Continuously Updated Free Agent Analysis

 

This list will be continuously updated, and we will hopefully have a breakdown of every significant free agent signing when all is said and done. You can find updated player contract pages for 2014 free agents here.

 

 

Henry Melton (DAL)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $27.5 million. He received a $1 million signing bonus, which is the only guaranteed portion of the contract. His 2014 base salary is $1.25 million provided he completes workouts in the offseason. If he fails to attend these workouts, his base drops by $500,000 (standard procedure in every “name” Cowboys contract). Melton earns $78,125 (max value of $1.25 million) for each week he is on the active roster, and can also earn up to $1.5 million in NLTBE incentives based on sacks and playing time.

This deal contains an option that must be picked up by mid-February of 2015. The cost of the option is just $1,000 and counts on the cap at $250 per year starting in 2014. If the Cowboys fail to pick up this option, Melton will become a free agent (and Dallas gets a $250 adjustment to their cap in 2015). If they do pick up the option, his $9 million 2015 base salary becomes fully guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

Probably the most intricately structured deal in all of free agency, this is the ultimate “prove-it” deal. Melton, who is still recovering from the torn ACL he suffered last September, receives just $1 million in fully guaranteed money. If he stays healthy and productive, he can earn up to $3.75 million in 2014. How productive he can be is the $9 million question.

Credit Jerry Jones for securing a legitimate talent for the 2014 roster despite the tight cap situation. The Cowboys risk very little here, yet may have acquired a premium difference-maker for 2014. However, with the salary cap remaining tight in 2015, my bet is on this being a one-year deal. Melton will have to have a spectacular year in order to justify his $9.25 million 2015 cap hit—the only defensive tackles with 2014 cap numbers that large are Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy.

PFF Analysis

It took time, but the Cowboys’ first big free agent move was a calculated decision that has the potential to pay huge dividends. Essentially, the Cowboys traded one 3-technique 4-3 defensive tackle for another, by opting to sign Melton and let Jason Hatcher walk in free agency. The differences between the two players range from age, production, and of course, salary. Melton’s deal is a team friendly one, as mentioned above, while the Redskins paid Hatcher almost $7 million annually with a lot of money tied into future years. Melton, still just 27 years of age, was a dominant force for the Bears in 2012 before tearing his ACL and missing the 2013 season. In 2012, he was the seventh-best defensive tackle overall and he finished with the fifth-best “pressure percentage” totaling 37 pressures in 386 pass rush snaps. He steps into the exact same role, position, and scheme that he thrived in with the Bears and that Hatcher started at in 2013. Speaking of Hatcher, in that spot last season he was able to total 51 pressures in 452 pass rush snaps for a “pressure percentage” slightly better than Melton’s in 2012. Fear not, however, as Melton stands out in another aspect of his game that Hatcher can’t compete with him in. Melton is a force in the run game. In 2012 he had the best “stop percentage” out of all defensive tackles making 23 stops on 199 run snaps. Given age, salary and skill-set, it seems like the Cowboys got the better end of what was essentially a player swap.

 

Rodger Saffold (STL)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $31,722,233. The contract contains $11 million in fully guaranteed salary. Saffold will receive a $5 million signing bonus and has a fully guaranteed base salary in 2014 and a protected $3 million roster bonus in 2015. If he is on the roster the 3rd day of the 2015 League Year his base salary will become fully guaranteed. His 2016 base salary can also become fully guaranteed if on the roster on the 3rd day of the 2016 season. From 2016 through 2018 Saffold can earn up tp $500,000 in gameday active roster bonuses. If he is on the Rams roster on the 3rd day of the 2018 League Year he will earn a $1 million roster bonus. Saffold can earn yearly playtime incentives of nearly $77,000 and escalators of $1.125 million. If Saffold is selected to a Pro Bowl or is named 1st team All NFL he has the right to void the final two seasons of the contract.

Contract Analysis

Saffold’s protected 2015 roster bonus essentially guarantees his 2015 $4 million base salary. The Rams wouldn’t save any more 2015 cap space by cutting Saffold as opposed to holding on to him, meaning the guaranteed amount here is essentially $15 million. With $3 million in dead money associated with his release prior to the 2016 season, it’s highly likely that the soon-to-be 26-year-old Saffold plays out at least three years of this deal.

PFF Analysis

After a fiasco that ended with Saffold’s contract being voided with the Raiders, he found himself back where he was originally drafted. Saffold entered free agency with the mindset that he wanted to be a starting tackle and not a guard. There’s no guarantee that he will be playing tackle with the Rams, but he re-signed anyway, probably in search of some semblance of safety following what Mark Davis and the Raiders put him through. Saffold has been a very strong offensive lineman over the past two seasons, particularly when used at guard. In 2013, he was the 18th-best guard overall, grading out positively in both pass blocking and run blocking. In 2012, he played more left tackle, and while he still graded out positively overall, he earned negative marks as a run blocker. This is a good value signing for the Rams as Saffold is a versatile lineman and if needed can play tackle in a pinch.

 

Donald Penn (OAK)

Contract Details

Two-year contract worth $10.6 million. The contract contains $4.2 million fully guaranteed with no offsets. Penn receives a $2 million roster bonus in 2014 and can earn up to $650,000 in incentives (at this time the breakdown of incentives that count on the cap in 2014 are not in-hand, but likely close to the full amount). Penn’s 2015 salary can increase by $1 million if he’s selected to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

Contract Analysis

This can be looked at as two separate one-year deals. With the use of a roster bonus and no signing bonus, the Raiders are not at all committed to Penn beyond 2014. They’re not all that committed to him anyways, as this signing was a result of theie scramble to find a left tackle after the Roger Saffold deal fell apart.

PFF Analysis

Big Donald Penn endured his worst season of his career in 2013. After finishing as a top 25 tackle for two straight years, during the 2011-2012 season, he finished as the 32nd-best in 2013 overall. He saw his overall grade drop significantly from 2011, and for the first time in that three-year stretch, he graded out as a negative pass blocker. Age might be finally catching up to Penn, but even if he is now only an adequate left tackle league-wide, this is still an upgrade for the Raiders. He may never again reach his 2011 level of play, when he finished as the 16th-best tackle overall, but Penn still offers size and an anchor in the running game. Considering the structure of the deal, it is for fair value. You would think that a team closer to contending would sign someone who fits his profile from an age and production standpoint, but apparently the Raiders are trying to win right away, skipping that whole rebuilding thing.

 

Knowshon Moreno (MIA)

Contract Details

One-year contract worth $3 million. Moreno received a $500,000 signing bonus and also has $750,000 of his base salary fully guaranteed. He will earn a $200,000 roster bonus for being on the 53-man roster at any point during the season and up to $300,000 in per game active roster bonuses.

Contract Analysis

The former 12th overall selection made a smart business decision here. Instead of signing a multi-year contract in the same price range as the other 2014 open-market backs (Donald Brown, Toby Gerhart, Rashad Jennings)—a deal that inevitably would have included zero (or very little) guaranteed money beyond year one—Moreno will now be a free agent again in 2015. If he can prove successful in a non-Peyton Manning offense, he should make more money next offseason. He’s not yet 27, and has just 245 career carries.

