Monday, June 09, 2008

Bear Economics

Dan is usually up on these things and he emails me as soon as it comes across the wires... another arrest of Cedric Benson, the Chicago Bears running back. He was arrested for drinking while boating and later, for drinking and driving. He just got released, so at least this soap opera is over.

On this blog, at least, Cedric is also known for other things - such as being a lousy running back on the Bears, a player who did nothing in the Super Bowl, and usually drops as soon as being hit, and can't seem to find the hole or outrun the secondary. These attributes, bad as they are, are even worse since the Bears are traditionally a running team and have little else to fall back upon on offense (remember, Hester is on special teams and not proven as a receiver).

All of these items, however, are done to death everywhere else, and one thing about this blog is that we at least try to have a fresh angle on something or just leave it alone entirely. What really interests me, however, is the economics of the deal.

Recently I wrote about REM - the band (not sleeping), and how they stopped noodling around and actually decided to put out an album people would want to listen to - which just happened to be coincidentally linked to the fact that their guaranteed contract expired and going forward they would have to earn their lavish rock star lifestyles.

The question is - did the nature of Cedric's contract encourage his lackadaisical attitude towards playing and his stupid off field behavior? I can't seem to find the details of his contract but it was for $35 million, with a significant portion guaranteed. It was a five year contract, and he "played" for three years.

What did Benson ever learn? In college he got into scrapes, with arrests and rushes with the law. He held out his rookie year, ensuring that his first year was a bust, and yet the Bears rewarded him with a guaranteed contract.

Originally I wrote this post thinking Benson was a fool, since he only has a few years to work in the NFL (I think that the average career is less than 4 years or so) and these earnings have to last him for the rest of his life. But as I researched it some more, I found that Cedric was an honors student in college and actually is probably much smarter than the average professional athlete. He was also playing in baseball's minor leagues, but as it turns out probably figured out that the NFL was an easier ticket to riches.

He essentially won the lottery when he was a high draft pick in the NFL's broken down draft situation. He received large, guaranteed money due to the fact that he was the 4th pick of the draft, and was willing to wreck his rookie year by holding out, ensuring that the rest of the team hated him, to boot.

He only played a bit of football, and probably leaves the league in decent physical shape (compared to a ten year veteran), with his guaranteed cash. He outsmarted everyone, and sends Bear fans into a stupor thinking of what they might have gotten with that 4th draft pick, and more importantly might have woken up enough to help the Bears win that Super Bowl (which unfortunately won't come back for years if not decades to come).

Here's a tip to the Bears - the next time you are throwing out big, guaranteed money to a rookie (which is something you should generally try to avoid) try picking someone that isn't already in trouble with the law and showing shifty, poor judgment as far as the team goes. Maybe just trade that pick to someone else for a couple picks in the second round, and get some hungry, Chicago Bears type players.

And Cedric, don't show your face in this town again. Keep getting arrested down in Austin.

Cross posted at Chicago Boyz

No comments: