Sam Bradford’s Contract and The Eagles Core

This is another lesson in not judging a contract until you know all the figures. I had retweeted someone who said that the Bradford deal for $18 million per year over two years shows how desperate teams are for a quarterback and how much that has overinflated the market. Of course, in a way, he was correct as $18 million per year is crazy for a guy who hasn’t done much, but this contract isn’t exactly an $18 million per year contract, but rather a masterful job by both sides in getting what they wanted here.


This is essentially a one-year deal and it’s likely that both sides know that, knowing that Bradford will either be asked for a restructure for whatever fair value they decide on with a long-term extension prior to 2017. By long-term extension, I mean either the big contract Bradford hopes for or a short-term, smaller contract in the $13-15 million range for three years or so as a stopgap until the QB they draft high in either 2016 or 2017 depending on what they believe will happen with Bradford.

When Kelly was in Philly, I was big on Dak Prescott as I think he’s a good player to take a chance on in the second through fourth round for that system, so I now think he’d be a nice pick for the 49ers and I’m not sure who I’d slot in here for the Eagles as an early round pick in 2016 and I don’t think I’m qualified to make that assessment right now. In my opinion, the Eagles have to draft someone with the potential to take over in 2017 or Bradford will have all the leverage to keep his cap hit of $23.5 million next year and that’ll be far higher than the production he’ll provide–and at 14.20% of the projected cap, he’d out earn Steve Young’s 13.08% record for a champ.

Sam Bradford Contract

So that’s a two-year, $36 million deal with $22 million guaranteed. If the Eagles were to cut Bradford before 2017, his dead money hit would be $9 million, which is only 5.44% of the projected $165.5 million cap. This gives the Eagles leverage, but the structure of it also tells me they’re likely thinking about drafting someone, at least for a developmental role. Alex Smith and Andy Dalton are the barometers for the middle of this QB market, so if Bradford plays well this year, and with his first round draft status, he’ll likely get something in the $16-18 million per year range. If Bradford becomes a guy who throws for 4000 yards, has 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, then he’ll probably get something closer to $20 million.

This contract is perfect for both sides as Bradford gets $18 million in year one, which is only $1.6 million less than the franchise tag would have cost, but he’ll only cost the Eagles $12.5 million against the cap or 8.05%. He also gets $22 million guaranteed, so he’s guaranteed more total money than the franchise tag even if he gets cut, it really is a phenomenal contract for both sides. Having Bradford in the 7-9% of the cap range is huge for this team as it’ll give them a huge advantage this season over the Redskins if Kirk Cousins is on the franchise tag at 12.62% of the cap, the Giants with Eli Manning at 15.59% and the Cowboys with Tony Romo at 13.42%. I’ve gone over it countless times, but the average for top QB cap hits for Super Bowl champions is only at 7.85% of the cap.

Super Bowl QBs

The Eagles have been one of the busiest teams this offseason, re-signing Bradford, Brent Celek and Vinny Curry, while signing Lane Johnson, Malcolm Jenkins, and Zach Ertz to extensions. This front office definitely understands the principles of sound Caponomics as they’ve made decisions over the last few years that have set them up nicely from a cap perspective, so I think they knew this going into the Bradford deal. They understood the first objective is to win the division, so set yourself up to do that by first creating a balanced salary cap.

2016 Eagles Top 30

With Bradford at the top at a reasonable number, the rest of their roster really falls into place and for the second year in a row, they seem to abide by all the metrics of Caponomics, which I discovered by breaking down the salary cap situations for all 22 salary cap era champions. Just looking at this briefly, no one on this roster is making more than any Super Bowl record at a position, every “Top X” and individual Top 30 player cost comparison is very close to the Super Bowl average, and they just spent the first two months of 2016 re-signing and extending every younger, important player for their future. Not only do the cap figures line up with Super Bowl numbers, but even after they restocked their roster during the 2015 offseason–like turning LeSean McCoy’s costs into Kiko Alonso, Demarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, plus letting Jeremy Maclin walk for a contract that averages 6.48% of the cap over the five years, while Nelson Agholor is a discount in a similar body and skill type that saves them $32 million over the first four years of both of their contracts.