PFF Analysis

Moreno’s impact was one of the most difficult to gauge this offseason, as evidenced by his soft market and how long it took for him to sign a contract. If you are judging based solely off of his production in 2013, you would think that you are looking at one of the best running backs in football who just signed for less than Donald Brown and Toby Gerhart. Although Moreno was not the most elusive runner and didn’t have many breakaway runs, his contribution in the pass game was impressive. He finished as the 10th-best running back in pass-blocking efficiency, yard per route run and in our overall “pass” grade. The question remains, how much of his success can be attributed to the Peyton Manning factor? Moreno often had the luxury of running right into six and sometimes five-man boxes, with safeties and cornerbacks so committed to defending the pass. It could be difficult for him to continue his success without Manning and with a much worse offensive line as well.

 

Zach Strief (NO)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $20 million. Strief received a $5.5 million signing bonus and fully guaranteed base salary in 2014. He can earn up to $900,000 in gameday active roster bonuses in 2016 and $1.4 million in gameday active roster bonuses in both 2017 and 2018. He also has offseason roster bonuses of $1.5 and $1.4 million in those same years. Base salaries of the contract are $900,000(2014), $2,000,000(2015), $1,000,000(2016), $1,000,000(2017), and $1,100,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

A rare example of a five-year pact that may be played out in its entirety, Strief is guaranteed to be a Saint for at least two more seasons and a near-lock to be in New Orleans for at least three more. Similar to Golden Tate’s signing with the Lions, Strief is aided by New Orleans’ poor cap situation, which forced the Saints to structure this deal in a player-friendly manner.

PFF Analysis

After a down year in 2012, where Strief graded out negatively overall, he rebounded in 2013 and finished with an impressive overall grade (+26.5). Strief finished as the 7th-best overall offensive tackle, and this was no fluke, as he also finished in the top 15 overall in 2011. Strief’s impact is seen in the passing game where he finished with the third-best pass block grade among all tackles in 2013. Although he rebounded as a pass blocker in 2013, he was unable to finish with a positive grade as a run blocker, something he hasn’t done since the 2011 season. As Andrew mentioned above, based on the structure of the contract, the Saints will have to hope his play doesn’t tail off in the final years of his contract. Because Strief is not a large tackle, he relies more on his quick drop and athleticism to be an effective pass blocker. These are often attributes that diminish with age and wear and tear. There is a strong chance that the Saints could be looking at a quite expensive reserve swing tackle in just a couple of seasons, but for the now, this is a great value signing based on his recent play. As we can tell from the rest of their free agency, the Saints are all-in on 2014.

 

Michael Vick (NYJ)

Contract Details

One-year contract worth $4 million. The entire contract is fully guaranteed. Vick can earn up to $1 million in playing time incentives.

Contract Analysis

Not much to analyze in regards to the structure of this deal. Turning 34 in June, Vick is obviously not the Jets’ long-term solution. If he wins the starting job and goes on to have a productive season, he would conceivably make himself a significant amount of money as a 2015 free agent.

PFF Analysis

Although his natural talent still convinces some NFL observers otherwise, Vick has not been an effective quarterback since the 2011 season. The 2011 season was the last time that Vick finished with a positive grade overall and as a passer. Although he only played 335 total snaps in 2013, Vick graded out as our 20th-worst quarterback overall (-0.2). He graded out right around the likes of Jake Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kellen Clemmens—not exactly the most promising group. In his last two seasons he has graded out negatively as a passer individually (-4.3, -9.9) and overall (-14.2). He is no longer an effective player in real life, but yet some people believe a reunion with former offensive coordinator Marty Morninwheg can make all of the difference. The reality of the situation is that Vick has worse weapons with the Jets now than he did with the Eagles in 2012, and a much worse offensive line. Still, at $4 million for the quarterback position, it’s not by any means an egregious value. Just look at what the Titans gave Charlie Whitehurst.

 

Michael Oher (TEN)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $20 million. Oher received a $4 million signing bonus, and his $2 million 2014 base salary is fully guaranteed. $3.35 million of his 2015 base is currently guaranteed for injury only, but becomes fully guaranteed on the 5th day of the waiver period (which means the 5th day after the Super Bowl). His 2016 and 2017 base salaries are each $5 million.

Contract Analysis

For all intents and purposes, Oher gets $10 million fully guaranteed in the first two years of this deal. His 2016 and 2017 cap hits are each $6 million apiece, so Oher will have to remain productive into his 30’s in order to play out this deals entirety.

PFF Analysis

Oher’s career has continued on a downward spiral since being drafted in the first-round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Since that season, where he graded out as a top 20 tackle overall, he has compiled a (-15.5) overall grade finishing with positive marks just once over those four seasons. It all came crashing down in 2013, however, as the entire Ravens offensive line collapsed. Oher finished as the 68th-best tackle out of 76 qualifiers, and he was dead last among all tackles in run blocking (-17.0). The Titans hope that they can tap into his natural talent and get him playing tackle again like he did in 2009. That season was a long time ago. After this season, this might end up looking like one of the worst contracts given out during free agency.

 

Brandon Browner (NE)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $15.15 million. The only portion of the contract that is guaranteed is his $1 million base salary for 2014. In 2014 Browner will earn a $500,000 roster bonus if on the active roster for any game that season and will earn $150,000 per game in which he is active, up to a total of $2.4 million. In 2015 and 2016, Browner has a $2 million roster bonus that is paid on the first day of the League Year as well as another $1.6 million in per game active roster bonuses. Both the 2015 nd 2016 League Years can void if the Patriots fail to pick up an option on Browner’s contract. Base salaries of the contract are $1,000,000(2014), $1,900,000(2015), and $1,900,000(2016).

Contract Analysis

Make sure to read the above details closely, as this deal is complicated. Browner is suspended for the first four games of 2014. He will earn anywhere from $0-$2.4 million depending on how many of the Patriots’ final 12 games he is active. The Pats will have to decide if Browner is worth his $5.5 2015 million cap number (which can be as high as $6.2 million if Browner is active for the final 12 games) by the first day of the 2015 league year.

PFF Analysis

Doesn’t the Browner signing feel like it’s got Bill Belicheck’s fingerprints all over it? Browner has the talent to put his suspension behind him and get back to his level of play from the 2012 seasons. In 2012, he finished as a top 25 overall cornerback. He graded out strongly in pass coverage and against the run. Browner has the size on the outside to fit well in the Patriots scheme, especially if they use him as planned in press-man coverage. As long as he has quit using performance enhancing drugs or at least gotten better at concealing it, this will be a value signing for the Patriots.

 

Jared Allen (CHI)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $32 million. The contract contains $15.5 million in fully guaranteed salary which is comprised of Allen’s 2014 and 2015 base salaries and an $11.5 million roster bonus paid on the 10th day of the 2015 League Year. The 2017 season can void if Allen has one season of 12 or more sacks in any of the first three years of the contract, but the void will not occur until after June 1. Base salaries of the contract are $3 million (2014), $1 million (2015), $8.5 million (2016), and $8 million (2017).

Contract Analysis

In simpler terms, this is a two-year/$15.5 million deal; his cap hit will be $3 million in 2014 and $12.5 million in 2015. After 2015, Chicago can decide if they want to keep Allen and his $8.5 million base in 2016. He turns 32 tomorrow, so that’s probably unlikely.

