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    Impact of Hutchinson Deal Being Felt In Steeler Camp

    By Pat Kirwan
    NFL.com Senior Analyst

    (May 15, 2007) -- Two months ago, a prominent NFL general manager warned me that escalating contracts were going to really affect the business of football.

    "Managing our locker rooms is getting more difficult all the time," he said, "because players with less credentials than the best players at their positions are getting deals that are throwing everything out of whack."

    Well, no better example than at offensive guard.

    If Alan Faneca signs somewhere else, Pittsburgh should blame Seattle.
    Last year, the rules changed when Steve Hutchinson, Seattle's exceptional offensive guard, got a transition tag from his team. That tag gave any other team the right to negotiate a deal with Hutchinson and have the player present it to the Seahawks to match. The Vikings broke the bank to get Hutchinson's services and changed forever the value of an offensive guard.

    In years past, a guard was not considered a position to be paid like a left tackle, but since the guards (and centers) were grouped with the tackles in the "tag" process, it was only a matter of time before guards would get paid big.

    As we entered this offseason, a number of personnel people told me the Hutchinson deal would not be the impetus for more mega contracts for the guards. Wrong! Eric Steinbach, Leonard Davis and Derrick Dockery all hit a jackpot off the Hutch deal.

    The Steelers are really the first team to feel the effects. There's no way the Steelers want to lose the best guard in football, Alan Faneca. In fact, according to his agent, there was an assumption that when Faneca reached the last year of his deal, which is 2007, that both sides would sit down and iron out an extension. Keep in mind when Faneca signed his current deal, it made him the highest-paid guard in the league.

    Now the Steelers are looking at what it will take to keep Faneca and will not pay at that level, even if it is for a future Hall of Famer.

    The subject of trading him comes up and you have to ask, why trade him? The Steelers are confident Faneca will play at a high level this season, and when he leaves for "greener" pastures, the Steelers will receive a third-round compensatory pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. If you trade him now for a second-round pick, you lose the use of his services in 2007 and wind up gaining compensation that might only be 30 picks higher than what they would get anyway.

    Next year, Faneca will be paid and his age will not be a factor. Watch the game tapes, because this 30-year-old will probably play four more seasons at a very high level. It just won't be in a Steelers uniform.

    Had Hutchinson never gotten a transition tag from the Seahawks, a lot of NFL offensive guards would have never been paid what they are getting right now. Next year, Faneca is probably going to rewrite the record book for paying guards and young players behind him will be the next to benefit.

    Five years from now, maybe it's Ben Grubbs of the Ravens or Justin Blaylock of the Falcons or Arron Sears in Tampa. Someone or all of them have a chance to get paid a salary no one ever thought was possible.
    Not to beat the dead horse but I agree with everything said in this article. We will lose Faneca next year because the FO will not give him what he is worth in the free market. And we do have these other Jack-*** teams to blame who way overpaid for very mediocre talent. It would be an insult for Faneca to accept any deal that pays him way below market value. The guy has got to look out for himself and his family. While it's easy for us to sit back and bash him for not taking whatever deal is offered "for the love of the game" and "team loyalty" and all that crap. If anyone of us had the same options, behind door #1 is 8 + million per year, behind door #2 is 6.5 which door would you take? Over the course of the 4 year deal you will lose 6-8 million staying where you are at. The choice would be easy. That is not being greedy, that is being wise and business savy. Once these guys careers are over they will never again have the opportunity to even sniff that kind of money. I will miss Faneca when he is gone but I will respect the decision that he has to make for himself and his family.

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Yea the Faneca family is hurting bigtime since the Steelers have been paying him millions for years.lol Come on stop with this he has to look out for his family crap. If the Faneca family isn't set for life with the millions he already has made then they have some serious spending issues.lol

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    Top 30 BBG7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black@Gold Forever32 View Post
    Yea the Faneca family is hurting bigtime since the Steelers have been paying him millions for years.lol Come on stop with this he has to look out for his family crap. If the Faneca family isn't set for life with the millions he already has made then they have some serious spending issues.lol
    very true!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black@Gold Forever32 View Post
    Yea the Faneca family is hurting bigtime since the Steelers have been paying him millions for years.lol Come on stop with this he has to look out for his family crap. If the Faneca family isn't set for life with the millions he already has made then they have some serious spending issues.lol

    Your absolutely right!!! Just like Prosdo said in the Alan Faneca thread, 3 year deal at $19 million is just about a fair value. I realize Faneca deserve the highest market value, but we all know the Rooneys don't operate like this. I really wish Alan would be a professional and just take the contract extension offer. It is a $6 million a season deal. Like I've said in the post after Prosdo, HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED TO BE HAPPY? I would be set for life at $1 million none the less $2 million. $6 million dollars would be insane for me to spend all in my lifetime. NO WAY!!!

