Here's where we're at:
- I said the San Diego Chargers should use the franchise tag on Eric Weddle
- The San Diego Chargers said they would not be using the franchise tag on Eric Weddle
So, that's the end of Eric Weddle in San Diego (probably).
For the last year, we've seen an ugly battle take place between the San Diego Chargers' front office, and more specifically their General Manager, and Eric Weddle (and his agent).
According to the whispers and rumors, Weddle is looking to continue being one of the top-paid Free Safeties in the league. The Chargers don't believe that his body will hold up, and they don't want to be left paying top dollar for an injured or less productive player.
Now, I'm an open-minded individual. I'm willing to listen to the other side of the argument. Earlier this week, I hear an NFL.com reporter say that the Chargers were right to not sign Weddle, because "Nobody is going to pay for a 30 year old Safety."
Just to be correct, Weddle is 31 years old.
So, I wondered....do NFL teams actually pay for 30 year old safeties? And, if so, are they willing to pay top dollar?
Let's take a look at the top 10 Safeties (Free and Strong) by salary in 2015, along with their age at the time they signed their contract:
- Eric Weddle, 26
- Reshad Jones, 24
- Michael Griffin, 27
- Earl Thomas, 26
- Eric Berry, 21
- Donte Whitner, 28
- Reggie Nelson, 28
- Kam Chancellor, 24
- Malcolm Jenkins, 26
- T.J. Ward, 27
If you go by cap hit instead of base salary, Nate Allen (28) and Devin McCourty (27) jump into the top 10. However, there is no real sign of an NFL team willing to sign a Safety over the age of 28 to a big money contract.
Charles Woodson, a future Hall of Famer who was 38 when he signed his 1-year deal with the Redskins, was barely in the top 20 highest paid safeties last year.
Dashon Goldson was 31 years old last year, but in the fourth year of a contract that got so absurd at the end that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded him away before he got to the end of it.
When push comes to shove, Tom Telesco may be right to not play Eric Weddle top dollar (which means he's probably right in not putting the franchise tag on him).
Weddle, and his agent, likely made a mistake in negotiating a contract that ended when Weddle was 31, because now he's stuck in a weird no-man's land where the market won't pay him what he's probably worth because there's no comparables out there that say that it's a good idea. That's not really the Chargers fault.