ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20: Running back Felix Jones #28 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates his touchown in front of Corey Webster #23 of the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Last week, New York Giants radio analyst Carl Banks, and Bleacher Report’s Pat Trania had a discussion on Twitter that centered on the injury “status” that plagued cornerback Corey Webster throughout 2013. Webster, who had his 2014 contract voided by the New York Giants on Friday, was active in only four of sixteen games for Big Blue while purportedly battling groin, hip and ankle injuries.
In fact, toward the end of the 2013 campaign, Webster’s injury status mysteriously changed from a groin injury to ankle injury before he ever even returned to the playing field late in the season.
In an injury report posted prior to the Giants’ December clash against the Seattle Seahawks, I wrote, “the perplexing status of cornerback Corey Webster continues this week, as the Giants formally list him on the injury report with an ankle injury. As the season winds down, the fact that Webster has not been placed on injured reserve seems strange. He also will not play against Seattle.”
Banks, who as a former star player in the NFL, brings a high level of credibility to discussions about locker room dynamics, provided some raw meat for avid Giants’ fan. The former 1983 first-round draft selection tweeted, “#Webster QUIT on his teammates! #QUIT.”
Banks seemed to confirm what many outside the locker room perceived, that Webster had no interest in suiting up for Big Blue in the stretch run of the 2013 season.
Trania asked about what reason Webster would have to mail in his season and speculated that winning the Super Bowl allows a player to feel entitled, but Banks would have none of it. He replied, “But what Webster did goes beyond the pale. He wouldn’t practice or play. Mystery injuries each week.”
Webster took a pay cut in 2013 in order to remain with the G-men; reducing his base salary of $7.25 million to $4 million last March. By voiding the last year of his contract on Friday, New York will free up his base salary of $1 million for the upcoming season, but the team will still have $1.25 million of dead cap space in 2014 as a result.
What that means is that keeping Webster for 2014 would be $2.25 million cap hit for a player who likely felt that the team owed him more money based upon his past production. But Banks summed up Webster’s 2013 season succinctly by tweeting, “yup 4 games played = $1 million per game.”
Add to it that Webster should have been a roster casualty after a disastrous 2012 campaign, where he was repeatedly tested and torched by teams on a weekly basis, and it makes last year’s scenario more perplexing. But the circumstances also demonstrate why teams have to be careful by handing out long term contracts to players.
And if collecting a $4 million paycheck without playing was indeed Webster’s game plan, it would be hard to imagine another team willing to risk valuable cap space on a player with a questionable work ethic.
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