UPDATE: Predators’ GM David Poile has released a statement regarding the whole situation -
We are in receipt of the offer sheet signed between the Philadelphia Flyers and Shea Weber. Under the rules pertaining to an offer sheet, the Predators have one week to decide whether to match or accept the compensation. We have stated previously that, should a team enter into an offer sheet with Shea, our intention would be to match and retain Shea. Our ownership has provided us with the necessary resources to build a Stanley Cup-winning team. Due to the complexity of the offer sheet, we will take the appropriate time to review and evaluate it and all of its ramifications in order to make the best decision for the Predators in both the short and long-term.
We do not anticipate any further comments on this situation until we make our decision within the next seven days.
So, there you go. The Preds have every intention of matching the offer. That being said, I find the wording of this very interesting as it offers no actual commitment on matching the offer sheet, just saying that it was once their intention. Did that intention change once all the money was thrown at Weber? I guess we’ll just have to play the waiting game.
If you’re anything like me, you were awaken by a disturbance in the force around 1:30 this morning, as if a million Predators fans cried out in terror and were anything but silent. Because they have Twitter. I feared something ridiculous had happened.
Turned out, I was right. In case you missed it (where have you been!?), the Philadelphia Flyers signed Shea Weber to a 14-year, $110M offer sheet this morning. That is a lot of money. Also a lot of years. Now we know a little more and this is where it really gets fun. Come, bask in the insanity…
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) July 19, 2012
Ho-lee crap. There are front-loaded contracts, and then there’s Shea Weber’s offer sheet.
Obviously, if we look at this contract in real world terms, this is totally nuts. Thankfully, this is a hockey blog so we don’t have to. Shea Weber is arguably (or maybe even inarguably) the best defenseman in the NHL and, in sports terms, signing a player of his caliber to a $100M contract really isn’t all that crazy. If we remember all the way back to 2008, Alexander Ovechkin signed a deal with the Washington Capitals for 13 years and $124M. While the deal wasn’t as front-loaded as Weber’s, the money is far money consistent with Ovechkin making $9M in each of the first 6 seasons of the deal and $10M each year for the remainder.
Then there was Ilya Kovalchuk’s deal with the New Jersey Devils which was, I guess, mid-loaded, if anything. The deal saw Kovalchuk make $6M in his first two years and then $11M, $11.3M, $11.3M, $11.6M, $11.8M and $10M in the subsequent years followed by the contract tapering off into single digits (single digits of millions, mind you) for the remainder of his time with the Devils.
Of course there were also the wild 13-year contracts signed by Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (see what I did there?) as well which were front-loaded for the first three years at $12M, $12M and $11M before evening out into 5 years of $9M yearly salaries.
I am suddenly a little less thrilled that I found a dime this morning.
So, yeah, a lot of NHL players make a lot of money. This isn’t a surprise. The point is that, when looking at these contracts, doesn’t the Weber offer sheet make a little more sense now? If these are the figures players of Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Suter and Parise’s caliber receive, doesn’t it seem not all that unreasonable for Weber to get what he seemingly will? I say he’s absolutely worth the money if this is what the market dictates. Then again, I’m the guy who will pay $150 for a used copy of Chrono Trigger (note: I haven’t actually done this. I swear. Stop looking at me!). But, seriously, people are understandably impressed/freaking out/being noisy about this deal, I think it works and it makes sense. At least in the realm of sport contracts.
Then again, this is also a reality:
$53 million due to Weber through July 1st 2015. That’s insane.
— birky (@b1rky) July 19, 2012
So, yeah. That’s a thing.
But don’t let the money he’s going to make get you down. Remember, Shea Weber may be making all the money in the world but there’s one thing he can’t buy. A dinosaur.