Sure the Byron Maxwell deal didn’t work out, but Cary Williams wasn’t going to work out for them either and Maxwell’s deal isn’t that bad considering they can release him and save $8.1 million in 2017, while he’d only cost $3.6 million against the cap. They also invested heavily in defense in the draft and found some nice players like LB Jordan Hicks and CB Eric Rowe, who both made an immediate impact, plus two nice developmental cornerbacks in the late rounds in JaCorey Shepard and Randall Evans.

Even if they keep Maxwell around through 2020 on this contract, which is unlikely, his 6.10% of the cap average for the contract isn’t deadly. That’s the thing about having sound Caponomics, understanding you can’t spend above a certain threshold: when you do have a contract that ends up not working out, it’s never a complete and utter cap-suck. Sure, Maxwell is not worth 6.10% of the cap, but is a veteran in a young cornerback group with his skills worth 3.50% of the cap? Maybe, so maybe it’s not as much of a cap-sucking mistake as some perceive it to be. It’s definitely been a contract the Eagles are less than pleased with, but the value at the time with them needing help there last offseason, him being the best on the market, and the contract staying much more manageable than Darrelle Revis’ contract that averages 8.64% over five years and 10.47% over the first three.

To reiterate the main point above, we’re seeing a team that’s setting themselves up for the future very nicely by abiding by the salary cap rules set by the Super Bowl averages and range of figures of our Caponomics research, while also abiding by the principles that govern how your team should be built. The numbers aren’t the only thing that matter; how you get there is just as important.

They went out and signed all these guys to extensions, so they’re building from within and by building from within, you’re going to save some money because you can extend players before they hit the market. Extensions have been a huge part of how the Patriots have built their dynasty. One critical extension was Rob Gronkowski’s before the 2012 season as it locked him up through 2019, his 30 year old season, at a mere 4.44% of the cap for the biggest mismatch in the NFL. I often use this comparison because it’s such a startling comparison, but that same offseason the Lions signed Calvin Johnson to an extension through 2019 as well, his 34-year old season, but that contract averages 11.05% against the cap. That’s 6.61% of the cap less on average for Gronk.

The Patriots are the masters because they understand everything about the salary cap. For years people have talked about how the Patriots don’t draft wide receivers early, so Tom Brady has no one to throw to, but that’s a complete fallacy. Belichick’s always known how to create a dynasty through the cap and saw the inflation at wide receiver, which is why they only took on Randy Moss when he hit rock bottom pricing and why they’ve always gone to the middle tier of free agency for free agents. When the Patriots made the move towards Gronk and Aaron Hernandez, what they were about to have was double the mismatches, but for less than (or just about equal to) the price of one top receiver. While I was at the combine, I finally figured out the narrative I can use to explain it all, but Belichick’s understanding of what’s needed to win a football game led to them mastering the salary cap with a formula that no one can stop. Belichick and the Patriots know how to create value because they know what they need in every role on that team: they know which positions they should draft, which they should go to free agency for, and they have their formula for what’s worked on their three Super Bowl teams.

Using wide receiver to further that point, the Patriots have always gotten a ton of receiving production out of lower than normal costs. In terms of Super Bowl teams, the Patriots Top 3 receivers only consumed 6.93%, 5.91%, 6.68% and 7.10% of the cap. Even during the year where they had Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, and Brandon Lafell, those three only cost 7.10%, while the Super Bowl average is 8.36% for the 22 cap era champs. By comparison, the top three teams in spending are the 2006 Colts at 14.66%, the 2015 Broncos at 14.37% and the 1994 49ers at 13.25%. With Demaryius Thomas at 9.21% and Jerry Rice at 8.56%, they cost more than the Top 3 receivers for four of the Patriots champions.

