11 Years Too Long

In a week that saw two separate organizations give two players contracts that made many fans scratch their heads it is hard to determine which one is the bigger mistake. Donovan McNabb is a Washington Redskin for the next 5 seasons, at a value of $78 million dollars ($40 million of which is guaranteed), or so we thought. The deal comes with a $3.5 million dollar buyout clause after this season ends, which basically allows the redskins to dump McNabb and be free thereafter. Given the timing of the deal it was genius plot. The redskins were able to put the bad press about the McNabb benching in the rear-view mirror and seemingly drive off into the sunset with the future pro-bowl quarterback, a move that quickly turned a public relations nightmare into a ray of sunlight, no matter how false it truly was.

On the other hand, the Philadelphia Flyers have nothing but positivity rolling their direction these days. With points in their last 10 games, a 9-0-1 record, and outscoring their opponents mightily in the process the Flyers could have rested on their laurels this early in the season, sat back and watched the beauty unfold on the ice. Instead they signed Claude Giroux to a three-year contract extension. A relative necessity considering how vital Giroux is to the success of the team. They followed that up with an 11 year, $58 million dollar contract extension to Jeff Carter. Yes, the same Jeff Carter that disappears in pressure situations, the one that misses the net 80 percent of the time in the playoffs, the one that has the odd ability to put a puck over the boards while standing in the crease, and the one who’s career scoring numbers are better with the ladies than with the puck. It’s no secret that I felt Carter should have been traded in the offseason, but instead the Flyers decided to work out a long-term deal with the former center turned winger for reasons that are unknown to everyone but Paul Holmgren.

Giving Carter such a big contract could go either way. He could realize that he needs to live up to the hype his contract is sure to create and in turn learn to love the spotlight and the pressure packed playoffs (say that 5 times fast). He may see all those numbers in his bank account and feel the urge to change his work ethic, improve his puck handling and in turn increase his vision on the ice, and perhaps become an upstanding member of society off of it. Or, he could take the money and continue to party it up in his penthouse, show up to games visibly hung-over, and live large on his boat in the offseason. Unfortunately for many Flyers fans, the second option seems to be the more believable one.

Either way, It’s clear to many that the Flyers look to have bit off more than they can chew with the enormity of the Carter deal, but if it brings the Cup home to Philadelphia for the first time since the 1975 season most fans will forgive the blunder. 11 years is a long time to be with a player, but 35 years is a longer time to be without a cup.

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