Star 25-year olds don't hit the open market, so free agency is all about betting on a guy's future. That's what the Colts are doing with Devin Funchess. They agreed to terms with the wide receiver yesterday for $10 million ($13M with incentives) and the financial commitment turned some heads, including ESPN's Bill Barnwell who gave the signing a D+ grade:
Barnwell makes a good point. If the Colts are going to pay a premium, which they did, why not give themselves a little more out of the deal. If Funchess performs (and hits his incentives), he'll pocket $13 million and get to hit the open market next year before hitting 26 years old. That's a pretty solid deal for him. At worst, he flops but still scores $10 million and you know some other team will take a flier on him in 2020. It's not that the Colts can't get anything out of this - Funchess could still explode this season leading to an Indy extension or a comp pick if he walks - so there is still something to be gained.
Regardless, I'm hopeful that Barnwell is wrong and the Colts get lightning to strike twice. I'm extremely meh on the under-performing Funchess, but lot of the same complaints about him were true last year about Eric Ebron, yet he flourished with a new team and system. Funchess has all of the pieces to be a productive NFL player, but if he doesn't put it together, he'll be the latest in a long line of gifted athletes who couldn't play.