PFF Analysis

The Bears plan at defensive end was a bit of a head scratcher. Julius Peppers’ 2014 cap hit made him impossible to keep, so it seems likely that they decided to move on from him well before free agency started. So does that mean they decided to willingly target Jared Allen as their replacement?  Allen’s play has been bottoming out for several years now and he has finished with a worse overall grade than the season before, in three consecutive years. Last season, he was nothing more than an average 4-3 defensive end. He finished as the 33rd-best at his position overall, with a negative grade as a pass rusher. It seems like the Bears are paying a lot of money for a defensive end in the later stages of his career.

 

Jon Beason (NYG)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $17 million. Beason received a $4.4 million signing bonus and has his entire 2014 base salary guaranteed and $900,000 of his 2015 base salary fully guaranteed. Beason can earn up to $800,000 in game day active roster bonuses in 2014 and $1.2 million in game day active roster bonuses in 2015 and 2016 . Both of the final two years also contain $1 million in roster bonuses that are earned if Beason is on the roster on the 5th day of the League Year. Base salaries of the contract are $730,000(2014), $3.6 million(2015), and $2.8 million (2016).

Contract Analysis

The structure of this deal makes Beason’s future in New York hard to predict. His $7,366,666 2015 cap number along with the $3,833,334 the Giants would eat in dead money by releasing him next offseason means ~$3.5 million in 2015 cap savings. With a player who’s been so prone to injury in recent years, there’s plenty of uncertainty in terms of the future of this deal.

PFF Analysis

Beason’s impact for the Giants has been debated by die hard fans for what seems like the entire offseason. Some fans, like myself, give credit to the promotion of Will Hill to the starting lineup. Others will point to the trade that brought in Beason. PFF graders tended to side with the former, and Beason finished in the bottom 10 of all inside linebackers in 2013 with a negative grade overall. The Giants see something else in Beason that transcends the numbers. Beason is the quarterback of their defense and he has the responsibility of getting his teammates in the right spots to make a play. Also, it’s not like the man can’t tackle. Beason started 11 games in New York and posted 93 total tackles (65 solo) and an interception. If you extrapolated that over 16 games, he tallies 135 total tackles with 94 solos. That would’ve tied Beason for eighth in total tackles and solos among LBs. While the Giants handed him a fairly large contract, it was not a horrible deal in relation to the market for inside linebackers (scroll down and see: D’Qwell Jackson).

 

Captain Munnerlyn (MIN)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $11.25 million. He received a $1 million signing bonus, a $1.5 million roster bonus and a $950,000 2014 base salary—equating to $3.45 million guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

Munnerlyn’s base salaries of $3.45 million (2015) and $4.2 million (2016) are not guaranteed. The Vikings would have to eat just $666,667 of dead money by cutting Munnerlyn before 2015 and $333,333 by doing so before 2016, meaning the corner does not have much job security.

PFF Analysis

Munnerlyn is one of the best values in free agency.Munnerlyn’s breakout season in 2013 was even better than many realize. He finished as the 11th-best cornerback overall out of 79 players who played 50% of their team’s snaps or more. Munnerlyn graded out positively in all measures, but he was exceptionally strong against the run (+3.8) where he graded out as the sixth-best cornerback.The Vikings aren’t only getting a tough cornerback, but they are also getting a playmaker. Last season, Munnerlyn had two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. In the past two seasons, he’s scored four times. Munnerlyn also racked up 74 tackles. Only four cornerbacks finished with more. Munnerlyn also has 5.5 sacks in his career, which is somewhat rare out of a corner.  His 5-foot-8, 195-pound frame is likely best suited for the slot, but he has experience and success as an outside cornerback as well.

 

Antonio Cromartie (ARI)

Contract Details

One-year contract worth. $3.5 million. The deal contains $3.25 million in fully guaranteed salary. The only portion of the contract non-guaranteed is a $250,000 roster bonus that is paid out in weekly installments for each game active. There are also up to $750,000 in incentives in the contract.

Contract Analysis

Not much to see here in terms of breaking down this deal. After a very poor 2013, Cromartie had few open-market-suitors. He’ll be 30 next month, meaning he won’t hit it big as a free agent in 2015 regardless of how he performs on the field this coming season.

PFF Analysis

Cromartie was slowed down by a hip injury in 2013 that limited his flexibility and mobility. To be frank, it made him a shell of his former self and he became a consistent target for opposing quarterbacks. He was targeted 92 total times in 2013 and opposing quarterbacks had a 100.2 passer rating when throwing at him. If you compare that to when he was healthy in 2012, you will see an entirely different player. In 2012, he was targeted almost as much (87 times), but quarterbacks finished with just a 69.7 passer rating when throwing at him. If Cromartie can get back to his 2012 form, or anywhere close, this signing could be a great value.

 

Andrew Hawkins (CLE)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $13.6 million. Hawkins was a restricted free agent but his original team, the Cincinnati Bengals, did not match the offer sheet. The deal has $6.8 million guaranteed. Hawkins will receive $10.8 million in the first two years.

Contract Analysis

Front-loading the contract of a restricted free agent is a sensible technique, as the goal is to force the hand of the RFA’s current team. However, it didn’t really matter here, as the dormant Bengals have plenty of cap space but simply choose not to spend it. But the Browns exhibited this front-loaded technique with Hawkins anyways—80% of this contract’s total money will be paid in years one and two.

PFF Analysis

Most of what we know about Andrew Hawkins comes from a small sample size on the field, cut ups of action on Hard Knocks, and his peripherals. Those peripherals, however, are quite impressive. Hawkins has 4.34 forty-yard-dash speed and incredible lateral agility that compares with the league’s quickest players. At the same time, in 2013, he only played 25% of his team’s snaps. We don’t have much to work with. However, in 2012, we saw Hawkins put his ability to the test displaying his lateral agility with impressive yardage after the catch. 350 of his 533 receiving yards in 2012 came after the catch. Hawkins will be used as a gadget player in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, in what might potentially be similar to how the Redskins used Aldrick Robinson in 2013. I expect him to be used in a bigger role, however, because of the size of the contract he was signed to.

 

Julian Edelman (NE)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $17 million. Edelman received a $5 million signing bonus. He can earn up to $500,000 in game day active roster bonuses in 2014 and $750,000 per year in the final three years of his contract.

Contract Analysis

While the true fully guaranteed amount here is $6 million—with technically nothing guaranteed beyond this coming season—the contract’s structure is player-friendly. Edelman will absolutely earn $3 million in 2015, meaning the true guaranteed amount here is $9 million. There’s a good chance he plays out this deal’s entirety.

PFF Analysis

Previously viewed as simply an average slot receiver, Edelman showed a change of gear and ability to make things happen before and after the catch in 2013. He became Tom Brady’s go-to target and ended the season with some pretty impressive stats. In 2013, Edelman had the fourth-best catch rate in the slot (74.0), as he caught 54 of the 73 passes thrown to him while in the slot. The two players who caught more passes in the slot, ran a combined 176 more routes in the slot. He finished the season with 105 catches on 151 targets, and his 1,056 receiving yards ranked him No. 21 in the league. The Patriots got him back on a very cheap contract after the open market determined that some of his production should be attributed to the system he played in. This of course, has no effect on the Patriots, and he has the ability to build on his impressive 2013 season.

