View Full Version : Parker contract a win-win

09-01-2006, 12:17 AM
Parker contract a win-win

By Joe Starkey
Friday, September 1, 2006

Deal or no deal?
In the NFL, that game never ends.

Players such as Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor must decide whether to take good money now or shoot for big money later, on the risk they might wind up with no money at all.

Teams must identify the precise moment at which to extend multi-year offers worth millions of dollars. They can't exceed an imposed limit (it's called a salary cap) and don't want to lose good players as free agents, so their timing must be impeccable.

Which brings us to Steelers tailback Willie Parker, whose new contract appears to be a win-win situation.

The Steelers could have had Parker at a bargain-basement rate this year and likely a decent rate next year, but they would have risked losing him as an unrestricted free agent after the 2007 season. Instead, he is theirs through 2009, thanks to a new four-year, $13.6 million contract that included a $3.75 million signing bonus.

That is the fifth-highest signing bonus in team history -- but hardly A-Rod money. Not even Heath Miller money.

If Parker repeats or builds on his breakthrough 2005 season, when he racked up the sixth-highest rushing total in franchise history, he'll be a wonderful investment. The Steelers might even consider reworking the deal before 2009.

Of course, Parker might decide he's underpaid well before then.

That's part of the game, too.

As things stand, Parker, 25, probably will have one more shot at the huge-money contract. He still has plenty of mileage left on those tires, because he hardly played in college.

Meantime, if he flops or gets hurt, he's still set for life, and little is lost on the Steelers' end. For an undrafted, unknown free agent out of North Carolina, $3.75 million up front has to feel pretty good.

Parker was the longest of long shots. Now, he's a big shot.

Taylor, a fourth-round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette three years ago, has to be thinking long and hard about his next move. He could probably rake in nearly twice as much as Parker up front if he were to sign a contract before the season-opener, which happens to be six days away -- and, as one pressbox wag put it last night, $6 million is a long way from the Bayou, baby.

The catch is that Ike can be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and, last we heard, was looking for an eight-figure signing bonus. Like a contestant on the popular game show "Deal or No Deal," he could settle for a nice payday now or take a chance that he'll stay healthy and play well and go for broke later. A lot can happen in the course of an NFL season.

Linebacker James Harrison, like Parker, took the nice payday now. A starter-waiting-to-happen at outside linebacker, Harrison could have become an unrestricted free agent in 2008, but he jumped when the Steelers proactively put a four-year, $5.5 million deal on the table in April. It included a $1.375 million signing bonus.

Not bad for an undrafted rookie out of Kent State.

The Harrison and Parker deals provided further evidence of the kind of astute management that has the Steelers - who are 31-6 in their past 37 games - going into another season with as good a chance as anyone to hit the jackpot.


09-01-2006, 03:48 AM
Take the money now IKEEEEEEEE .. be a good boy andtake the money now

09-01-2006, 03:16 PM
When I first heard that Willie got a new contract my first thought was that I would have liked to have seen another strong season from him before the Steelers threw the money at him but this seems like a well calculated pre-emptive strike by the Steelers.

Pay Willie now so you don't have to possibly pay him a bigger price later.

09-01-2006, 03:21 PM
I think the timing of the deal was just right. We pretty much got him dirt cheap if you ask me; considering the potential this guy has.

09-01-2006, 09:36 PM
Is Willies new contract any indication of how the Steelers will treat Duce? I don`t see us paying two backs 1st string $$$$$. Duce might be packing