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.
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:
- Eric Weddle - 7
- Dashon Goldson - 6
- Matt Giordano - 5
- Charlie Peprah - 5
- Eric Weddle - 19
- Kam Chancellor - 16
- Reggie Nelson - 16
- Troy Polamalu - 16