There has been a lot of speculation and assumption when it comes to Eric Weddle and his expiring contract with the San Diego Chargers. Fans are wondering why the Chargers aren't re-signing the safety forthwith and why they are waiting. Some have speculated that the Chargers aren't pushing for a new contract with Weddle because of his potential declining skillset due to age, or even that the Chargers figure themselves to be smarter than everyone else in this matter.
Let's look at some actual quotes from both Eric Weddle and Tom Telesco before we try to ascertain why the Chargers and Weddle are saying what they are saying and doing what they are doing.
Telesco said when asked in June about Weddle:
Weddle contests the point that the Chargers and his agent (David Canter) have talked numbers or anything financial:
Contrary to what has recently been said by upper management, there has never been any financial numbers discussed and the Chargers have never put an offer on the table for us to consider.
It is obvious to me I am not part of this organization’s long-term plans. The NFL is a business, and I can accept that. I just wish the organization had been upfront with me from day one.
Here's what is the key part of the argument: although Weddle's agent and the team may not have specifically talked about numbers or money, Weddle's agent has submitted his playing time and how that compares to other players, which is an indirect way to talk about compensation. When you compare your own playing time to other safeties in the league, you are subtly saying that you, as a player, should be compensated more than those players because your playing time exceeds theirs. That, in essence, is talking money and discussing compensation.
This is the most important point of the entire situation, and it is often missed. Weddle's agent, Canter, submitted to the Chargers a statistical analysis of Weddle's playing time while comparing that to other players financially. Weddle and Canter basically have said that he (Weddle) has played in 98% of defensive snaps and 49% of special teams snaps and would like to be compensated accordingly (i.e. giving Weddle a significant raise--I assume). And, keep in mind, this year, only safeties Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots ($18 million) and Jairus Byrd of the New Orleans Saints ($8.1 million) will make more than Weddle in the current league year, who will make $7.5 million in base salary.
Now we don't know what numbers that Weddle and his agent are comparing to his playing time, but it seems that the Chargers feel that Weddle being the third highest paid safety in the league this year is fair compensation in their mind. With that, they probably don't want to talk compensation closer to what McCourty is making ($18 million), which is significantly more than Weddle is making, and they are willing to wait this situation out, which is why they probably haven't provided an offer or a counter-offer.
The Chargers do have some options in this situation, though. They can make an offer/counter-offer (depending on your perspective), Franchise or Transition Tag Weddle at the end of the football year, or let Weddle walk and assume that there will be a third round compensation pick in store.
While unfortunate for us as fans, we will have to wait to see if there is some sort of middle ground when it comes to this contract situation. The Chargers and Weddle have to figure out if they can come to terms on a contract that satisfies both the team and the player, which doesn't unbalance the Chargers' salary cap for the upcoming years, either. With all of that in mind, we can safely assume, much like a lot of things in life, this is all about the money.