 

Brandon LaFell (NE)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $9 million. He received a $3 million fully guaranteed signing bonus. He can earn up to $2 million in incentives, and also has active game day bonuses tied in for all three years of the deal. His base salaries are $800,000 (2014), $1.8 million (2015) and $2.4 million (2016).

Contract Analysis

A low-risk deal for New England, the contract’s structure says LaFell will be a Patriot for at least two seasons. The fact that the incentives (specifics not known at this time) are of the ULTBE variety means his future cap hits will increase if LaFell produces on the field.

PFF Analysis

LaFell checks in as a signing that looks surprising on paper to me, but I will defer to the master himself, Bill Belichick. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, LaFell has the prototypical size that you would want from an outside receiver. However, the production simply has not been there up until this point in his career, and that is not for a lack of opportunity. In 2013, he played 917 snaps and was targeted 83 times, but only secured 49 of those passes. His opportunities will now be harder to come by, as he is set to join a crowded Patriots wide receiver core. 

 

Walter Thurmond (NYG)

Contract Details

One-year contract worth $3 million. The deal contains a $1 million signing bonus, while $1 million of his $1.975 million base is fully guaranteed. Thurmond can earn up to $500,000 in game day incentives.

Contract Analysis

A surprisingly low amount for a talented corner, Thurmond clearly didn’t have many suitors. At just 26 years old, Thurmond is betting on himself—he’s hoping a successful 2014 along with an increasing salary cap will increase his demand next offseason.

PFF Analysis

If Thurmond can continue to lock down opposing slot receivers, as he has consistently over the past two seasons, this could prove to be one of the better value signings in this year’s free agency. Thurmond has not given up a touchdown in coverage since 2011. In today’s NFL, a slot cornerback has morphed into more than just a situational player, as more teams use undersize tight ends in “12 personnel” or “11 personnel” featuring three wide receivers. Despite playing half the snaps of a starting outside cornerback, Thurmond finished with a (+4.8) grade in 2013, which was good for 31st-best at his position.

 

Evan Dietrich-Smith (TB)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $9 million. His $3.5 million in guaranteed money is made up of his 2014 base salary ($2.5 million) and a $1 million 2014 roster bonus. His 2015 ($3.75 million), 2016 ($2.5 million) and 2017 ($3.5 million) base salaries are not guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

The lack of any pro-rated bonus here makes this a very team-friendly deal. Dietrich-Smith has no job security. The Bucs will have to choose whether or not to pay him his $3.75 million 2015 salary by the 3rd day of the 2015 league year.

PFF Analysis

After originally expecting a hot market, Dietrich-Smith soon realized that the center market was not going to be what he might expect. In the end, he is not quite the mauling run-blocking center that has the chance to command a high annual salary (like Alex Mack), but instead a leader at the position and a strong pass blocker. He finished as the eighth-best center overall in 2013, but he was only the 14th-best among centers at run blocking. He will be a strong piece to add to a line that features several new pieces and he will likely earn his salary simply by helping expedite the process of this group coming together.

 

Mike Neal (GB)

Contract Details

Two-year contract worth $8 million. Neal received a $2.5 million signing bonus. His 2015 base salary ($1.5 million) and roster bonus are not guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

Neal will make around $4 million this coming season. His $4,250,000 2015 cap number against the $1,250,000 the Packers will absorb in dead money (half of his prorated signing bonus) by cutting after the coming season means he must have an effective year in order to remain a Packer n 2015.

PFF Analysis

The Packers took a leap of faith by re-signing Neal, who they originally had drafted. Although Neal finished as one of the worst 3-4 outside linebackers overall, he made improvements as a pass rusher. Neal finished with 46 total pressures, which was good for the 17th-most among 3-4 outside linebackers. Anyone who has watched Dom Capers’ defense over the last several seasons understands that generating pressure has been the most outstanding issue. Re-signing Neal allowed them to add a young and fairly cheap player who has proven successful as a pass rusher, with room to get even better.

 

Brandon Pettigrew (DET)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $16 million. Pettrigrew received a $4 million signing bonus and a fully guaranteed base salary in 2014, making the total real guarantee on his contract $5.2 million. His 2015 base salary is guaranteed for injury only and will become fully guaranteed if on the roster on the 3rd day of the 2015 League Year.

Contract Analysis

The structure of this deal means he’ll be a Lion for at least two more years. His $2.2 million 2014 cap hit jumps to $3.8 million in 2015. Although this wasn’t a huge investment, a $3.8 million cap number is not inconsequential. With such a tight cap situation in Detroit, the Lions would have been better off parting ways with the expendable former first rounder.

PFF Analysis

Re-signing Pettigrew was more of a sign of the market at tight end than anything else. Although he has the size and draft status to justify his new contract, his production the field doesn’t really come close. In the passing game, he offers very little after the catch and in the red zone, and he has struggled with drops and creating separation. Pettigrew went 41/416/2 last season, and his 10.1 average per catch was among the leagues worst at tight end. Some people still feel that he is a strong blocker, but that opinion is not based on fact–he has graded out negatively in run blocking over the last two seasons. At 29, it is difficult to see Pettigrew growing into a much better player than what we see right now.

 

Steve Smith (BAL)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $11.5 million. Smith received a $3.5 million signing. His base salaries are $1 million (2014), $3 million (2015) and $3 million (2016). The deal also reportedly includes a $1 million, 60-percent playtime one-time incentive clause.
Contract Analysis

A low-risk signing by Ozzie Newsome, Smith is guaranteed nothing after 2014. It’s a deal that makes sense for both sides, as the veteran Smith will get the opportunity to play for a title.

PFF Analysis

Smith might be going on 35, but he still has plenty to offer his next team. Including the postseason, he put together an impressive +8.3 overall grade in 2013. That was good enough to put him 26th-best at his position out of 75 qualifiers who played at least 50% of their team’s snaps. Smith remains an excellent blocker and finished last season with a +2.1 grade in blocking. What will help Smith’s fantasy owners is his reliability — he dropped just five passes all season. Smith is also good after the catch, as he forced 15 missed tackles in 2013 — good for fourth-most among all wide receivers. The move looks like a very solid value for the Ravens.

 

Tedd Ginn Jr. (ARI)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $9.75 million. The deal includes a $2.25 million signing bonus. If Ginn is on the roster on the 3rd day of the 2015 League Year, $2 million of his base salary will become fully guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

No money is guaranteed beyond 2014. Ginn is really nothing more than a third receiver who also provides return-game value. The fact that the WR-needy Panthers didn’t attempt to resign him is telling. However, the Cardinals don’t just get Ted Ginn—they get the entire Ginn family.

PFF Analysis

Ginn is a great fit for Bruce Arians’ vertically-attacking offensive scheme. Ginn has reinvented himself as a wide receiver, after originally fizzling out as an early first-round pick with the Dolphins. Last season, He finished with 36 receptions on 68 targets for 556 yards and career-high five touchdowns. He made plenty of big plays in the passing game, including his 4/104 line in the one playoff game against the 49ers. He will serve as the “knife” to take out the top of the defense in Arians’ offense, opening up things underneath for Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. He also offers the Cardinals a dynamic advantage in the return game if needed.

 

James Jones (OAK)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $10 million. His base salaries are $1,650,000 (2014), $2,950,000 (2015) and $2,950,000 (2016).