The chapters I’m writing on the Patriots details how Brady’s reasonable cap number, their savings on their offensive line, pass catchers and running backs helps them construct a more complete team than other teams with big money quarterbacks. In 16 seasons, the Patriots have consistently had complete teams, so it’s not a mistake–it’s a planned formula.

The Patriots have always built from within, then went to free agency for only supplemental pieces and, while they had to restock during the 2015 offseason with bigger cost free agents, they’ve filled those holes and approached this offseason from a completely different angle. This offseason has been very Patriots-like so far; they’ve got over 92% of the cap locked in with all the extensions, which will leave space for their draft picks and a couple of lower tier free agents who will fill some holes. We can argue about the quality of their players, but from a salary cap perspective, they’re doing great work.

Like the Patriots, the Eagles locked up an important tight end, which works with the kind of offense Doug Pederson just came from running in Kansas City. They’ve got Ertz locked up through 2021 at 3.91% of the cap, which will be a massive value if he continues to progress into one of the league’s premier tight ends and mismatch creators.

Zach Ertz Contract

Lane Johnson isn’t necessarily the best right tackle in the NFL, which is how his contract is paying him, but rather than pay him his first round draft pick salary for 2016 and 2017, they extended him early and locked him into a contract that’ll cost a reasonable 5.65% of the cap for the player who will be the cornerstone of your future offensive line. They would have had to pay Johnson upwards of $11 million on his fifth year option, which adds to the costs that were already going to be there and this contract is structured in a way that it could be terminated in 2018 if he’s a complete flop. And if he’s the stuff they’re hoping he will become, he’s not at an unreasonable cap figure. Is it the most exciting or sexy move? No, but it’s a sign they’re being really intelligent with their money.

Lane Johnson Contract

Malcolm Jenkins is locked up through 2020, his 33-year old season, which isn’t too old for a safety, and he’ll cost 4.68% of the cap on average. He proved to be one of the league’s best safeties in 2015 as he was Pro Football Focus’ 2nd ranked safety behind only Harrison Smith. He was a starter in New Orleans, so he’s not someone who they brought up through the draft, but they got the former first round pick for a reasonable three-year deal worth up to $16.25 million with $8.5 million guaranteed. He only cost $2,666,666 (2.01%) in 2014 and $5,666,666 (3.96%) in 2015, which were very reasonable and that smart move rewarded them with the rights to a player who was aging and took less money than Devin McCourty for the security of the deal, rather than play 2016 under his old contract and hit free agency at 30. While McCourty averages 5.61% over his five year contract and 5.12% over the first three years of the deal, Jenkins costs 4.68% and 4.60% respectively. With the increase in corner spending, the top of the safety market has become a great place to find value and the Eagles were able to exploit that.

Malcolm Jenkins Contract

So there were those three extensions, then Vinny Curry was re-signed to a deal that’ll pay him an average of 5.05% of the cap through 2020, which just added more depth to that front seven. One of the main foundational principles of Belichick’s Super Bowl formula is that there has to be enough money left over to spend on a deep and multiple defense. His offense is about creating mismatches, while his defense is about being prepared for any match-up that’s thrown at them.

The Eagles defense is nowhere near there yet, but they’ve got a great, young core. Every great defense tries to have a star playmaker on all three levels of the defense and they have three key defensive players on different levels of the defense all locked up with Jenkins in the secondary averaging 4.68%, Curry on the line at 5.05% through 2020, and linebacker Brandon Graham averaging 4.04% of the cap on his four year deal he signed in 2015 that’ll last through 2018. They also signed inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks to an extension prior to 2015 that has him averaging 3.56% of the cap through 2019.

Younger talents like Jordan Hicks, Eric Rowe, Bennie Logan, and Kiko Alonso, if he rebounds in 2016, give them some key young players on rookie deals. Fletcher Cox is coming up on the end of his rookie deal, so that’s one piece that needs to be re-signed in the near future, but for whom they’ve now cleared the rest of the business out of the way.

