Devin Hester is officially an Atlanta Falcon, with a three-year, $9 million deal signed, sealed and delivered. We don't know all the specifics of that deal just yet.
Falcons free agency tracker — Hester deal, 3 years, $9 million. $2.5 million signing bonus. | #Atlanta #Falcons http://t.co/CMKZZgO58n— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) March 21, 2014
If you weren't inclined to like this move, nothing about the contract at first blush is going to change your mind. Hester wanted $4 million per year and wound up with $3 million per year as an annual average, so it doesn't look like the two sides met in the middle. Hester got about the best deal he was going to get on the open market.
The structure of the deal is important. I expect that to become clear today, and whether the Falcons gave themselves an easy escape clause and how much of the money actually hits the cap each year of the deal will determine how happy I am with it. Either way, I am glad to have Hester on board.
If the Falcons are serious about making Hester a part of the offense, this deal immediately becomes more defensible. An annual average of $3 million for a premier returner and part-time slot receiver is at least semi-reasonable, even if I continue to think that Hester is not one of the team's four or five best receiving options.
Given where the Falcons are in their offseason planning, this contract isn't going to cost them anyone they were planning to move on in free agency. The question is whether Hester will get on the field enough and contribute on special teams to the level of this contract, and we sincerely hope he does.
Your thoughts? Stay tuned for updates on the contract structure.