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Thursday, March 20, 2014
Washington rare guy playing out long deal

By Paul Kuharsky

In 2009, Pittsburgh free-agent receiver Nate Washington signed a six-year, $26.8 million contract with Tennessee that included $9 million guaranteed.

In 2014, he is in line to play the final year of that deal.

What an anomaly.

Washington
Five- and six-year deals in the NFL are crafted to look pretty and sound good. But we regularly see guys cut before they get to the final year or two of scheduled money.

In 2008, defensive end Jared Allen signed a 6-year, $73.2 million contract with $31 million guaranteed with Minnesota. He played out that contract and is now weighing his options.

According to Evan Kaplan of ESPN Stats & Info, 31 players signed six-year deals in 2009. Twelve were rookies, which is different than a veteran changing teams.

Of the remaining 19, only Washington and Falcons receiver Roddy White are in line to play out their contracts. The rest either restructured their deals, signed new contracts or were cut and signed elsewhere.

Before I had those numbers, I asked Washington about how gratifying it would be to play out the entire contract.

"The person I am today is not who I was when I first got to Tennessee," Washington said. "They’ve been patient enough for me to grow into something that could be great for them. I appreciate the opportunity.

"I was born in Pittsburgh, and I was bred here in Nashville. This place truly gave me my opportunity to be a professional."

We are seeing shorter contracts these days. And many that are four-year deals, such as the one the Titans gave right tackle Michael Oher, could actually end rather painlessly for the team after just one year.

Signing bonuses can only be pro-rated over five years now. Still, New Orleans safety Jairus Byrd and Denver cornerback Aquib Talib just signed six-year contracts.

What kind of odds would you give them to be with the Saints and Broncos, respectively, in 2020?