The Eagles have a lot of their core defensive players locked in for the next half decade and that’s very important as that core will allow them to build a more multiple defense around those players, as that’s the trend of the league and for good reason. One of those young players who might step into a nice role for their defense is JaCorey Shepard, with whom they were comfortable enough to trade Brandon Boykin away, but who’s season was ended during training camp with an ACL tear. If Shepard comes back 100%, then there’s one example of a key role filled by a low cost guy.

I’ve gotten a little off track from the quarterback market, but it’s important to see how a reasonable cap hit starts to let everything else fall into place. In my opinion, there’s almost no chance Bradford sees his full 2017 cap hit of $23.5 million as, with all these smart moves, I wouldn’t be surprised if they do things like the Patriots and this deal starts an annual/bi-annual process of restructuring Bradford’s contract to keep the cap figure low, while rewarding him with signing bonuses like the Patriots do with Brady.

I know, Sam Bradford doesn’t have a supermodel wife who is worth more than him, but he has already earned $78,045,000 over his first six seasons, according to Spotrac, as he was the last of the big money rookie quarterbacks. I think that $78 million will give him the freedom to take lesser cap hits over the course of the rest of his career to build a strong team around him.

I’m in my twenties like Sam Bradford, so let me just put myself in his shoes. If I’m him, I look at the money I’ve already earned and I remember the beatings I took in St. Louis because, among other reasons, I had a very restrictive cap hit of 10+%, which is very hard to justify for any player on his rookie deal.

That cap hit was killer and, like I’ve detailed in that Manning/Brady article from last year, the Patriots have given a blueprint for how to keep a quarterback’s money manageable. Bradford will never be mistaken for Tom Brady, but franchise quarterbacks expect to be paid at the top of the market. If Bradford plays well in 2016, I think he gets a nice big extension, but I have a strong feeling that both sides work something out over the course of Bradford’s time in Philadelphia where they’re continually juggling his contract to create as much cap value as possible. Their front office is just far too smart to just hand him a 12+% of the cap contract, even if he plays lights out in 2016, as he’ll still have all the injury concerns as well. Bradford is a nice match for Pederson’s offense and he’ll have a strong running game to lean on, while the defense will be improved after they were just worn out in 2015 due to the pace with which Kelly’s offense was playing and as the lack of success led to more defensive drives.

With all this in mind, Cousins and the Redskins have to take note of Bradford’s contract in the short and long-term. In the short-term, the Redskins surprised the NFL in 2015. and they could seriously contend in 2016 if they plug a few holes with key free agents. As Jason has pointed out here, looking at historical data and the success of quarterbacks with Cousins’ small sample size haven’t been the most successful contracts for teams. Jason broke it down to show that any contract over $8 million a season is a risk for the Redskins, while the max if we eliminated all the back-up types of QBs was found out to be $14.2 million per year. So Jason concluded that the reports of the Redskins offer of $15 million would be a fair contract. That’s not much higher than where I ended up going here and said Cousins’ should just get the exact same first four years as Dalton’s, which brought him to about $13.75 per year.

While the Dalton figures average 7.88% per year, the new figures for Cousins average 8.66% of the cap, which isn’t a really big jump and will be competitive with the Eagles figures, whether they have Bradford or decide to go in another direction. This contract is higher than I would like, but it’s a very reasonable figure and gives the Redskins a better chance to build their roster than having Cousins’ on the franchise at over 12% of the cap would give them.

In my opinion, the main focus of an organization can be summed up by an Ozzie Newsome philosophy I mention often: Build a consistent organization, a team that competes for the playoffs every year and ideally makes the playoffs every year because if you make the playoffs enough, then eventually you’ll win a Super Bowl. The best way to do that is to ensure you’re competing for a playoff spot every year is by creating as many competitive advantages within division as possible. These can be created on the field, in the salary cap, in coaches meetings; these advantages can be anywhere, but my focus is on the salary cap.

