About That Eric Weddle Contract...

(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Remember in the offseason, right after Eric Weddle agreed to stay with the San Diego Chargers and signed a 5-year $40-million contract, when anonymous sources from around the league were saying that the Bolts had grossly overpaid? I do. I'm sure Eric does.

At the time, I was more concerned with correcting people than anything else. Everybody kept screaming about Weddle being made the "highest paid safety in NFL history". I, along with my lovely staff of sentinels, was quick to point out that Weddle was not the highest paid safety in history, or this year, or in the AFC West. That title goes to Eric Berry, who the Chiefs gave a 6-year $60-million contract to before ever seeing him play a snap in the NFL. I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Weddle's deal has more guaranteed money, but that's hardly the point.

The Chargers front office replied to these criticisms the same way they reply to all criticisms: faith and arrogance. Actually, I wish they would put a banner up at Chargers Park where the giant Antonio Cromartie poster used to be that said "San Diego Chargers: Faith and Arrogance". Anyway, A.J. Smith and others said that they were not paying Mr. Weddle for the player that he had been, but rather for the player they believe he could be. It's a philosophy that didn't quite work out with Jyles Tucker, but there were plenty of signs that Weddle was right on the cusp of becoming something special.

So how did his first season with this new contract stack up against other Safeties around the league? Pretty good, actually.

Interceptions

Weddle finished tied for the league lead in interceptions with 7 of them. In terms of Safeties, he was all alone. Here's how they ranked out:

  1. Eric Weddle - 7
  2. Dashon Goldson - 6
  3. Matt Giordano - 5
  4. Charlie Peprah - 5

Passes Defensed

I believe a "defended pass" means the defender to get his fingers on the ball. This is why defensive linemen get them sometimes in their stat lines and why interceptions count towards them. Once again, Weddle was the class of the Safeties.
  1. Eric Weddle - 19
  2. Kam Chancellor - 16
  3. Reggie Nelson - 16
  4. Troy Polamalu - 16

Tackles

This is an odd stat. For years, Weddle has been one of the better Safeties in the league at racking up the tackles. However, that has been more of a criticism on the Chargers front-seven those season than a compliment to Eric. With Donald Butler getting to those guys first this year, Weddle lost a lot of his tackling opportunities. Still, among Safeties, Weddle finished with the 15th most tackles for a Safety in the league.


Eric Weddle had himself a fine season, more than living up to his contract, and he did it with his best friend (though, admittedly, a flawed player) Steve Gregory playing next to him and no pass rush to help him at all. If the Chargers start next season with a good SS and a pass-rusher to compliment Shaun Phillips, Weddle's numbers might be even better in 2012.
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