Great news on the signing front, Antoine Bethea is in the fold. The deal is a very reasonably priced four-year $27 million deal. There are several things to consider here:
- This will take Bethea to age 30. Most safeties are done by then. He's always been durable, but safety is a demanding position. This effectively locks up Bethea through his prime years.
- The deal is front loaded to pay out $18 million in the first two years. That's brilliant because there's no cap now, and there may be no season in 2011. Even if there is some kind of cap moving forward, his number in the last two years of his deal will be modest.
- Everyone who whined about him missing OTAs needs to take a step back. Bethea smartly didn't sign his tender. If he had, he would have cost his family millions of dollars.
- This is a great deal for the club and represents FAR less money than he would have made on the open market. In essence, Bethea gets money to last him through the lockout. The club gets cost certainty and a good player locked in for four years. Ultimately, this is win-win, although I'm sure Bethea rues the day the NFL opted out of the CBA. Antrel Rolle got $37 million for 5 years, for example.
- Bethea has made about $2 million in his career up to this point. This is a BIG raise for him.