NFL offensive linemen are rarely the subject of praise, much less lucrative deals. These gridiron giants battle like behemoths in the trenches, making it possible for the Emmitt Smith’s of the world to receive first-ballot Hall of Fame recognition and for the Ochocinco’s to star in D-list celeb-reality TV bombs.
The New York Jets have all but reversed the trend of O-line undervaluing with one mighty stroke of the pen. On Tuesday, the Jets signed All-Pro center Nick Mangold to a deal worth an estimated $55 million over seven years, $22.5 million of which is guaranteed money.
This is entirely unprecedented for a center and easily puts Mangold atop the list of the highest paid centers in NFL history.
But there’s a reason why the Jets inked Mangold to a huge deal while star cornerback Darrelle Revis is holding out and not with the team: Mangold has gone about his business the right way.
Mangold has been a stud since arriving at the Jets via Ohio State University in 2006. He instantly lived up to his first-round billing and has since made two Pro Bowls and was an intricate part of a Jets’ AFC Championship bid last season that barely fell short.
Mangold, for all intents and purposes, is also a clean-cut athlete. When you think about big contracts for big players, there’s usually a good chance the recipient has a big mouth and a propensity for getting into big trouble. Mangold hasn’t even been caught up in a video roulette or strip club scandal, much less some purple sizz-yrup drama like other first-round, high-paid picks.
But with $22.5 mil in guaranteed funds, Nick certainly has a few dimes to play slots online should he ever feel the urge. Let’s just hope he steers clear of more unsavory avenues. Money be damned, a bumpy road always leads to a crash.
The Jets are betting the immediate future of their league-best running attack on the physical prowess and overall between-the-hashes mental acumen of Mangold. He started off on the right foot when time for negotiations, and that already shows a lot of promise in the young athlete in terms of demeanor and not letting celebrity go to his already naturally swollen head.
Nick didn’t hold out from training camp. He wasn’t holed up with Ricky Williams somewhere playing online video poker. He still put the work in. He still showed up when it mattered. And that’s why he got the big contract.
Unlike teammate Darrelle Revis, another in a long line of hot-streak hold-out athletes who think they’re entitled to some Bill Gates money, Mangold breathes the team concept, eats football, and lives by a man’s code. He’s been amply rewarded because, and will undoubtedly prove his worth when the season starts.