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Oh How Times Have Changed!
Salary figures today makes 1993 salaries look paltry.
by Bob Lamb
Bills Daily Correspondent
May 15, 2002

In March, 1993, the Buffalo Bills set the NFL abuzz by giving guard, Glenn Parker, a new, 2-year contract for the unheard sum of $2 million dollars including a $100,000 signing bonus. His base salary for 1993 was $960,000 and 1994 - $1.1 million. His linemates at the time were somewhat less well compensated. Kent Hull received (at the time) a contract averaging $876,000 running through the 1994 season. Howard Ballard (Pro-Bowler) would get $700,000 for the 1993 season. Jim Richter was in the last year of his contract for $675,000 after being an All-Pro in 1991. The original starter at right guard, John Davis was coming off arthroscopic knee surgery after Super Bowl XXVII and was slated to make $425,000 for the 1993 season. While the numbers seem laughable by today's standards, it was big news back then. Only Wil Wolford would surpass Parker in the salary pecking order with his "big" expected payout soon to come as the new salary cap was coming into existence. At the time, Vic Carucci (Buffalo News) reported the "some" were joking that Parker should share some of his raise with Kent Hull, "who often aided him in pass-protection." Parker and Hull were close friends and shared season tickets at the Buffalo Sabres games.

Parker played four more seasons for the Buffalo Bills, starting 51 of 59 games. He played every position on the offensive line but center. After participating in all of the Bills' 1997 pre-season and training camps - Parker was unceremoniously cut on August 24, 1997. He was a frequent target for criticism by the "Coach" on WGR radio and many Bills' fans. Four days later he was signed by The KC Chiefs and after missing the first game of the season, started all 15 games (at RT) and served two more seasons with the Chiefs including winning the team "Player of the Year" designation in 1998. Oddly enough, the Chiefs were pursuing Parker back in 1993 but the "restricted" designation held over Parker would have meant the Chiefs would have had to compensate the Bills with a #3 draft choice. After three seasons with the Chiefs, the NY Giants signed him as an unrestricted free agent and his NFL career is now entering its' 13th season.

Today, salary escalation has made such amounts (in 1993) seem paltry. That was the first year of the "New Deal" and players were scrambling for their share. But, in 1993 some football fans were aghast at what stars were asking for. Thurman Thomas was scheduled to make $1.45 million but was making noise that $3 million would be better compensation - quarterback money (including Jim Kelly back then). The Bills were talking to WR, Bill Brooks, who wanted $1.2 million (he eventually signed a three-year, $3.5 million deal). Carlton Bailey left the Bills for the NY Giants for a three-year, $5.25 million dollar deal. Wil Wolford eventually signed with the Colts for three years and $7.5 million. Jeff Wright was looking for $1 million. Ken Davis was making an average of $500,000 and thought $700,000 would make him feel better. And, of course, Bruce Smith thought he should be paid equal to or better than Reggie Smith ($17 million - four years).

That season the Bills had made Shane Conlan, James Lofton, Pete Metzelaars, Carlton Bailey, Mitch Frerotte, Clifford Hicks, Mark Pike, Rob Awalt and Adam Linger unrestricted free agents. By May, 1993 Conlan was gone (Rams) along with; Wolford (Colts), Lofton (Raiders), Bailey (Giants), Frerotte (Seattle) and Hicks (NJ Jets). Pete Metzelaars, Mark Pike, Rob Awalt and Adam Linger all returned to the squad.

Times never change - only the faces and names - some of today's Bills' fans want John Fina's scalp, he may be as unappreciated as Parker was.

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