So, the period prior to free agency that allows, essentially, legal tampering is upon us. Between now and March 12th (4:00 pm New York time!), teams can talk with free-agents-to-be legally. We should be finding out soon just want kind of All-Pro roster Ryan Grigson will assemble for this upcoming season, and if the FanPosts on this blog are to be believed, it will consist of almost every free agent.
Jokes aside, certain players have emerged here as consensus wants (looking at you, Louis Vasquez). One of the things I like most about reading everyone's thoughts on free agency is that almost everyone is hyper-cognizant of cap implications. A number of names have been brandied about that most people would be happy to have but only at the right price (Nnamdi Asomugha, Ed Reed, but probably most notably Paul Kruger). This pervasive allergy to "over paying" has led to some discussions about how, exactly, we should define "overpaying." I figured I'd make this FanPost so we could have a centralized location for that discussion.
I'll start things off with my thoughts. It seems that there are two camps. The more traditional, more populous camp believes that players should only be paid commiserate with their on-field performance (relative to other players at their position, obviously). For this reason, people (perhaps rightfully) believe that Cliff Avril asking for 6 years/100 million dollars is extreme (spoiler alert: it is). For this school of thought, a player is overpaid if their production doesn't match their cap hit. It's easy to see why this is the more popular of the two groups: it is both simple and pragmatic.
The other camp takes a market-driven approach to setting a player's value: simply put, a player is worth as much as the market will pay for him. Under this school of thought, paying Cliff Avril 100 million over six years is acceptable if that's the contract it took to beat out the other teams. This group would define a player as overpaid if the contract he signed was significantly higher than competing offers (say Cliff Avril's nearest suitor only offered 70 or 80 million over the six year period). It's an interesting proposition because it changes the evaluation of a given signing considerably.
Let's consider the example of Paul Kruger, who is rumored to be on the verge of commanding $12 million/year. It's pretty clear that his production does not match his desired salary, but if that's what teams are willing to pay him, would we be "over paying" him if we signed him to such a contract? Is this even an important distinction?
What do you folks think?