Contract Analysis

Oakland gave Jones a $2 million roster bonus as opposed to a signing bonus. Jones makes a guaranteed $3.65 million ($3.8 million if he attends offseason workouts), but has no job security after that. Oakland absorbs nothing in dead money by releasing Jones after 2014.

PFF Analysis

Although now 30, Jones is coming off of his two best seasons statistically and overall. He has improved the one aspect of his game that plagued him the most in the past–dropped passes. After dropping six passes in 2011 in just 514 snaps, the next season his snap count doubled and his drop count was cut in half with three. He followed that up in 2013 with just two total drops. Jones might not be quite as fast as he was earlier in his career, but he is a better overall wide receiver. He should serve as a solid outside threat for the Raiders

 

Cortland Finnegan (MIA)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $11 million. Finnegan received a $2 million signing bonus. His base salaries are $3,500,000 (2014) and $5,450,000 (2015).

Contract Analysis

This deal can essentially be looked at as a one-year, $4.5 pact, with the Dolphins holding a second year $5.45 million team option with a $1 million buyout. $5.5 million guaranteed dollars is a nice pull for a 30-year-old coming off back-to-back poor seasons.

PFF Analysis

After a successful start to the offseason, the Dolphins reverted back to their old ways by handing Finnegan a two-year deal worth considerably more than his value in comparison to the product he puts on the field. Finnegan was one of the best cornerbacks in the league..in 2011. Over the last two seasons, his play has fallen off a cliff due to nagging injuries, age, and what some have cited as a “lost step” in his game. Losing a step will hurt you at defensive back more than any other position, and Finnegan’s play has gotten progressively worse. In 2012, he finished as the 83rd-best cornerback overall–a grade that would have been much worse had he not earned a (+2.5) penalty. In 2013, with just 367 total snaps, he managed to grade out as the second-worst cornerback out of 110 qualifiers. Once known as a strong run defender, he has graded out negatively against both the pass and run over the last two seasons. The Dolphins’ best bet might be moving him to safety.

 

Darren Sproles (PHI)

Contract Details

Two-year contract extension with the Philadelphia Eagles (after trade from New Orleans). Sproles received $5.5 million in guarantees including a $3 million signing bonus. The two extension years will total $7 million in new money.

Contract Analysis

It makes sense that Philly extended Sproles after giving up draft compensation to acquire him. Sproles’ deal was previously due to expire at the end of 2014, and the extension ensures that he’ll be around for 2015 as well. The Eagles will have to eat $1 million in dead money (1/3 of the $3 million signing bonus) if they choose to cut Sproles after the 2015 season.

PFF Analysis

Sproles will be an interesting weapon that Chip Kelly now has at his disposal. No one should be shocked when they see both Sproles and McCoy on the field at the same time. Last season, Sproles spent just under 40% of his snaps split out wide in the slot. Sproles has always offered the most to his team in the passing game, and that won’t change at all now that he’s with the Eagles. In 2013, he racked up 71 receptions and 50 of those came when he was lined up in the slot. Sproles’ value will likely come down to his role within the offense.

 

LaMarr Woodley (OAK)

Contract Details

Two-year contract worth $10.35 million. $4.35 million of the contract is fully guaranteed, including his 2014 base salary and a $1.85 million roster bonus. In both seasons Woodley can earn up to $500,000 in gameday roster bonuses. A $1 million roster bonus is due on the 5th day of the 2015 League Year.

Contract Analysis

This is basically a one-year deal with a team option for a second year. If Woodley plays well in 2014, the Raiders will keep him around for 2015 with his $5,350,000 cap hit. While the $5 million in 2015 would be a lot to pay for the aging linebacker, Oakland can certainly afford it.

PFF Analysis

Although stopping the run has never been his strong suit, Woodley continue to impress as a pass rusher in 2013. He finished as the eighth-best 3-4 outside linebacker in pass rush, and he racked up 37 total pressures in just 582 snaps. In pass rush productivity, a stat that is used to determine total pressures relative to how many times a player rushes the passer, Woodley was the fourth-best at his position. Of course, Woodley has managed to miss 14 games over the last three seasons. His age and injury history combine to make him another risky signing for the Raiders.

 

Justin Tuck (OAK)

Contract Details

Two-year contract worth $10 million. $4.35 million of the contract is fully guaranteed, including his 2014 base salary and a $1.35 million roster bonus. In both seasons Tuck can earn up to $500,000 in game day roster bonuses. A $1 million roster bonus is due on the 2nd day of the 2015 League Year.

Contract Analysis

See LaMarr Woodley above. These contracts are almost identical.

PFF Analysis

The Raiders made Justin Tuck an offer he couldn’t refuse–they paid him handsomely for this production in 2013. in the process of doing so, they put aside any potential concerns for past injuries and poor play. In 2013, Tuck finished as the seventh-best 4-3 defensive end overall–a number heavily weighted by his grade against the run. As far as rushing the passer goes, Tuck finished barely finished with a positive grade (+0.8). Six of his 12 sacks came in the two games against Redskins’ turnstile right tackle, Tyler Polumbus. In the previous two seasons, Tuck finished just average (2012) and just below average (2011) while battling through injuries. The Giants simply chose not to overpay for past production.

 

Josh McCown (TB)

Contract Details

Two-year contract worth $10 million. The $4.25 million of guaranteed money is all due in 2014.

Contract Analysis

McCown can reportedly earn more in incentives. A stop-gate quarterback at age 34 (he turns 35 in July), Lovie Smith obviously was no fan of Mike Glennon. If McCown plays even moderately well, this deal will be worth it.

PFF Analysis

It’s fair to wonder how much of McCown’s success should be attributed to the system he played for and the coach, Marc Trestman, who called the plays. As a journeyman veteran, McCown failed to stick as a starter with many teams. He was beat out for starting jobs by several quarterbacks in the past who are no longer in the NFL and have not been for quite some time. Still, he showed a quick release and accuracy in 2013–his 72% completion rate ranked fourth-best in the league. His next task will be to prove that he’s not just a system quarterback, and that he doesn’t mean Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey to be productive–these are both easier said than done.

 

Antoine Bethea (SF)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $21 million. Bethea received $6.25 million in fully guaranteed salary. The guarantee included a $5 million signing bonus. In each year of the contract he can earn a total of $400,000 in per game roster bonuses and $100,000 workout bonuses. His 2015 salary is guaranteed for injury and will become fully guaranteed if on the roster on April 1, 2015. Base salaries of the contract are $1,250,000(2014), $3,000,000(2015), $4,500,000(2016), and $5,250,000(2017).

Contract Analysis

While Bethea technically has nothing fully guaranteed beyond 2014, his $5 million signing bonus was prorated over the four years of this contract. This means that he’ll almost certainly be on the roster in 2015 and earn his $3 million base salary. Turning 30 in July, I doubt Bethea plays out this contract’s entirety.

