The Indianapolis Colts gave free agent Ricky Jean Francois a considerably large deal this offseason for a defensive end off another team’s bench. In all fairness, Jean-Francois was backing up should-be Future Hall of Famer Justin Smith in the San Francisco 49ers’ elite defense.
Jean-Francois signed a four-year, $22 million deal during Indy’s inspired free-agent run that also included other major signings on the defensive side.
“Defense wins championships, so everybody…you always got to have that defense to make sure we can hold…be the best thing in the NFL,” Jean-Francois said, via WTHR Indianapolis. When I kept seeing the signings of what type of players we kept getting, and just, like, you kept seeing the probably one of the best defenses in the AFC getting put together, like, right in front of you.”
Major Colts high-profile offseason additions include defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin, cornerback Greg Toler and strong safety LaRon Landry, along with major names on the other side of the ball with offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus and running back Ahmad Bradshaw.
While Bradshaw would land on Forbes’ top 10 list of the NFL’s most underpaid players, Jean Francois took the sharp end of that sword by landing on their most overpaid NFL player list, coming in at No. 3.
“Given the team nature of football, an appearance on our list isn’t necessarily the player’s fault,” Forbes’ Chris Smith wrote in his summation. He went on to make excuses for Larry Fitzgerald’s inclusion on this list – I wouldn’t qualify, I would just remove Fitz from the list – but think this also applies to Jean Francois.
Forbes is basically calling him out for signing a huge contract but not having yet validated it with a body of work on the field, yet Jean-Francois is just now getting a chance to be a full-time starter in 2013 and prove that worth.
So yes, it is unfair, and a list like this should probably be dictated with a little more context prior to making it, instead of publishing the list and then qualifying things after the fact.