“Sign me up and I’d play for free,” is the overused line heard from the lips of many typical Joe Blow fans when they see one of their team’s players miss a block, drop a pass or throw an interception.
While some sit back and reflect on the extenuating circumstances of any given misplay and recognize the responsibility of other teammates and/or coaches in the outcome of a play call, a select group of team supporters will inevitably come to the conclusion that the athlete who missed the big tackle is dogging it.
And sometimes they are 100-percent on-point with their assessment. As hard to believe as it may seem, not every professional that straps on the pads for living is as committed to their profession as we may assume.
A few million dollars in the bank account is enough to lure some young men into the good life that provides a bountiful supply of fast cars and fast women in the short term.
Of course, this isn’t the case with most players, as front-office personnel generally do an excellent job of identifying prospects and free agents that demonstrate a requisite amount of maturity to make their professional development as active members of the NFL their top priority.
Oftentimes, an underperforming player’s failure to live up to expectations is simply the result debilitating injuries that’s he’s struggling with or being miscast in a new role or scheme that doesn’t quite mesh with his skill set.
Then, of course, there are those that might have looked promising at one point, but eventually get figured out by opposing teams and aren’t able to adjust. This type of player may settle into being a JAG (just a guy) for the rest of his career despite earning considerably more than most of his run-of-the-mill peers.
The Packers aren’t immune to rostering name-brand players and fairly well-known players that are pulling in a handsome salary, but are failing miserably at earning their keep.
Because NFL contracts aren’t guaranteed for the most part, fans will customarily take that to mean that team management shouldn’t even blink an eye in parting ways with any well-paid team member that can’t deliver.
Well, if the process worked that easily, we would undoubtedly witness drastic roster overhauls on the part of the vast majority of organizations on a yearly basis.
The reality is that general managers will find themselves sticking with overpaid veterans for the mere fact that while that player’s annual salary comes off the books in the event of his release, the signing bonus he’s agreed to may be prorated or spread out over multiple seasons.
Those bonus dollars don’t vanish off a team’s salary-cap number once the athlete walks, which will prompt front-office decision makers to keep the “dead weight” around a bit longer to essentially avoid having any “dead money” on the payroll.
Another factor that will keep underachievers on the roster is the round they were drafted in. No GM will easily cut ties with a former first or second-round draft pick that will probably tarnish his legacy…and sometimes irreparably.
The following are Green Bay’s resident deadbeats that most would agree are due for a pay cut or an outright pink slip. Included are each player’s base salary and their overall cap hit on the team’s cap courtesy of spotrac.com.