Find out what you’d be worth in the NFL

Written by Miles McPherson

Free agency is that time of the year in professional sports when the relationship between ambitious players and talent-seeking organizations goes from a professional exchange to a romantic, even flirtatious, courtship. Available athletes begin to visit possible suitors for their services, and discuss scheme fit, potential length in years of contract, guaranteed money, and total value of an agreement. Offers are made, deals are considered, and agreements are formed.

In the NFL, the free agency period officially began on March 9 at 4pm ET, and immediately guys like Terelle Pryor, DeSean Jackson, Martellus Bennet, and Stephon Gilmore switched teams.

Historically speaking, teams’ fates have been known to rise and fall based on the acquisition or loss of even one player. For example, the Arizona Cardinals signed Super Bowl XXXIV MVP Kurt Warner to a one-year deal in 2005 after an unspectacular year with the New York Giants.

In the five seasons prior to Warner’s arrival, the Cardinals won just 31% of their games, never qualifying for postseason play. In the 3 seasons that Warner played 11 or more games for them, the Cardinals won 56% of their games, and made it to the playoffs twice, including a Super Bowl XLIII loss to the Pittsburg Steelers. His impact was huge.

In March of 2012, the Denver Broncos signed then-free agent quarterback Peyton Manning, whom the Indianapolis Colts had recently released.

In the four years prior to Manning’s arrival, Denver won 44% of their games and made it into the playoffs just once. In the four years Manning was with the club, they won 78% of their games made the playoffs four times—including two Super Bowls—and won Super Bowl L against the Carolina Panthers. That payout seems well worth to the five-year, $96 million dollar contract they gave him in 2012.

When teams look to free agency, that’s what they’re after: the final piece to their roster that can give them an advantage over the competition. But, in that free market, value is in the eye of the beholder.

It’s often the case that players coming off of injury or disappointing statistical seasons are unable to find an offer that meets their expectations. In fact, when clubs and players don’t agree on the player’s value, they often resort to a “prove it” deal, where the athlete is given a relatively small one-year contract. The benefit for the team is that they get a good player at a bargain price. The benefit for the player is that he gets an opportunity to showcase his talent, and the promise or cashing in on open market after one year.

An example of that is Michael Crabtree. In 2014, the wide receiver put up less than 700 yards receiving with the 49ers in spite of starting all 16 games—a disappointing total for the once 1st round draft pick. As a free agent, Crabtree accepted a one-year, $3.2 million “prove it” deal to play in Oakland. He’d go on to catch 9 touchdowns and have almost 1,000 yards receiving, which led the Raiders to offer him the 4-year, $34 million dollar extension he’s currently playing under.

To a lesser degree, we’re all like pro athletes during free agency, looking to others, seeking to determine our value. We want to feel important, wanted, and desired.

To God, you and I are worth dying for.

People around us are always trying to tell us what we’re worth but, when we listen to what people say about us, it’s easy to forget that our true value is not in determined by other people—the creation—but by God, the Creator.

Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned,” meaning you and me. Every person is a sinner. Romans 6:23 says that the “wages of sin is death,” meaning that our sin must be paid for, and the payment that must be made is death. In other words, a life must be given in order for your sins and mine to be forgiven.

1 Corinthians 6:20 says that we were “bought at a price,” meaning that somebody else paid—with their death—the price due for our sins. And Romans 5:8 tells us who paid that price, saying “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

To pay the price for our sins, Jesus gave His very life. God himself literally paid the highest possible price for us and, by so doing established your value and mine, once and for all.

So when people criticize, attack, or belittle you, just remind yourself: to God, you and I are worth dying for.

Don’t let it stop there, though! In the same way that God values you—believing that you’re worth dying for—He also values those around you.

That’s why Mark 12:31 says that you must “love your neighbor as yourself.” Don’t allow yourself to become prideful because of the high value that God, your Creator, has assigned to you. Instead, accept God’s ultimate expression of love with humility by treating those around with kindness, proving that you believe God values them as highly as he values you.

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Miles McPherson is a former NFL player and the Pastor of Rock Church. You can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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