Sharks five-eighth James Maloney is currently earning about $600,000 per season. He could earn almost double that if he were available on the open market. He’s not on the open market.
Now you’re all caught up.
The latest in the Maloney saga has coach Shane Flanagan acknowledging that Maloney is worth more money, but showing no inclination towards actually giving it to him.
“The way he is playing at the moment, he has got a good reason to ask,” Flanagan said. “Jimmy signed a contract a couple of years ago. If he were on the open market there is no doubt he would earn more money.”
“But for me, he is contracted to the club. I would like to think he is going to be here next year.”
We’ve said it before, but philosophically, we agree with the Sharks position. A winning roster is built by assembling the strongest possible roster, at the best possible price. Identifying value is critical to success in a salary cap environment, and if the Sharks had the foresight to see Maloney’s worth before anyone else did, they should be free to reap the benefits for the duration of the agreement (Maloney wasn’t forced to sign against his will, presumably that was the best offer at the time).
While it’s unfortunate for Maloney, when the shoe’s on the other foot, does anyone sympathise with the clubs who are stuck paying overs for players who are no longer worth their fat contracts (*cough* Robbie *cough*)? Players don’t volunteer to have their wages halved when their performance deserves it, so they shouldn’t expect it to be increased, either.
However, there is a catch to this particular situation. According to Fox Sports, when Maloney first asked for an upgrade, he was given permission to talk to other clubs, which is what has got them into this mess. Presumably they assumed that nobody would be willing to pay top dollar for a 31-year-old five-eighth. They were mistaken.
If they had no intention of releasing him in the first place, they should never have humored him to start with. Now, he’s reported to have attracted hefty offers from a laundry list of clubs (including the Rabbitohs, Warriors and Knights), but is being prevented by the Sharks from accepting them.
Which in turn gives us more sympathy for Maloney. Having handled the situation so poorly, at this point the right thing for the Sharks to do is to either upgrade him for 2018, or release him. Though if they’re going to release him, they have an obligation to the team to find his replacement first.
Which may well be what’s holding this whole thing up now anyway.