Well, it didn’t take Sam Martin long to find another job in the NFL.
Cut from a Bronco someday; Signed up by Buffalo a few days later.
In the process, he may have already improved his kicking chances in the Super Bowl next February. (We’ll start to find out when Martin and Bills open the season against the Rams tonight and the Broncos and Martin’s successor visit Seattle Monday night.)
But that’s not my reason to point out that he’s leaving Denver.
I was struck by early speculation that Martin lost his job here because he refused to reduce his $2.7 million salary for the 2022 season.
Broncos general manager George Patton later debunked the “source” report by saying unequivocally that “money has nothing to do” with Corliss Waitman’s selection. Button insisted that it didn’t matter that Whiteman’s $825,000 salary was less than a third of what Martin was scheduled to pay.
Citing Waitman’s better hanging time on his shots, his ability to shoot in the direction and the fact that he kicks with his left foot, which can present additional challenges for those taking kicks, Button said: “We picked our best punter, the most upside down punter, the biggest leg.” ”
My first thought when reading the seemingly untrue stories that Martin held off on cutting wages was, “How much does it take to live well when you’re talking about the salaries of professional athletes?” Even if he does not resist, my question remains.
I am aware that the beginning of any athlete can be a short part of a long life; that professional sport is a “business,” leaving athletes vulnerable to the proverbial numbers game; And that the profession is one injury away from ending prematurely. I also understand that maximizing those high-income years is in their best interest and the interests of their family, and that taxes and proxy deductions reduce net income.
But there is life after that. Welcome to the world the rest of us live in.
Martin wasn’t the first person to gamble and lose when it came to how much a player thought he was worth in a team duel. And there will be others. forever.
Every time a player turns down a long-term contract that’s worth a lot and has to settle for a one-year deal for less – or becomes unemployed because he thinks he’s worth more than any team is willing to pay – I question his priorities.
The truth is that money in today’s sports world has lost its meaning. Numbers are just numbers.
The Broncos and quarterback Russell Wilson just signed a five-year, $245 million contract. Granted, “only” $165 million is “guaranteed” – according to reports – meaning Wilson must remain on the list for the duration of the deal to receive the remaining $80 million.
But does anyone in the Broncomaniac family think, for a moment, about how much money? Who earns $80 million in their lifetime?
He doesn’t play Sam Martin, but his salary this year, had he stayed with the Broncos, would have been more money than a GP would have earned in nearly 10 years at the current annual wage.
For that matter, this middle school graduate will make less than a third of what Corliss Waitman is going to make this season in order to make about 65-70 balls and serve as a holder for roughly the same number of field goals and bonus point attempts.
My point is not to denounce the money being paid to professional athletes.
Like I said every time someone asks me how ridiculous the rebels get from LIV golf, if someone offered me a million dollars or more to do what I did, I would have been an idiot if I didn’t take it, assuming it didn’t require me to compromise my values. I owe it to my family.
But I like to think I would have retained some sense of perspective.
I’d like to think I would have understood the “bird in hand” principle, and the truth in saying that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence—even if it means accepting less in the interest of keeping my job or extending my career.
Denny Dressman is a veteran of 43 years in the newspaper business, including 25 years at Rocky Mountain News, where he started as an executive sports editor. He is the author of 14 books, eight of which are related to sports. You can write to Denny at email@example.com.