Earning the first gig

It has been an exciting week for me as I finally earned my first job in the sports journalism field since I have graduated from the University of Kansas this past May.

As someone who turned 23-years-old and graduated from college in May, I had some fears. Some of my journalism classmates had jobs secured going into the summer while others had not. I was in the “still job seeking” category.

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The Royals are in .. (wait for it..) first place!

It feels weird to write this in August (but pretty cool!) – the Kansas City Royals are in first place! The wave of emotions throughout the city is indescribable. Some fans were around when the Royals won it all in 1985, which is the last time the team made the playoffs. Many fans weren’t even born at the time, so the experience of baseball in October will be new to a lot of people in town.

 

There was a strong glimpse of hope that the Royals were well on their way to the playoffs in 2003. However, the team fell apart late in the season, falling from first to third in the AL Central.

 

That is the closest the Royals ever got to the playoffs during my lifetime.

 

Greg Holland is second in the MLB in saves with 35.

Greg Holland is second in the MLB in saves with 35.

Fast forward to 11 years later – the Royals are in first place and are the hottest team in baseball.

 

After defeating the Detroit Tigers on June 17, the Royals moved to first place and fans were ecstatic. But that did not last long as the Royals went 10-17 since that day.

 

Although consistency has been a problem, the Royals figured things out after dropping out of first. Since the 10-17 run, the Royals have gone 16-3.

 

The Royals have won eight in a row and have recently beaten some of the best teams in baseball in the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants.

 

With 45 games left the go, the Royals want to keep the division and lock it up as the Tigers have been struggling lately.

James Shields leads the team in strikeouts (132) and wins (11.)

James Shields leads the team in strikeouts (132) and wins (11.)

 

If the Royals keep up this consistency, then the future is bright and there will be baseball in October in Kansas City.

 

I’ve never been a huge fan of baseball and haven’t followed it closely. Perhaps living in Kansas City has been a big reason as baseball has been hard to watch for many fans over the years.

 

The Royals are 45 games away from making all of those somber years a long-distant memory.

 

During the 9-0 start the Kansas City Chiefs had going, the team’s fanbase kept bringing up the fact that the Chiefs were beating a lot of bottom-tier teams. While that is true, those fans focused too much on the negative while the Chiefs were winning.

 

My response to those Chiefs fans at the time – enjoy the ride. The Chiefs have this kind of success only once every 10 years. Hopefully this isn’t the case, but maybe the Chiefs will be bad for another five years.

 

My point is; Royals fans, from the casual baseball fans to the patient, diehard fans, need to enjoy the ride.

 

Hopefully the Royals continue the success for many years to come, making this the start of a new era. But appreciate the moment. It has been a while since some Royals fans have felt this way while others are going through this for the first time.

 

At the end of the day, it is nice to see the city get behind the team and appreciate it for finally being aggressive and making that postseason push.

Cash, money and quarterbacks

If I could use one word to describe NFL contracts: outrageous. These contracts will only continue to grow as time goes on.

 

It does not matter whether a quarterback won a Super Bowl, a playoff game or if they’ve had success in the regular season. Quarterbacks seem to be demanding more money than ever, and they end up getting what they want.

 

Most recently, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton hit the jackpot Monday morning in a six-year deal worth $96 million with a possibility to earn $115 million if the Bengals win playoff games. Is Dalton worth $115 million? I will break it down for you.

 

Let’s get one thing straight; Dalton has been impressive for the Bengals since being drafted out of TCU in 2011. In three years, he’s thrown for 80 touchdowns and 49 interceptions with more than 11,000 passing yards under his belt. Dalton has led the Bengals to the playoffs each season.

 

Andy Dalton has to be loving life with his new contract.

Andy Dalton has to be loving life with his new contract.

Throughout all of my time covering the Chiefs and the NFL with podcasting, blogging and traditional media since 2007, I learned there is one important factor you must consider when judging a football player. How does that player do in the biggest games, or more importantly, in the postseason? Can they consistently do well in big moments?

