The Jacksonville Jaguars made offensive lineman Brandon Linder the highest paid center in NFL history on Tuesday afternoon, that is if he stays at the center position. The contract appears that it will break down like virtually all of the deals the Jaguars have been handing out under Dave Caldwell and John Idzik, with the majority of the guaranteed money in the first two years of the deal with a series of team-friendly one-year options after.
It was a good move by the Jaguars and the “highest paid” jargon is only going to last until the next center signs a big contract. But, the real interesting thing I noticed shortly after the news broke was that Linder was the first Caldwell draft pick to earn a second contract. He was a member of Caldwell’s second draft class, which includes a few other players who could also end up re-signed (Telvin Smith, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee). We know the entire 2013 draft class is purged from the roster, the only playing signing a big free agent deal being Johnathan Cyprien with the Tennessee Titans.
But like I said, the interesting thing was... Linder was the first Jaguars draft pick to earn a second contract since Tyson Alualu... who was drafted in 2010. People often ask how the Jaguars have been so bad for so long, and that right there is why. You cannot draft as poorly as the Jaguars have, for as long as they have, and expect any kind of success, especially when you also strike out in free agency trying to cover those misses.
Even with Alualu re-signing, he didn’t get a big deal. He got a short-term deal to be a depth/bit player on the defensive line. The last player to get a “big” contract after their rookie deal was wide receiver Mike Thomas, who flamed out as fast as he signed.
In fact, if you look back through the Jaguars draft history, since the 2006 NFL Draft the Jaguars have only re-signed three players outside of Thomas and Alualu. Those players are Marcedes Lewis, Maurice Jones-Drew and Uche Nwaneri. That’s a total of five players the team has drafted since 2006 that have “earned” second contracts prior to Linder.
Five, six total. Out of 65 players eligible to be re-signed.