The Underdog Jets Podcast, Wayne Chrebet, Jamison Crowder
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

New York Jets legend Wayne Chrebet believes Jamison Crowder made the correct contractual decision by remaining in Northern New Jersey.

Geoff Magliocchetti

Wayne Chrebet and Robby Sabo talked about a different kind of New York green in their latest collaboration on The Underdog Jets Podcast this week: money.

New York Jets dollars and cents took center stage in episode nine. It was a timely topic considering current wide receiver Jamison Crowder restructured his contract to reduce the blow of his cap hit and remain with the Jets for the 2021 season.

“Why would he want to go somewhere else,” Chrebet said of Crowder. “They’re going to be a team on the rise, they have a young talented quarterback, (and) the offensive coordinator is great. Where would he be better off? He’s playing in New York, (the) best place in the world to play in, and he’s a fan favorite. People love him. Taking a (pay) cut stinks, but he’s still making a lot of money.”

Per Over the Cap, the minimum salary for an NFL rookie is currently $660,000. When Chrebet first entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 1995, the signing bonus for his first two years amounted to $1,500, leading to what Chrebet jokingly called “so much nickel beers and ten-cent wing nights.”

His total salary after his first season was $119,000. Chrebet commemorated the 25th anniversary of his first NFL contract last year, saying he “thought (he) was rich” upon seeing the bonus.

Per Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap, Crowder’s base reduction is down to $5 million from $10 million, though all but $500,000 is guaranteed. His previous deal had no guaranteed money, while the Jets’ cap hit drops from $11 million to $6.35 million.

Chrebet was intrigued by his fellow slot receiver’s financial situation, saying it reminded him of his own.

“One thing about Crowder is that it’s a situation (similar to) when I got my big contract, and (management was) saying, ‘Well, what he was like, do you want me here?’ (I said) yeah, I want to be here,” Chrebet recalled. “My deal was done, basically, overnight. The deal for me was: let me make what I want to make in the first three years, then you could pay me whatever you want, in the last three years.

“It looks great in the paper $100 million deal, an $8 million dollar deal. You know what, though? They’re probably going to make half of that. They’re going to release you or make you restructure and take a pay cut, or you’re going to get cut. So that’s the reason I did it like that, because I didn’t want to be a cap casualty at the end of my career because I made too much money. That kind of was the case with Crowder, he’s got a great deal when he got there. But the fact was, he was making too much money. That’s why I had to take the pay cut.”

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According to Chrebet, frontloading a contract is the best move a free agent receiver can make.

“Listen, it looks great for agents when they got this massive deal,” Chrebet said. “If you ever get a chance to look at these contracts, they’re so backloaded. Salaries go up to $10-20 million and they’re not going to make it except these quarterbacks now. They’re getting, you know, $60, 70, 80 million guaranteed, and they deserve it just based on the progression of the salary cap. But like I said, sometimes it’s too much money for them to keep you around when there are younger guys that can play for a lot less.”

Financial discussions weren’t the only things on Chrebet and Sabo’s minds. Comparing the salary situations in the NFL, NBA, and MLB led to a discussion of New York’s baseball endeavors.

Chrebet revealed his favorite pinstriped representative growing up was Don Mattingly but his likeness for Willie Randolph somewhat pushed him over to Queens when the former Yankee second baseman became the Mets manager in 2005.

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, Sabo wondered why there hasn’t been a Chrebet movie.

After Sabo quoted Chrebet from a 2002 article by then-New York Times journalist Judy Battista, No. 80 revealed that he had attended the premiere of Invincible, based on former Philadelphia Eagles underdog wideout Vince Papale.

“You know what’s funny? I saw Invincible and I met Vince Papale,” Chrebet said. “Actually, Vince Papale is like over 6-foot and they had him played by a 5-foot-7 guy.

“It would be great to have a story like that, an E60 or something like that; but hey, all in good time.”

For more on the Underdog Jets podcast, click here.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email: geoffmags90@gmail.com
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