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A Ridiculous Contract Even by Raider Standards

Al Davis loves to reward his players. In recent weeks he’s made headlines by inking Richard Seymour and Stanford Routt to highly lucrative deals, placing an $11-million franchise tag on Kamerion Wimbley and basically blowing up the argument for the cash poor owners amid labor negotiations.

Just two years ago Nnamdi Asomugha’s record contract created a wave of controversy as Davis redefined the value of a shutdown corner.

When it comes to Seymour and Asomugha it’s hard to say they are “overpaid”. But considering we’re talking about two of the best in the biz at what they do then no price can really be too high.

Routt has improved each year he’s been in the league and if Aso walks then he’ll be in a position to be a number one corner. Wimbley got a one-year tag after having his best year in the league.

All of the above I can make an argument for. However, if true, I cannot begin to comprehend why the Raiders would sign Hiram Eugene to a four-year deal that will pay him $2-million on average.

As contractual details emerge in the wake of last Thursday’s deadline we slowly learn more and more of what the Raiders are banking on going forward. Jerry McDonald reported the figures of Eugene’s yet-to-be announced deal. The contract will call for Eugene, a safety best known for getting the stiff arm of death from Willis McGahee, to be paid $2-million this year, $2.25-mil in 2012, $2.75-mil in 2013 and a hideous $3.25-mil in the final year.

Now, this is pro football where contracts get disposed of more rapidly than napkins at a rib shack. That being said, perhaps there is language in this deal stating Eugene will only get paid if he makes a Pro Bowl, leads the league in interceptions or makes an open field tackle or something equally unachievable.

I just can’t wrap my mind around this.

Eugene has been a serviceable fill-in type of guy at best. He’s not a true free safety in my mind. When I think of the past greats that have played free safety in Silver and Black horrific images creep into my mind. Images that would strike fear into the heart of any man foolish enough to step foot into their sector of the field.

Eugene is hardly this type. In fact, he’s the exact opposite.

Now I do give Hiram credit. As an undrafted free agent he’s had to scrap for even nickel he’s made in this game. But this contract is inexplicable.

Inexplicable when you consider the fact that he played sparingly in 2010. Inexplicable when you think of the fact that Michael Huff is now almost guaranteed to walk. Inexplicable when you have Michael Mitchell slowly improving and Tyvon Branch playing at a Pro Bowl level.

This is a deal that makes next to no sense and I can only hope there is much more to this story.

Eugene’s deal isn’t one that breaks the bank but it does indicate that he’s being primed to be a potential starter. If not then he becomes a highly paid backup. Either way Chuck Bresnahan’s hand is already being forced as he’ll no doubt be obligated to find an expanded role for Eugene.

This just speaks to the nature of Al Davis and his scholarship mentality when it comes to keeping players that are familiar with his system. Not mad at Eugene for getting his money. I’m always happy when player get paid. I just don’t understand the need to be ultra aggressive in protecting part-timers like Eugene while being complacent and patient with hyper-productive players like Zach Miller and Michael Bush.

But that’s just me. It’s Al’s team. It’s Al’s money. It’s his routinely underachieving defense in which he keeps overvaluing players while undervaluing coaches.

Topics: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured, Chuck Bresnahan, Hiram Eugene, Kamerion Wimbley, Michael Bush, Michael Huff, Michael Mitchell, Nnamdi Asomugha, Richard Seymour, Stanford Routt, Tyvon Branch, Willis McGhaee, Zach Miller

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  • Sonny

    If your evaluation of Eugene is anything like your, “with Branch playing at Pro Bowl level” it is not worth much. Here is a little Ditty for you, Branch last year played no where near Pro Bowl level and regressed big time to having a terrible year.

    Al Davis this and Al Davis that, stop the whining. Here is another little Ditty for you, Al Davis = (14) AFC Championship Games played to date, Steelers just broke that record this year reaching (15). That Fantastic Chargers Org reached a whopping (2) in their History.

    Al Davis = (5) Super Bowls played in to date winning (3). Add in the other (5) Super Bowls the Raiders were a play away from reaching or had stole from them, Liddell Fumble & Immaculate Reception. That put Al Davis Raiders in or knocking on the Door of playing in next to 25% of EVERY SUPER BOWL PLAYED TO DATE. That is UNHEARD OF.

    When it comes to having Al Davis vs a Jerry McDonald or other Blogger and Media Types evaluate players forgive me but I take the Hall of Famer.

  • Chris Shellcroft

    Sonny,

    I don’t disagree that Tyvon wasn’t as good in 2010 as he was in ’09 but i think a lot of that had to do with the way the front four played this year. Branch is best in run support and in 2010, while the run D wasn’t great, it was much better due to the improved D-line. Thus Tyvon was not as much as a factor at the line of scrimmage. His weakness has always been in pass coverage but he did make some HUGE plays last season and when they sent him on blitzes dude was a monster.

    As far as my evaluation of Eugene…yeah…dude is 30 and somehow I doubt he’s about to blossom. How many DBs become great at 30? He is a good special teams player and he has been good as a fill-in when Huff wasn’t playing as well but overall there is no way Hiram is worth a 4-year, $10-million commitment.

    Huff takes the worst angles EVER but he is a play maker and is coming off his two best years as a Raider. Call me crazy but I’ll take the bad from Huff cause of the good he can give you over the average play of Eugene.

    As for all of Al’s accomplishments…I’m the first to say he is a football genius and for all he’s done for the sport it is a shame the way he’s treated. But none of that makes him error-free. See the free agent class of ’08 that Davis himself said was a disaster. Credit where credit is due, Al’s last few drafts have been very good. But hanging on to below average guys like Eugene and Ricky Brown makes no sense.

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