So Andy Dalton agreed to a contract extension with the Bengals, and even though the details of that deal have yet to be released, there was no shortage of football types gladly passing along the numbers as if they were real. Here:
From me and Adam Caplan: Cincinnati and Bengals QB Andy Dalton reached agreement on a 6-year, $115 million contract, per two sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 4, 2014
— Eye on Football (@EyeOnNFL) August 4, 2014
BREAKING: Bengals + QB Andy Dalton reach agreement on 6-year, $115M contract ext
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 4, 2014
And that, in turn, served as the catalyst for any number of gobsmacked reactions, like so:
And Vontaze Burfict too! RT @joereedy: If Dalton is 6 years, $115 million, what is AJ Green's extension going to come in at?
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) August 4, 2014
We've all been through this process before. An NFL writer throws out numbers on a new contract, and then there is a lag, and then all of those numbers are debunked. Ryan Glasspiegel from The Big Lead noted that Schefter did this exact same thing with Colin Kaepernick's deal just two months ago:
Colin Kaeprnick's 6-year deal is worth $110+ million, per sources. Heavy guarantees, too. Record guarantees.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 4, 2014
Everything in that tweet turned out to be wrong. And yet we are still subjected to this process every single time there is a notable free agent signing or contract extension. Why?
Obviously, it behooves agents to have reporters send out the largest possible numbers for their clients. And the league also benefits from these reports because it makes it appear as if they're paying players adequately (you could argue this is not the case), and because any large amount of money given to one player is always a nice way to gin up fan resentment. So much money to play a kid's game smh. Only nerdy football nerds will care about the real numbers. That $115 million figure is the one that will be passed from bar to bar as if delivered by the town herald. That's the one that tends to stick. Everyone still remembers Michael Vick's "$100 million deal," of which he ended up seeing barely half.
But what I want to know is… what benefit is this to Adam Schefter? Schefter knows damn well those contract parameters are garbage. Why is he reporting them? Why wouldn't he just say they've agreed to an extension and then break the actual details when they're worked out? Schefter freely admitted on Twitter that the details and structure of the contract were completely unknown to him. The only reason to say the contract is worth fifty jillion dollars is because someone wanted him to. This has been going on for fucking years now, and it's embarrassing. Stop pretending these numbers are real.