about moore having a bad game and saying it reminds them of Delhomme will piss me off. Give this guy a full season before we start making judgments.

Good article Mr. Scot,

Now about that Avatar............:D

#15 jasonluckydog

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:34 PM

I said this many times Jake was paid chump money when he was tearing it up and after the end of his career the panthers rewarded him...I have no problems with that


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