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    2nd String okiesteeler's Avatar
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    i just want Faneca to disappear so that we can get back to talking about the Steelers and not just one player. This topic seems to start bad blood and arguments.

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    Top 30 BBG7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okiesteeler View Post
    i just want Faneca to disappear so that we can get back to talking about the Steelers and not just one player. This topic seems to start bad blood and arguments.
    welcome to the offseason!

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    2nd String okiesteeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBG7 View Post
    welcome to the offseason!
    Doesn't mean I have to like the whining and fighting among fellow fans and friends. The board has almost gotten to be a chore to come to, when you know that just about every post is going to have some reference to Alan "Crybaby" Faneca in it.

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    Top 30 Hawk Believer's Avatar
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    Last year, the rules changed when Steve Hutchinson, Seattle's exceptional offensive guard, got a transition tag from his team. That tag gave any other team the right to negotiate a deal with Hutchinson and have the player present it to the Seahawks to match. The Vikings broke the bank to get Hutchinson's services and changed forever the value of an offensive guard.
    The killer part of that deal was that the Seahawks were able and willing to match the Viking's offer. But they put the poison pill in the contract - they couldn't match a contract that stated that Hutch could not play in the state of Washington more than twice a year. And the NFL upheld that as fair. A terrible precident. But I digress.

    Regarding Faneca and the hard feelings that he is interested in more money... One thing I think we need to remind ourselves of as fans is that this is a business. A hardcore fan spends much of his or her life rooting for a team and riding a rollercoaster of emotions with the team's up and downs. But the grand majority of players don't have that allegiance to the team. They are people earning a living just like the rest of us and they are going to put their own (and their family's) interests in front of their employer's. Sure, Faneca has made a large amount of dough compared to most of us average joes over the last few years. But remember that NFL players are essentially gladiators who play with unguarenteed contracts. And its pretty hard to find a guy who plays a significant amount of time in the NFL who doesn't retire with some form of premanent disability. Most NFL players have less then 10 years to make their life's earnings or else start a new career (if they are phsycially able to). So why would you expect him to take an offer that is millions less than the market is offering him? I don't imagine that if he blows out his knee tomorrow that the Steelers are going to continue to pay his salary out of loyalty.

    I know its hard as a fan to step back and see things from that perspective, but I think it makes his actions seem a lot more reasonable that way. I think he'd be an idiot not to explore the market at this point.
    Last edited by Hawk Believer; 05-16-2007 at 09:14 PM.

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    Steelerlyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGold4vr View Post
    Not to beat the dead horse but I agree with everything said in this article. We will lose Faneca next year because the FO will not give him what he is worth in the free market. And we do have these other Jack-*** teams to blame who way overpaid for very mediocre talent. It would be an insult for Faneca to accept any deal that pays him way below market value. The guy has got to look out for himself and his family. While it's easy for us to sit back and bash him for not taking whatever deal is offered "for the love of the game" and "team loyalty" and all that crap. If anyone of us had the same options, behind door #1 is 8 + million per year, behind door #2 is 6.5 which door would you take? Over the course of the 4 year deal you will lose 6-8 million staying where you are at. The choice would be easy. That is not being greedy, that is being wise and business savy. Once these guys careers are over they will never again have the opportunity to even sniff that kind of money. I will miss Faneca when he is gone but I will respect the decision that he has to make for himself and his family.

    Ahem! If you are talking about a guy making 7 bucks an hour with a stack of bills on his coffee table, then I hear you, but this dude's family will be fine with the millions upon millions he has afforded them. Let's not throw that "I gotta look out for my family's security" card around too much more, it is seriously getting sickening.........I think we all know people who are just getting by, paying a couple hundred a week for daycare for one baby, making a mortgage payment for a mediocre home they intend to not stay in all their life, a couple car payments, gas, food, utilities, and the all important cell bill that every family has and many times a couple of them. Not to mention the entertainment of the cable bill, the computer's internet access and God forbid they go out to eat once a week. Those are real people we all know, I have absolutely no soft feelings for anyone of those million dollar babies, especially the unprofessional ones who run to the media and cry and I do not give a rat's *** if he was a real "warrior" for the Steelers nor do I care that he blocked for Willie in the Superbowl, he did his frickin' job and was well paid for it, plus he received bonus incentives. Do you get that at your job?
    Last edited by Steelerlyn; 05-17-2007 at 12:59 AM.
    Peace & Yours in Black 'N Gold,

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