NFC West: Mike Disner

Good, bad contracts in the NFC West

August, 2, 2013
Larry Fitzgerald has leveraged a favorable rookie contract into two massive extensions negotiated almost entirely on his terms.

The result is a contract that will begin counting between $13 million and $16.25 million against the salary cap from 2014 through 2016.

@Jason_OTC of Over the Cap has broken down this deal and several others in the NFC West as part of his "Best & Worst" series on NFL teams.

A few additional thoughts on each NFC West team:
  • Arizona Cardinals: The team has moved to unload punitive contracts. Most of the heavy lifting is done. Deals for Fitzgerald, Levi Brown and Daryn Colledge stand out as ones qualifying for potential redress in the future. Early indications suggest the Cardinals have adopted a more strategic, disciplined approach regarding contracts. They have a new management team featuring Steve Keim, Jason Licht and Mike Disner. The latter two worked for the New England Patriots previously. Disner also worked at the NFL Management Council.
  • St. Louis Rams: The Rams arguably overpaid Jared Cook and others in free agency, but they did so knowing the team would be stocking its roster with low-cost draft choices over the coming seasons. Trading the second overall pick in the 2012 draft returned high-value picks to the Rams, allowing for some luxury buys in free agency. The Rams under the old labor agreement were too frequently drafting near the very top of the round, saddling them with player-friendly deals with negative cap consequences.
  • San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers get high marks for just about all their deals, with one notable exception. Carlos Rogers' contract stands out as one case of the team paying too much. It's obvious the 49ers will want to draft for that position in 2014, especially after losing young No. 3 corner Chris Culliver to a season-ending knee injury this week. The 49ers initiated the process at safety this offseason when they used a first-round pick for Eric Reid after declining to pay a premium for Dashon Goldson.
  • Seattle Seahawks: Seattle gets low marks for its deals with Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Zach Miller. The team gets high marks for its deals with Max Unger and Kam Chancellor. Those sets of deals were negotiated under different terms. Seattle played retail prices for Harvin, Rice and Miller. Unger and Chancellor were Seattle draft choices. The Seahawks negotiated more favorable deals by approaching both players well before free agency, a tactic the 49ers have perfected. Rice and Miller got their contracts when Seattle had no one else it wanted to pay, frankly. Note that Seattle has a new contract negotiator in Matt Thomas.
There's a New England Patriots flavor to the Arizona Cardinals' front office.

Player personnel director Jason Licht and newly hired director of football administration Mike Disner both have Patriots ties.

The Cardinals announced Disner's hiring Wednesday. They also announced a previously known addition: Debbie Pollom, the St. Louis Rams' director of scouting administration, was hired as executive assistant.

Licht was a Patriots scout beginning in 1999, one year before Bill Belichick's arrival as head coach. He remained with the team and was promoted under Belichick before leaving to join the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003. Licht left the Eagles for the Cardinals in 2008, then rejoined Belichick and the Patriots for three seasons before landing in Arizona a year ago.

Disner had spent two seasons with the Patriots as an intern before graduating from Williams College with an economics degree in 2007. The Patriots hired him as a scouting assistant in 2007. Disner has spent the past four years working on the NFL Management Council, most recently as labor operations manager.

Disner's hiring isn't earth-shattering news in the NFC West. But as the Cardinals continue to remake themselves in the post-Rod Graves era, it's useful to note commonalities among some of the people hired to the front office. The team promoted Steve Keim to replace Graves as general manager this offseason. Licht also received a promotion.