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.

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Tags: 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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