PFF Analysis

The 49ers replaced Donte Whitner with Antoine Bethea, but if the money was equal, it’s hard to believe this would ever happen. Of course, it wasn’t, and instead they opted to save a few million and go with the older veteran. Bethea has two things going for him–he’s a great tackler and he’s very durable. He has finished 12th-best or better in tackling among safeties over the last three seasons and he has never played less than 97.5 percent of his team’s snaps in the last four seasons. Still, Bethea struggles mightily in pass coverage, an area where Donte Whitner greatly improved during 2013 (see Whitner analysis below). Last season, opposing quarterbacks had a 101.3 QB rating when targeting him. He has become a major liability in pass coverage. This seems like a lot of money to give to a safety who has decline over the last few seasons.

 

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (NYG)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $35 million. The contract contains $11.98 million in fully guaranteed salary including a $10 million signing bonus. If he is on the roster on the 5th day of the 2015 League Year he will receive a $1 million roster bonus. Base salaries of the contract are $730,000(2014), $4,230,000(2015), $5,980,000(2016), $6,480,000(2017), and $6,380,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

The true guarantee here is really $16 million (the amount Rodgers-Cromartie will make through 2015). Since the Giants would lose net cap space by cutting DRC after the coming season, this deal will be a minimum of two years. Big Blue would save only $2 million against the cap by cutting ties with the cornerback after 2016, so DRC will likely earn his 2016 base as well. Any way you spin it, the Giants made a big investment here.

PFF Analysis

DRC, and yes I will be using that nickname from here on out, finally came into his own in 2013. There was never a question regarding talent when it came to DRC–at a freakish 6-foot-2 and 193 pounds, he ran a 4.29 forty-yard-dash at the NFL Combine. Maturity was a major issue for him before arriving in Denver, but some of the blame for his past woes, at least with the Eagles, can be attributed to a poor defensive scheme and him being played out of position in the slot. Last season he was used to shadow opposing number one receivers, and he responded by finishing as PFF’s fifth-best cornerback overall. Digging a little deeper, opposing quarterbacks had just a 67.8 QB rating when targeting him, and he gave up just four touchdowns all season. There is certainly risk behind the guaranteed money the Giants gave him, but he is one of three cornerbacks on the market with shutdown potential who will shadow instead of sticking to one side.

 

Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $15 million. Sanders received $6 million in full guarantees which are made up of a $3 million signing bonus, $2 million 2014 base salary, and $1 million roster bonus. Base salaries of the contract are $2,000,000(2014), $4,000,000(2015), and $5,000,000(2016).

Contract Analysis

Sanders is guaranteed $0 post-2014. However, it’s important to note that Wes Welker, entering the second year of the two-year deal he signed last offseason, likely won’t be back in 2015. If Sanders–who can play all three receiver positions–has a productive 2014 (and there’s no reason to believe he won’t with Peyton Manning at the helm), he will remain a Bronco for at least 2015. Denver would save $5 million by cutting ties with Sanders after 2015, so the he’ll also have to have a solid 2015 to be on Denver’s roster in 2016.

PFF Analysis

Sanders steps into a pretty nice situation replacing Eric Decker in Denver. A lean and lanky wide receiver who operates best in space and while running underneath routes, he also possesses 4.40 40-yard-dash straight-line speed. He posted career highs in catches (67), yards (740) and touchdowns (6) in 2013. As far as grades go, Sanders has been pretty average overall and in drop rate. As far as the fit goes, Sanders steps into a role where Decker saw 27 more targets than Sanders in 2013. At the same time, when you consider Decker’s contract breakdown, it seems odd that the Broncos didn’t just pay slightly more and re-sign Decker–the much better blocker, route runner and vertical route runner up until this point in their careers.

 

Julius Peppers (GB)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $30 million. Peppers received a $7.5 million signing bonus—the only guaranteed money in the deal. His base salaries are $1 million (2014), $8.5 million (2015) and $7 million (2016). He also has $500,000 roster bonuses in 2015 and 2016 tied to games played.

Contract Analysis

Perennial contenders with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, I like what Thompson did here. The aging Peppers has no 2015 job-security, and his 2015 $12 million cap hit means Green Bay will part ways with the defensive end after one season unless he’s productive. I see this playing out as a one-year deal.

PFF Analysis

Peppers’ 2013 season was classified as a disappointment by the mainstream, and the numbers don’t tell a story any different. He finished with a negative pass rush grade for the first time since 2007 and a negative grade against the run for the first time since 2009. Peppers will be making a switch to a 3-4 defense, and it’s not exactly known where he will line up just yet. Either way, for this investment to pay off, Peppers will need to prove that 2013 was just a fluke and not the beginning of the end for one of the better defensive ends of the past 10 years.

 

Wesley Woodyard (TEN)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $15.75 million. Woodyard received a $3 million signing bonus and his 2014 base salary is fully guaranteed. If he is on the roster on the 5th day of the 2017 League Year he will receive a $500,000 roster bonus. Base salaries are $1,750,000(2014), $2,750,000(2015), $3,500,000(2016), and $4,250,000(2017).

Contract Analysis

For an undrafted guy who wasn’t even a starter in the second half of last season, $4.75 million guaranteed dollars is a nice payday. His 2015 dead money hit of $2,250,000 against his 3,500,000 2015 cap number means Tennessee would save just $1.25 million against the cap if they parted ways with the linebacker after this coming season. So unless Woodyard has a wretched 2014, he’ll likely earn his $2.75 million 2015 base.

PFF Analysis

Woodyard signed a modest contract considering what some of the other linebackers have received, and he will fill a major void in new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s defense. An injury cost him his starting job last season, but from 2011-2013 combined he has been a productive, but not spectacular player. For the most part, he has graded out right around the league average at his position. This seems like a fair value considering the market at linebacker.

 

Ben Tate (CLE)

Contract Details

Two-year contract worth $6.2 million. Tate received a $1.5 million signing bonus, and a fully guaranteed 2014 base salary of $1 million. His 2015 base salary is $2 million.

Contract Analysis

Very surprising deal here, and it certainly speaks volumes in regards to the dry free agent running back market. One of the best backs available, Tate received no guaranteed money beyond 2014. If he plays poorly, he could be let go. If he plays well, he’s locked up cheaply for 2015. He would have been much better off signing a one-year deal here.

PFF Analysis

Tate is at his best in a zone-blocking scheme where he can plant his foot and go north-south in a hurry. Shanahan is bringing over his zone-blocking scheme and he is looking for a back who can “get downhill and always get good yards per carry.” Tate carries a 5-foot-11, 217 pound frame with the ability to shed tackles. Despite playing less than half the snaps of some of the top backs, he broke 41 tackles which was tied for seventh-most in the league. The Browns may have found themselves a steal if he can finally manage to stay healthy.

 

B.J. Raji (GB)

Contract Details

One-year contract worth $4 million. The deal includes a $500,000 guaranteed roster bonus. His $3.1 million base salary, $100,000 workout bonus and $300,000 bonus for games active are not guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

If somebody told me even a year ago that Raji would remain healthy in 2013 and only fetch $500,000 of guaranteed money on the open market, I never would have believed it. His stock has simply plummeted. He’d be wise to attend offseason workouts and come to camp in tip-top shape.

PFF Analysis

Raji followed an impressive 2012 with the complete opposite campaign in 2013. Last year, he was pitiful–grading out negatively against the run and at rushing the passer while playing defensive end in the Packers’ 3-4 defense. He finished as the 43rd-best 3-4 defensive end out of 45 qualifiers. Raji’s 2012 was much better and he graded out as a top 10 3-4 defensive end. So which Raji will we see in 2014? The Packers could experiment with moving Raji back to nose tackle now that Julius Peppers has arrived, but in the end, his offseason dedication will probably tell the story on his success. He should be motivated considering he’s in another contract year.