If you have your franchise quarterback, it’s almost a certainty he’s the highest paid player on your roster and the players with the most leverage every time a negotiation comes around because every team is terrified of being without a quarterback. It’s critical that teams and their franchise quarterbacks have conversations about how the Patriots have been constructed and create an understanding that, as an organization, you want to give your quarterback as much money as he’s possibly worth–but it’s going to take a strong working relationship, cap creativity, and an understanding of what your objective is.

To close this out, let’s re-examine where Brock Osweiler, Ryan Fitzpatrick and a player I haven’t discussed yet, Robert Griffin III, might end up with three new pieces of information:

  • Bradford’s been signed for what’s essentially a one-year deal worth $12.5 million against the cap and $18 million in Year 1 money for him.
  • The Redskins last offer to Cousins was about $15 million per year and Jason has calculated that’s about the highest his contract can go.
  • We assumed Cousins was off the market already, but with Bradford certainly off the market, this makes Fitzpatrick and Osweiler the two best quarterbacks available, while RG3 is more of a crapshoot but teams may bank on his potential. Osweiler and RG3 will be 26 this season, while Fitzpatrick will be 34, so they’re two completely different situations as Osweiler and RG3 could be billed as your future franchise quarterbacks, while Fitzpatrick is in the “stop-gap” conversation.

Osweiler:

Elway recently established that “this won’t be Osweiler’s big contract” and he mentioned that it’s been hard to figure out his value as “when you look at where the salaries are on quarterbacks, either about $15 million or below $5 million. There’s no middle class of quarterbacks. So that’s where you hope you could get a fair deal with Brock’s people and his representatives.”

In my Cousins article and a second article titled “Explaining My Beliefs Regarding QB Contracts,” I noted the many factors that could be taken into account in this market and it seems that the Eagles gave Bradford a deal that’s really at the same value as what Nick Foles’ was reported as $12.5 million. I had Cousins as the top free agent quarterback, Bradford as the #2, and Osweiler as #3 for teams looking for a long-term solution, while Fitzpatrick is in his own category and I struggled to put a value on him.

So in the second article, I bumped Cousins’ up to the Dalton figures and had him at $13.75 million per year over four years, which I’ll now readjust to $15 million as that’s where the Redskins and Cousins’ seemed to have broken off talks, but also where Jason concluded fair value would be. I projected Bradford getting $11 million per year over three years, while he ended up at what’s essentially $12.5 million over one. I had Osweiler on a three-year deal worth $27 million, or $9 million per year.

In both cases, I undershot where they will all likely end up as I’m heavily influenced by the Caponomics Super Bowl figures, plus the Tom Brady figures. It’s my belief that teams and quarterbacks need to take note of where the real values are, where what works is and honestly assess the value of the quarterback in question compared to the rest of the market, rather than the top of this market. This is a market where spending can really get out of hand with multiple quarterbacks heading into 2016 with cap hits of 15-20% like Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Matt Stafford, and Joe Flacco before his restructure– but even then, Flacco is still at 14.52%. It’s not an indictment on these players, but no one can be worth 15-20% of the cap in the ultimate team sport. You add in the fact that Brady is at 9-10% of the cap, Aaron Rodgers is up around 12%, but still lower cost and more productive than these other guys, then you really start to understand the conversation every team should be having about the value of their quarterback. It’s the most expensive position, so overspending heavily is a matter of as much as 8-10% of the salary cap, rather than 2-4% at most other positions.

Taking my estimate of $9 million a year for Osweiler, let’s just add a couple million and call it $11-12 million per year over three-years with Denver and that wouldn’t be a terrible value, although it might close up some space that could’ve been used to re-sign a key free agent, but that’s a decision they’ll likely have to make. If they did increase my projection to $11 million per year, it’d be $33 million over three, which is reasonable and would cost them 5.80%, 6.65% and 7.30% if they go with a structure of $9 million in 2016, $11 million in 2017 and $13 million in 2018. If they had to go to $12 million, I couldn’t fault them as either way they’ll be under 8.00% of the cap in every year of the contract, which would still be an advantage. The Raiders are about to give Carr a big contract, while the Chiefs spend about 10-11% of the cap on Alex Smith and Phillip Rivers is in that 12+% area, which likely plays a part in why the Chargers have so many holes on that team.

