Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
It's an obvious correlation, yet how many times have you checked to see which players are in the final year of their contract?
If you are like me, probably not often. Unless someone reported it in a story you probably haven't looked to see who might be playing for a fat, new contract.
Yet, it seems that players are always having a big year in the final year of their contract.
Do you think it was a coincidence that NBA point guard Baron Davis averaged 46.67 games per season between 2002-2007, but last year played 82 games? Or that he averaged 21.8 ppg, 7.6 apg and 4.7 rpg, all more than his career average?
Or that "free-agent-to-be" Corey Maggette topped his career averages in scoring (22.1 vs. 16.1), rebounds (5.6 vs. 5.1), assists (2.7 vs. 2.2), field goal percentage (.458 vs. .450) or three-point percentage (.384 vs. .329)?
Did you ask yourself why Texas Rangers outfielder/DH Milton Bradley is hitting for a career-high slugging percentage (.584) in 2008?
Or think about Shaun Alexander's 2005 season. In the final year of his contract (2005) he posted career highs in yards (1,880) and touchdowns (27).
Last year's NFL free agent list included: QB Derek Anderson - Cleveland, RB Marion Barber III - Dallas (restricted), RB Ryan Grant - Green Bay, WR Bernard Berrian - Chicago, WR Randy Moss - New England and WR Javon Walker - Denver.
How will this help you for your upcoming NFL draft?
Here is a list of some of the players who are in the final year of their contracts; RB Steven Jackson - St. Louis, RB Brandon Jacobs - NY Giants, WR Lee Evans - Buffalo, WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh - Cincinnati and WR Roy Williams - Detroit.
On defense the list includes; LB Ray Lewis - Baltimore, LB James Farrior - Pittsburgh, DL Julius Peppers - Carolina, DB Darren Sharper - Minnesota and LB Jonathan Vilma - New Orleans.
Perhaps you should raise them a few spots in your rankings.