 

Eric Decker (NYJ)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $36.25 million. Decker received $15 million fully guaranteed. The guarantee is made up of Decker’s 2014 and 2015 base salaries and a $7.5 million signing bonus. Base salaries of the contract are $2,500,000(2014), $5,000,000(2015), $6,500,000(2016), $7,250,000(2017), and $7,500,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

The dead money associated with this contract decreases from $11 million in 2015 to $4.5 million in 2016, meaning Gang Green will be able to part ways with Decker after two seasons if the signing doesn’t work out. Considering I predicted that Decker would receive a deal in the range of Mike Wallace a few months back, I certainly think the Jets got good value here.

PFF Analysis

Although not considered a “physical specimen”, Decker is listed at 6’3-214. While his numbers were surely inflated by both the Peyton Manning factor (as anyone’s would have been) and his surrounding talent at wide receiver, there’s no question that he can play. Decker was the best receiver in the NFL in 2013 in terms of “catching bombs”– he caught 15 of 25 possible attempts on passes that traveled 20 yards or more.  While his production will undoubtedly decrease in New York,  the Jets still should get a much-needed playmaker for their depleted WR corps.

 

Hakeem Nicks (IND)

Contract Details

One-year contract worth $3.5 million. Nicks could reportedly earn up to $2 million more in incentives.

Contract Analysis

Not much to analyze here. Nicks’ value took an absolute freefall with his disappointing 2013 campaign. He’ll be a free agent again next offseason.

PFF Analysis

I whole-heartedly agree with ESPN’s Dan Graziano’s assessment that Nicks’ “chief motivation (last year) was to stay healthy so that he could cash in as a free agent.” In a forgettable seaosn, Nicks finished as the 41st-best wide receiver out of 43 qualifiers. He secured just seven out 20 passes thrown to him 20+ yards downfield, and his trademark ability to win at the catch point on 50-50 and back-shoulder fades was nowhere to be seen. Unlike Decker above, Nicks has elite physical ability (just look at his 10.5 inch hands). However, he can’t seem to stay healthy (he hasn’t played 16 games in any of his 5 seasons). If Nicks can stay on the field in 2014, he should have a big year with Andrew Luck tossing him the rock inside Lucas Oil dome.

 

Michael Johnson (TB)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $43.75 million. Johnson received $9 million of fully guaranteed salary in 2014 and $7 million of guaranteed salary in 2015. He can increase his fully guaranteed 2015 compensation by $2 million and his fully guaranteed 2016 compensation by $5 million by being on the roster on the 3rd day of each respective year. Base salaries of the contract are $5,000,000(2014), $5,000,000(2015), $7,750,000(2016), $8,250,000(2017), and $8,250,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

Just the same as Tampa Bay’s other free agent signings, this deal is front-loaded. The lack of a prorated bonus means the Bucs will pay Michael Johnson $18 million for his first two years of service. From 2016-2018, they can then decide on an annual basis (by the third day of each league year) if Johnson is worth his $8 million-plus annual cap hit.

PFF Analysis

The Buccaneers proved what we already knew when they signed Johnson on the first day of free agency–NFL teams aren’t caught up with sack numbers. Although Johnson only tallied 3.5 sacks in 2013, he racked up 61 total pressures (hits, hurries, and sacks combined). Johnson’s 6-foot-7 frame allowed him to lead the league in batted passes with seven total. Johnson’s strength comes in the run game where he finished as the second-best 4-3 defensive end and racked up 33 stops (solo tackles made which constitute an offensive failure).

 

Chris Clemons (JAX)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $43.75 million. The deal reportedly contains $4.475 million in guaranteed money, as well as roster bonuses of $1.5 million in 2015, $1 million in 2016 and $1 million in 2017.

Contract Analysis

With nothing guaranteed beyond 2014, this was a low-risk signing by Jacksonville. Like Michael Johnson’s deal with Tampa above, the Jags can decide on an annual basis (also at the beginning of each league year), if Clemons is worth his cap hit (which is $4.5 million per year from 2015-2017).

PFF Analysis

Gus Bradley and the Jaguars continue with the trend of adding defensive players with experience in his scheme. Clemons missed most of the season due to injury, but in just 585 total snaps he strung together 41 total pressures. On the other hand, Clemons was more of a liability in the run game than ever before. Only three 4-3 defensive ends finished with a worse run defense grade. Still, stopping the run has never been a strong suit for Clemons, but he can still rush the passer with the best of them. This is a quality pickup for a team that lacked any semblance of a pass rush in 2013.

 

Rashad Jennings (NYG)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $10 million. Jennings received a $2.25 million signing bonus. Base salaries are $730,000(2014), $2,230,000(2015), $2,230,000(2016), and $2,480,000(2017). His 2014 salary is fully guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

Less than the three year, ~$10 million deals given to Toby Gerhart and Donald Brown, Jennings gets $3 million in fully guaranteed money. His $1.3 million 2014 cap hit more than doubles to a still-affordable $2.8 million in 2015. Largely unproven, there’s not much risk here for the Giants.

PFF Analysis

Jennings had a career-year with the Raiders in 2013, despite not officially taking over for incumbent starter Darren McFadden until around the mid-point of the season. Jennings was impressive all across the board, and he averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 2.8 yards after contact per carry. Jennings was also an impressive pass blocker, finishing as the 13th-best back in pass blocking efficiency. The last stat might be the most important, considering new Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo cited pass protection as the foundation for any running back to earn playing time.

 

Corey Graham (BUF)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $16,300,000. The deal contains a $4 million signing bonus, as well as a fully guaranteed $1.5 million 2015 base and a $500,000 2014 roster bonus for a total of $6 million in fully guaranteed money.

Contract Analysis

The contract’s prorated signing bonus carries a $3 million 2015 dead money hit against a $4.3 million 2015 cap hit, meaning Graham will be in Buffalo for a minimum of two years. He turns 29 in July.

PFF Analysis

Graham has strung together a couple seasons consecutively of impressive play on the outside and more specifically in the slot. Graham is an aggressive cornerback, and after taking over as a starting cornerback during the Ravens Super Bowl run, he tallied an impressive 45 tackles in eight games as a starter. Last season his tackles regressed, but he was impressive in pass coverage. Overall he finished as PFF’s 34th-best cornerback, which makes him a fair value for the Bills here.

 

Breno Giacomini (NYJ)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $18 million. Giacomini received $7 million in fully guaranteed salary made up of a $2.5 million signing bonus, $1 million roster bonus, $1 million base salary in 2014, and $2.5 million of his 2015 base salary.

Contract Analysis

Fair market value for a right tackle, Giacomini’s $2.5 million 2015 base guarantee means this will be at least a two-year deal.  His $5.125 million cap hits in 2016 and 2017 are both reasonable, so Giacomini could certainly play out the entirety of this deal.

PFF Analysis

If you don’t include the postseason, Giacomini played less than half of the snaps than former Jets’ right tackle Austin Howard in 2013. Putting his past concerns with injuries and penalties aside, the Jets added a fair value here compared to the rest of the right tackle market (Oher and Howard). Giacomini has a reputation as a plus run blocker, but he has graded out negatively in run blocking in the past two seasons. In 2013, he finished as the as the 41st-best tackle overall out of 76 qualifiers who played at least 25% of their team’s snaps.

