Before the Feb. 1 start of the plan B free-agent signing period, kicker Steve Christie assured the Bucs he wouldn't accept another team's offer if he wasn't among Tampa Bay's 37 protected players. The next week he signed a $2.23 million, four-year deal with the Bills. Similarly, kicker Ken Willis got a substantial-salary advance from Dallas for his promise to spurn Plan B offers, and cornerback Milton Mack got a new contract as an incentive to stay with the Saints. Willis and Mack both defected to Tampa Bay for better deals.
Since Plan B's inception four years ago, teams have used various financial means to get around the 37-man limit on protected players. But Christie's change of heart last month taught at least one team, the Bucs, a lesson. "Plan B is a bare-knuckled fistfight now," says Tampa Bay coach Sam Wyche. "There are no rules."
Still, rich contracts can be had by many players left unprotected, even though only some 40 have changed teams as the April 1 deadline approaches (139 players were signed last year). Excluding quarterback Dave Krieg, whose new contract terms with Kansas City were not available, here are the top 10 multiyear contracts signed by Plan B free agents in 1992.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]