Using the logic from that great article from Jason where he broke down how $15 million is likely the top of the range what Cousins should be paid, I would have to believe signing the more unproven Osweiler for $11-12 million is a fairly risky proposition, but I think paying $2-3 million more per year for Osweiler rather than taking a risk like bringing in RG3 or even Chase Daniel is worth it, especially for a team that doesn’t have a high first round pick after winning the Super Bowl. Keeping Osweiler will keep them in the race for the 2016 Super Bowl, while the other options would now.

Keep Osweiler, pay $11 million per year if you can, pay $12 million if you have to, but don’t let him hit free agency and hear offers from Cleveland, St. Louis or Houston. It’s very likely that their involvement could increase his cost up toward that $15 million number as Houston, rightfully, feels like they’re just a quarterback away from a shot at the Super Bowl. The Browns and Rams are too messy for me to get involved if I’m Osweiler.

Fitzpatrick:

I’m surprised that the Jets and Fitzpatrick haven’t come to an agreement yet as there seemed to be the sense that both sides were ready to work this out back in January. I have a feeling that both sides are having as difficult a time as I am finding his true value and justifying their position to the other side of the table. It’s possible that Fitzpatrick’s side believes he’s earned the same kind of money that Kirk Cousins’ is asking for, something in the $15-16 million range and I’m betting Fitzpatrick’s side is looking at this more like a 4-5 year deal, while the Jets want it in the 2-3 year range. While Fitzpatrick was terrific for them in 2015 and he’s been terrific under Chan Gailey, he’s still a career journeyman and that’s got to scare them away from getting too expensive. Part of me believes that Fitzpatrick has to understand a $15-16 million price tag would be restrictive, but he played well with the Texans in 2014 and they might have the cap space to swing it, which could raise his price if he hits free agency.

On the Jets side of the table, they’re probably trying to sell his relationship and success with Chan Gailey and their team’s roster construction. A team led by Fitzpatrick needs a strong team around him to compete for a championship, so he’ll understand the cost in players the Jets won’t be able to sign as their Top 51 already costs $151 million of the $155.27 million cap before we’ve even started with free agency. Add in the need for 4-5% of the cap to sign draft picks and the Jets really don’t have the space to sign him for a bigger contract.

I think that the most Fitzpatrick could realistically see from Houston would be $12 million or so, while the Jets may give him something in the $9-11 range. With the former first round pick, younger and slightly more enticing commodity Bradford signed for $12.5 million, I think Fitzpatrick’s value should really fall at $10 million a year as that’ll outpace Foles real value for that contract of $6,396,000 per year over the first two years as year number three was constructed to let them get out if he ended up being a disaster. Those cap hits have Foles at about 4.25% of the cap, which is a good barometer for where the floor of Fitzpatrick’s value is with Bradford’s 8.05% being the ceiling.

If the Jets were to give him a two or three year contract worth $10 million a year, Fitzpatrick’s average salary cap hit would be right around 6.00% of the cap, which is a really solid value for the Jets and a fair valuation of his real value on the field. Remember, the average Super Bowl champion quarterback costs 7.85% of the cap, so a lot of teams have won without the best quarterback in the NFL and to do that, you have to value him at the right cost.

All last offseason and into the season I talked about how the Jets were building the same formula as the 2000 Ravens and Ryan Fitzpatrick was the perfect guy to fill in at quarterback as his low-cost, accuracy, intelligence, and experience make him a great value for a team that needs a lower-cost quarterback, so they can spend that money saved elsewhere. For him to continue to be the perfect player for this role, he can’t make too much money as that would defeat the purpose. When it comes time to pay quarterbacks, teams (and we as fans) can’t get so excited about the need to re-sign the quarterback that we forget what he really is as a player. You look at that Ravens team with starting quarterbacks Tony Banks and Trent Dilfer combining for 5.25% of the cap, then the 2005 Steelers with Big Ben at 4.94% of the cap, plus the 2008 Steelers with him at 6.87% and you see three teams who won Super Bowls on the backs of their defense with quarterbacks who cost them right in the range we’re talking about for Fitzpatrick. It’s the same formula, so you better use the same kind of numbers.