 

Dalton is 0-3 in the postseason as he’s thrown one touchdown, six interceptions and has been sacked nine times in all three games combined.

 

As a fan and someone who has covered football, I believe a player must earn a big contract by proving he can shine in the biggest games. Dalton has yet to do that. That is not to say he can’t ever do it, but at this moment, many fans are left scratching their heads over this.

 

Colin Kaepernick signed a six-year contract earlier this summer in which he can earn up to $126 million with at least $61 million in guaranteed money.

 

One month after helping the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl in 2013, Joe Flacco scored big. He signed a six-year contract in which he can earn $120.60 million, including a $29 million bonus plus $30 million guaranteed. In the four postseason games the Ravens played throughout the 2013 playoffs, Flacco committed just one turnover, a fumble.

 

Sure, to go through a four-game postseason and commit only one turnover is imposing. But is that enough to throw a ton of money at a player? That is how it seems to be. Flacco’s contract was the biggest in NFL history until a month later.

 

It did not take long for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to steal that record after he landed a $110 million contract over the next five years.

 

Rodgers was not labeled as a greedy guy, because he proved he deserves a big contract. He had a 5-3 postseason record (now 5-4) including a Super Bowl win.

 

Out of the many players who have earned big-time contracts, only a few really deserve them. Rodgers is one of the few who deserve big contracts.

Out of the many players who have earned big-time contracts, only a few really deserve them. Rodgers is one of the few who deserve big contracts.

The fact is, NFL players, mostly quarterbacks, are expensive and their price seems to go up each year, even if they don’t stand out in big games.

 

I want to post a couple of contracts your way and explore possible outcomes in the future.

 

1. Ryan Tannehill has a 15-17 record as a starter for the Miami Dolphins while making $12.67 million throughout four years from his rookie contract, which he is halfway through.

 

2. Matt Cassel had one good season filling in for Tom Brady in New England. The Kansas City Chiefs trade a second-round pick for him. A few months before training camp, Cassel signs a six-year $63 million deal, but only got through four years with the Chiefs. He finished with a 19-28 record as a starter in Kansas City.

 

3. The Detroit Lions gave Matthew Stafford more money last year after extending him for three more years, adding $53 million. He is under contract through the 2017 season and will receive $41.5 million in guaranteed money. Stafford is 24-37 as a starter and has played in only one postseason game.

 

  • Ryan Tannehill – $12.67 in 4 years
  • Matt Cassel – $63 million in 6 years
  • Matthew Stafford – $53 million in 3 years

 

Let’s fast forward to 10 years later, in 2024. How much money could a player similar to the caliber of Tannehill make? Same question for Cassel and Stafford.

 

General managers need to be more aggressive when considering how much money they want to pay a quarterback (or any player) for a long period of time. If the quarterback can’t live up to expectations, the team’s success will be limited, and all the blame goes on the general manager for giving millions of dollars to a quarterback for underperforming.

 

Although Ryan Tannehill is a first-round draft pick, he isn't highly discussed as a top-tier or second-tier quarterback. But if he has one remarkable season, he may demand a lot of money.

Although Ryan Tannehill is a first-round draft pick, he isn’t highly discussed as a top-tier or second-tier quarterback. But if he has one remarkable season, he may demand a lot of money.

Every athlete who makes millions of dollars is capable of feeding their wife and kids, but also people outside of their immediate family. Many players simply demand a lot of money so they can take care of their own family members. Many people criticize players for wanting a lot of money for that reason.

 

However, anyone in their position would do the same thing. But making money in the nine figures through six years or less is too much and that’s honestly not necessary to take care of your family and members through an extended family.

 

I don’t know what the solution is to stopping players from earning a ridiculous amount, but there are people more qualified than me who can come up with one. What I do know is, the price of a quarterback will only grow each year. A college football freshman with a promising future has to feel good about the amount of money he could make one day.