This is fantastic news. Donald Lee signed a four-year contract extension with the Packers. Gred Bedard reports that it’s worth about $12 million. It’ll be interesting to see how much of that total is guaranteed, but this looks like a bargain.
Lee is 7th in the NFL among tight ends in receiving yards and 10th in receptions, with 29. He is a strong deep threat up the seam with above average hands. All that, and his blocking has improved markedly.
Let’s compare that to what Visanthe Shiancoe, a former backup TE with the New York Giants, squeezed out of the Vikings this past offseason. Shiancoe signed a contract for $18.5 million over 5 years, with $7 million guaranteed. His rankings? He is 23rd in the NFL in yardage and 24th in receptions.
And how does Lee signing compare with the NFL’s biggest asshole, Jeremy Shockey? In 2005, Shockey signed a contract extension worth $26.4 million (with some $13 million in additional bonuses). Shockey currently ranks 8th (one behind Lee) in receiving yards and 8th (two in front of Lee) in receptions, with 31. (From various public sources, it looks like Shockey is the 2nd highest paid tight end in the league.)
Shockey has produced at high levels for a longer period of time and is having something of a down year in 2007. Still, that the Packers signed Lee for those numbers as a Top 10 NFL tight end is a great deal for the team. And, by all accounts, he’s not an asshole like Shockey.