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Last thoughts on Miles Austin contract

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Jonathan Bales

In our new DC Times blog, I briefly discussed why the contract given to Miles Austin was the smartest move Dallas made all year.

Just after writing that, I noted that ESPN writer Calvin Watkins (who I really like) just tweeted, “To sign 2 WR to nearly $100 million worth of contracts blows me away.”

I’ve heard the same sentiments echoed a lot recently. . .how can the Cowboys sign Miles Austin to such a hefty contract when they already dished out so much cash to Roy Williams?  It isn’t business-savvy to put so much capital into one small component (the wide receiver position) of your company, is it?

Well no, but only as it relates to future decisions.  That is, if you were to build an NFL franchise, you wouldn’t want to throw 90 percent of the cash into 10 percent of the positions.  “Stars and scrubs” teams have shown to be inferior to more balanced squads (sorry, Miami Heat).

The fact that Williams already has a deal, though, should mean absolutely nothing to Dallas in terms of their willingness to sign Austin.  The retroactive thinking invoked in using Williams’ deal as justification to hold back on Austin’s is illogical.  In terms of a business, Williams’ contract is a sunk cost.  Like it or not, that money is gone.

This same sort of irrational thinking is abundant around the league.  How many times have you heard a team hint that they won’t cut a guy in August because they already paid him a big bonus in March?  Teams think their previous investment dictates future decisions, but this isn’t poker–your investment isn’t coming back.

Instead, teams need to look forward and ask, “Is Player X worth Y amount of dollars in the future?”  Because they aren’t going to regain their initial investment (as opposed to a poker player who can regain the chips he has already wagered), any past decisions should have no bearing on a team’s future ones.

For Dallas, the only thing that they needed to worry about concerning Austin’s contract is Austin–not Roy Williams.  That isn’t to say the deals of certain players can’t at all affect those of others, but rather that past decisions should have no influence on future contracts.

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10 Responses to Last thoughts on Miles Austin contract

  1. john coleman says:

    I like the move and I like the way Miles has conducted himself. I also think this is a indicator of how they feel about Miles and again I agree. It also spells out clearly that Roy must have a great season to stick.

  2. Exactly. What are your thoughts on Roy’s chances for improvement this year? I’ve been as optimistic as anyone and I do think, in the right system, he can be a really good player. Is this the right system for him though? I doubt it.

  3. chris stallcup says:

    i think he will have a better year, but i think hes gone after this year

  4. Jason Neighbors says:

    How much guaranteed money is still left on Roy’s contract?

  5. moses says:

    I agree with the analysis, but teams are pushed to start or hang on to either high draft choices or free agent signings.

    When Roy first came over he was hurt. He couldn’t play effectively. Yet, they still put him in the game which actually hurt the team and gave the impression that Roy was a complete bust.

    I think that impression exists to this day to a certain extent.

  6. Teams are certainly pushed to hold onto high draft picks and expensive free agents even when they don’t pan out, but I think the best teams tend to swallow their pride and make the correct move even if it “makes them look bad.”

  7. I actually can’t find the exact details of the deal, but I know it included $26 million guaranteed. It is set up so that cutting ties with him after this year is much easier. In short, Roy needs to play his ass off this season.

  8. Frank says:

    I totally agree with this article. Roy should be gone after this season. He will at best be the 3rd best receiver on the team, more likely the 4th or 5th. He is just too slow and not “sudden” enough. He looks like a TE. Go with Austin and Bryant and the young guys with potential as the reserves. Below are the details on Roy’s contract from Rotoworld. No way he is worth over 5 million next year and even more the year’s after that. And yes the guaranteed money is finished this year.

    10/19/2008: Signed a six-year, $54 million contract. The deal contains $26.6085 million guaranteed, including a $10 million option bonus in the second year and $2 million of Williams’ 2010 base salary. 2010: $3,452,629 (+ $9.5 million guaranteed option bonus), 2011: $5,109,971, 2012: $6.802 million, 2013: $8.498 million (Voidable Years), 2014: $9 million, 2015: Free Agent

  9. AlexDC22 says:

    I for one think that after the game he had last night, all people questioning his contract should just be quiet from now on, he showed last night that hes the real deal for years to come.

    It sucks that we lost, but it wasnt because of miles austin.

  10. Thanks for the numbers Frank. Agree completely Alex.

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