Griffin:

I didn’t get into RG3 because I have had no idea how to value him. He’s the toughest of these to figure out because his rookie year was so phenomenal in every way, but he’s done nothing since. There are some really positive things that came out of that rookie year though, stats that could interest teams like the Broncos if they decide to let Osweiler go for more money, but also the Rams, Browns and Texans as they’re all QB needy. (Osweiler has to be aware of the impact RG3 could have on his own negotiations.) Mike Freeman from Bleacher Report wrote on March 4th that at least 10 teams are in the running for RG3, maybe as many as 15, but I’m sure that even the value these teams have placed on RG3 is all over the board. So how do we get down to what RG3 should actually be paid?

MMA analyst Robin Black was on Joe Rogan’s podcast the other week and he pointed out how we live in such a binary society now where everyone wants to choose either yes or no, either I love it or I hate it, and the RG3 debate is one of those kinds of polarizing situations where everyone who’s interested in it has a fairly strong opinion. Colin Kaepernick is in the same boat as RG3 where someone may be willing to make a play for him, but he’ll likely cost much more as his contract gives him some leverage, so RG3 is the cheaper version of the same kind of player, which will make RG3 the first play for any team in need of a quarterback with his skillset, while Kaepernick will have the leverage of his current contract.

I’m of the belief that RG3 could become a mid-market quarterback in the right situation. Something people have forgotten about his 2012 campaign is that he had a 65.6% completion percentage and he led the NFL with 8.1 yards per attempt, so it’s not just all about his legs. His 20 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions just adds to the positive narrative. He doesn’t need to run for 815 yards like he did in 2012 to provide solid value for any of the teams in the market for a quarterback, especially because a change of scenery could be just what the doctor ordered for him. (Although, the doctor will probably order an MRI too.)

If I was RG3’s agent, I would look for the best opportunity for him to just be a piece, surrounded by a great team. That 2012 Redskins team was first in the NFL with an astounding 2709 rushing yards with RG3’s 815 and Alfred Morris’ 1613, and, while I wouldn’t want RG3 to run too much, I’d make sure to find a team with a strong running game to lean on as that will help him re-establish his own confidence and a positive public perception for the next contract. The right move for RG3 right now could be the difference between playing until he’s in his late-30s and making upwards of $350-400 million over the course of his career or being out of the NFL after this contract. I am not looking for the biggest contract; I am looking for something reasonable and in a situation where RG3 has the best chance to succeed.

If the Broncos are interested in RG3, I would take whatever they were offering as that’d be a place he’d have the best chance at completely revitalizing his career. I think the value for RG3 will end up being the same as Osweiler’s around $11 million, but if the Broncos are thinking of going with RG3 as a more low-cost player, but with explosive potential, I’d be willing to take $8 million a year if I’m his agent to get that done. Even if it was $8 million a year over the next three years, I’d take it because the earnings in later years will be astronomical with the increasing cap. We must also take into account something we all forgot with this Broncos/RG3 scenario is that Gary Kubiak was Mike Shanahan’s OC in Denver from 1995 until Kubiak was hired as the Texans head coach in 2006. Most of the NFL is running the West Coast offense now, but I would assume no two West Coast O’s are more similar than the guys who spent 10 years together in Denver.

