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Chiefs are paying Eric Fisher for what he will do, not what he has done

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The big surprise over the weekend was Eric Fisher getting a four-year contract extension. He was due a little over $15 million over the next two seasons via the final year of his rookie contract and the fifth-year option, which was already exercised by the Chiefs. The extension covers four more years at $48 million. That new money of $12 million per year puts him near the highest paid left tackles in the game.

It is a lot of money, especially if you still view Fisher as a No. 1 draft pick bust. The key to remember here is that the Chiefs are paying for what they believe Fisher will do, not what he has done.

The Chiefs aren’t paying the guy who wasn’t very good in years one and two. They are paying the guy that has gotten better each year - a ‘steady incline’ as Fisher calls it - and the guy that the Chiefs believe still has plenty of room to grow.

“I still think he has plenty of room to improve,” Andy Reid said. “I think he will continue to do that. He has a good work ethic. He’s kind of grown up before our eyes. He was a young kid coming in from a small school and joined the National Football League. I know there are games he wished he could have back when he was young. He had a couple of injuries in there, but he persevered through it and he got rewarded.”

If you believe your player will be a good player for a while, these long contract extensions are often good deals. The cap has gone up about $10 million per year in the past three years. It will continue to go up so that in year three of this new contract Fisher’s $12 million per year may not look the same as it does today. Of course, you’re betting on the team being right with their evaluation. You have to believe the Chiefs are right to believe this is a fair contract. I can see the arguments against it.

The question that I have with this deal is why now? Why not wait one more year? From the Chiefs side, they’re getting a player they think can continue to get better for $10 million per year over the life of his deal. They’re looking at this, if they’re right, as a good deal for them. From Fisher’s perspective, he gets a lot more money and security right now so it’s obvious why he would want to do the deal.