By: Alex Marcheschi
The Contract Year is one of the most interesting things in professional sports. For those who don’t necessarily know what I mean, “a contract year” refers to the last year in a player’s existing contract before he’s eligible for a new deal. It’s been made famous by athletes from Darrelle Revis to Otto Porter, who just had quite the contract year performance for the Wizards this season, and he will get PAID as a result. If a player balls out in the last year of his existing contract, odds are his new deal will be much more lucrative. Look at that jump in Porter’s three point percentage this season, Otto knows where his bread is buttered.
And, so does Vontaze Burfict. Earlier this month, I wrote about how the Bengals offense will be historically fast, and hopefully, historically unpredictable. That’s reason enough to be as optimistic as one can be about the Bengals, but this morning I realized this upcoming season is a contract year for Vontaze Burfict and I had a moment of clarity. In a perfect world, the contract year will cause ‘Taze to keep his composure and put all of his effort and energy into making plays.
Very few players need to succeed in a contract year like Vontaze Burfict does. His reputation is that of a loose cannon, an untrustworthy dynamo who is capable of tossing Ben Roethlisberger around like a sack of potatoes.
That’s something that very few living humans can attest to being capable of doing. If Vontaze gets it all together this season, with every NFL GM watching his every move, he could have a really special, if not legendary, type of season.
I’m excited to see how Burfict will play with a monetary consequence attached to every play, and I for one think this could be the biggest blessing the Bengals defense has seen since Carlos Dunlap got it all together.
Now, I do realize this is still the Bengals and Vontaze isn’t your average bear. People have tried to talk ‘Taze down for years now, and he just doesn’t seem to listen, but as Jay-Z once said, “we can talk, but money talks, so talk mo’ bucks.”