The Vikings’ splash in free agency this weekend is similar to 2006 when the team quickly inked several players, including running back Chester Taylor, linebacker Ben Leber, kicker Ryan Longwell and eventually Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson.
You remember that Hutchinson contract, right? The poison pill controversy with Seattle, a whopping seven-year, $49 million offer sheet that included $16 million in guarantees. That made Hutchinson the highest-paid guard in NFL history and caused many to shake their heads at the Vikings’ spending.
And today? Considering Hutchinson’s distaste for the spotlight, he’s probably thrilled that his contract is no longer record-setting or even a big deal for that matter. Not when the Jets just made guard Alan Faneca the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman by giving him a $40 million, five-year contract to leave Pittsburgh. Faneca is going to get $21 million in guaranteed money. That’s right, twenty-one million dollars guaranteed.
The market for guards continued to go sky high last year when Eric Steinbach, Derrick Dockery, Leonard Davis and Kris Dielman hit it big. Turns out the Vikings might have gotten a bargain in Hutchinson. The Boston Globe had an item this morning on the type of paydays that guards are seeing.