Wednesday, July 4, 2012

To keep Kevin Williams or not keep Kevin Williams, that is the question

When one of your best players comes asking you about a contract extension, what do you do?

That's what Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is facing after six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams revealed he has approached the team about a contract extension.

I think Spielman has already made his decision here, which is why 2012 could be Williams' last year wearing a purple helmet with horns on the side of it.

This is one of the things that sucks about pro football. Williams has been a great player. He's also been a durable guy who has caused no problems off the field for the Vikings. He deserves to be treated fairly and with respect. You feel like the guy is owed a contract extension from the Vikings.

But in order for a football team to remain competitive, it can't pay guys for lifetime achievement. It has to constantly turn over its roster. It must replace aging players with younger (and hopefully, better) players so a franchise can be successful over the long haul.

This is why – I think – Spielman will part ways with Williams regardless of how well he plays in 2012. Williams will be 32 soon and even though he is still a good defensive tackle, rare is the NFL player who is on the wrong side of 30 and whose play is ascending.

Can Williams be an effective player for another two-to-three years? I think he can. But he will also be looking to get paid like an effective player. Spielman can probably put those dollars to better use elsewhere, and he also saw firsthand in 2011 what happens when a team hangs on too long to the memory of what it was instead of facing up to what it is.

My advice to Vikings fans is to enjoy every snap Williams plays for the Vikings in 2012. We won't be getting an encore from him in 2013.

2 comments:

  1. My, my.

    I'm going to respectfully disagree, contingent upon terms of the extension. I've been hearing that the extension would be for less than the option in his contract ($7 million a year for two years, plus $500k workout bonuses), although I don't quite know how much. I've been of the opinion that Kevin Williams had a good 2011 season despite what others have said about him, and I don't really think he'll regress too much in the very near future.

    A big part of rebuilding is making sure a number of roster spots are filled with as many promising young players as possible, but development occurs both from coaches and veterans - keeping Kevin Williams on as the undertackle would be valuable not just as a player, but as a player developer. I've thought that Guion could be moved to the 3-technique, and that starting in the 2013 season, he could share snaps with Williams in that position while we play a rookie nose tackle next to him.

    In my opinion, a deal worth less than 5 million in cap space would be well worth it, and I think both Spielman and Williams will be working towards that understanding.

    After all, Winfield and the FO found an agreement that would reduce his pay and his snaps.

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  2. Arif:

    Thanks for respectively disagreeing. Williams returning will have a lot to do with his contract demands. I also thought he had a pretty good 2011. It wasn't 2006-2008 good, but he was still a force and that was with nobody occupying any blockers beside him (thanks Remi, Fred and Letroy).

    But again, is Williams willing to take a significant hometown discount to stay with the Vikings (his agent and the NFLPA will frown on such things)? And how interested is Spielman in bringing back Williams at age 33? I think you won't see Williams (or Winfield) back with the Vikes in 2013. But I'll be happy if I'm wrong. I think they both can still play. Didn't Darrell Green play until he was, like, 50 with Washington?

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