Of the other three teams who are reportedly the most likely destinations–the Rams, Browns, and Texans– I think that all three could be decent opportunities for RG3. The Rams with Todd Gurley would provide him with a power running back to alleviate the pressure on him. The Browns have been a QB cemetery, but Hue Jackson is one of the best offensive minds in the NFL and maybe he can figure out how to maximize RG3’s talents. The Texans are the team that’s most likely to make the playoffs out of these three and they have a decent running attack with a great defense, two things that will help RG3 succeed in the win column and increase his value for his next contract. Maybe being back in Texas would help him as well.

I think RG3 gets a two or three year deal worth $10-11 million per year and I hope whoever picks him up has a plan to maximize his talents, so that maybe he can rebound and give us a little excitement this year.

Tweet me @ZackMooreNFL

Be sure to check out episode #7 of The Zack Moore Show on iTunes and Soundcloud to listen to the podcast that accompanies this article and will expand on much of what I discuss here.

If you like articles like this, be sure to e-mail Caponomics@gmail.com to join the e-mail list and be kept up to date on when the book will become available this year.

  • CalculatedRisk279

    What is the reasoning behind using SB avg.? Also, why is Matt Flynn listed as the Seahawks QB instead of Wilson

    • NW86

      As for Flynn, I’m sure it’s because he was their highest QB cap hit for the season and therefore their projected starter.

      One other note – that number for Peyton is before he earned back his $4M in incentives for winning the superbowl. Maybe that’s the best number to use – I’m not sure whether those get charged to 2015 or 2016’s cap – but it was worth mentioning since that $4M would push him over that 13% mark.

      • Highest QB cap hit. The $4 million incentive counts against 2016.

    • Sorry CalculatedRisk, didn’t see the reasoning question, the reasoing behind looking at the Super Bowl average is to figure out what Super Bowl teams used to win in terms of their cap hits. I think by understanding these metrics, we understand the kind of spending numbers teams should be trying to hit and how they should value that position. By understanding what has worked and looking at the player you’re signing (as a team), you can understand if you’re creating a contract that won’t severely damage your chances to win a Super Bowl. On the other end of things, it helps you understand where you can create value whether it’s low-cost players in a market, or getting involved in the more low-cost markets like safety and running back for instance.

  • Jon

    Last year was an anomaly of their efficient cap management because Howie wasn’t running the show. Besides trading Shady for a LB on a rookie deal, Chip was awful at managing the cap. Howie learned his mistakes from the 2011 dream team and would not have overpaid for DeMarco or Maxwell in free agency. He also would have made a push to re-sign Maclin unlike Chip, and certainly wouldn’t have traded for Bradford WITHOUT an extension.

    Eagles fans should be really happy Howie is back in charge. Rather than getting rid of players, he has made a point to make players feel appreciated and signing them to long-term deals early, while giving the Eagles discounts on their cap in the long-term.

  • McGeorge

    >>I think RG3 gets a two or three year deal worth $10-11 million per year and I hope whoever picks him up has a plan to maximize his talents, so that maybe he can rebound and give us a little excitement this year.

    I can’t imagine anyone giving him that.
    Maybe a deal that has large incentives, that could pay him a lot if he performs. But not 10-11 and hope he doesn’t suck.

  • Jim

    I don’t really understand the analysis on Bradford. Yes, his cap number is $12.5m this year, but it’s a two year deal with $22m guaranteed! If it is truly a one-year deal, because he plays poor and the Eagles cut him, it was a one-year $22m contract, with $9.5m differed to 2017.
    If it’s a one-year deal because he plays very well and Eagles want to extend him, Bradford is going to extend on Bradfords terms, meaning he already “earned” $22m, since is was already guaranteed to him, and the real contract is going to be on top of that.
    If the team plays well despite Bradford in 2016 and they decide to cut him, then they are really in a bind, because you neither have a QB, nor a high draft pick for a QB, and you’re taking on $9.5m of dead money for a QB that is no longer on the roster, making it impractical to go after anyone of note in FA.
    Either case, the only way to view this as a team-friendly for the Eagles, is if they are maximizing 2016 cap space (at the expense of 2017) because they are making a one-season run at the SB. You’re basically praying for a 3rd round Russell Wilson, miracle.