 

Geoff Schwartz (NYG)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $16.8 million. Schwartz received a $3.2 million signing bonus. He also has $1 million in guaranteed salary and a $475,000 roster bonus in 2015.

Contract Analysis

With just $1 million of his 2015 salary guaranteed, the G-Men could conceivably let Schwartz loose after just one season if he proves to be a bust. His $475,000 2015 roster bonus means the Giants would have to make this decision early next March. However, the signing signals that Reese has full confidence in Schwartz’s ability to shore-up the Giants weak offensive line.

PFF Analysis

The Giants needed to improve their interior offensive line, so they signed the best guard on the market. Despite playing just 483 snaps, Schwartz graded out as the eighth-best guard in 2013. Since he entered the league, only three guards have graded out better than Schwartz on a per-play basis. He is strong in both pass blocking and run blocking, and he has the versatility to play either guard spot or right tackle. This is one of the best values in all of free agency.

 

Jason Hatcher (WAS)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $27.5 million. Hatcher received a $9 million signing bonus. His 2014 base salary is also fully guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

The signing bonus’ $9 million proration over four years ($2.25 mil per year) means there’s a significant amount of future dead money tied to this deal for Washington . Because of this fact, there’s a legitimate chance that the soon-to-be 32-year-old ends up playing out at least three years of this four-year contract.

PFF Analysis

Hatcher broke out for the Cowboys last season after they changed defensive schemes. In their new 4-3 scheme, he was a dominant force as a three-technique defensive tackle. Hatcher finished as the eighth-best defensive tackle overall, and the fourth-best in pass rush alone. He earned our sixth-highest “pressure percentage” racking up 51 total pressures including sacks, hurries and hits. The Redskins gave him a lot of money, and he will now transition back to a 3-4 defensive scheme. In 2012, as a right end in the Cowboys’ 3-4 scheme, he totaled just 29 total pressures.

 

Randy Starks (MIA)

Contract Details

Two-year contract worth $10 million. Starks received a $2 million signing bonus. His 2014 base salary if fully guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

This deal can essentially be looked at as two separate one-year deals worth $4 million in 2014 and $6 million in 2015, with a $1 million buy-out for 2015 (half of Starks’ signing bonus). It’s a good deal for both sides, as Starks can still play but is getting up there in age.

PFF Analysis

With three in-house free agent defensive linemen as well as their well-documented problems on the offensive line, the Dolphins chose to re-sign just one of them–Randy Starks. Starks was arguably their best defensive lineman in 2013, and he finished as the seventh-best defensive tackle. He was excellent as a pass rusher and a run stopper. He was one of five defensive tackles to reach the 30/30 club–at least 30 quarterback hurries and 30 defensive stops. The Dolphins finally found themselves a great value signing.

 

Darrelle Revis (NE)

Contract Details

Two-year contract worth. The contract contains $11.5 million in guarantees, comprised of a $10 million signing bonus and a $1.5 million base salary in 2014. The Patriots have until the final day of the 2014 League Year to exercise an option for the 2015 season. If exercised a $12 million roster bonus is available in 2015. Revis has $500,000 in per game active roster bonuses. Base salaries of the contract are $1,500,000(2014) and $7,500,000(2015).

Contract Analysis

The NFL’s most unique negotiator, Revis guaranteed himself $11.5 million in the coming season. That number can increase to up to $12 million based on the amount of games Revis is active in 2014. Revis’ $20 million in year two of the deal might as well be $50 million—there is obviously no chance he will play under that salary. His $25 million 2015 cap hit (a result of New England prorating Revis’ $10 million signing bonus over both years of the deal) means that the Patriots will zero leverage when trying to extend Revis. He will be a free agent again in 2015.

PFF Analysis

When you consider how the Buccaneers used Revis within their scheme in 2013, his overall grade (+18.2), which ranked best among all cornerbacks, is a true testament to how good he really is. In his piece Revis Island Is Back, PFF Analyst Sam Monsoon analyzes how the Buccaneers used him last year, how the Jets have used him in the past, and how the Patriots might use him in 2014. No matter what scheme you put him in, he is the best cornerback in the game. Teaming him up with Bill Belicheck who has made a living off of focusing on individual matchups will only further prove his greatness.

 

Golden Tate (DET)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $31 million. Tate received an $8 million signing bonus with the contract and has his entire 2014 and $1 million of his 2015 base salary fully guaranteed. If Tate is on the roster on the 3rd day of the 2015 league year his 2015 salary will become fully guaranteed. Base salaries of the contract are $1,500,000(2014), $3,750,000(2015), $4,750,000(2016), $6,000,000(2017), and $7,000,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

Tate is the beneficiary of signing a deal with a team in a poor cap situation. Because the Lions are cap-strapped in the present, they were forced to prorate Tate’s $8 million signing bonus over the course of the deal. Detroit would save only $1,550,000 by cutting Tate before the start of the 2016 league year, meaning he’ll almost certainly earn at least $18 million from Detroit.

PFF Analysis

Many people thought that 2013 would be a breakout season for Golden Tate. When his stat line didn’t live up to their expectations, some people began to wonder if he would ever take that next step. 2013 was more of the same for Tate as the season before–or in other words great advanced metrics and questionable usage. The Seahawks used him rigidly as on outside receiver only. Tate has already said that the Lions plan to use him differently, utilizing him all of the formation including the slot. This is great news for Tate, because his skill-set projects best in space where he can put his after the catch ability on display. In the last four seasons Tate has forced 21 missed tackles after the catch. The Lions got a reliable receiver—with just seven drops in four seasons, who can work underneath and take attention away from Calvin Johnson.

 

Vontae Davis (IND)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $36 million. Davis received $15 million in fully guarantees and another $5 million in partial guarantees. The fully guarantee is comprised of a $ 5 million signing bonus, $5 million 2014 base salary, and $5 million of his 2015 roster bonus. If he is on the roster the 5th day of the 2015 League Year he will fully guarantee another $5 million of his contract. Davis can earn up to $3 million in performance escalators which are available in the final two years of his contract.

Contract Analysis

Because $5 million of Davis’ $6 million 2015 roster bonus is guaranteed, this reads like a two-year deal worth $20 million. Davis, who has been inconsistent over his career thus far, has $7 million and $9 million base salaries in 2016 and 2017, respectively. With only $2,500,000 in dead money associated with the deal in 2016, Davis will have to continue to perform at a high level to earn all possible $36 million of this deal .

PFF Analysis

After three inconsistent seasons with the Dolphins, Davis was traded to the Colts for a second-round draft pick. The trade was executed by Colts’ general manager Ryan Grigson, the same guy constantly takes heat for last season’s Trent Richardson deal. The inconsistency narrative continued in Davis’ first season with the Colts in 2012 until finally in 2013 he put everything together. He finished the season as the third-best cornerback overall and the best cornerback in pass coverage, when you take out all slot cornerbacks. The team paid him like a top-tier cornerback, and if his play in 2013 is any indicator of what’s to come, this is a fair value.

 

Alterraun Verner (TB)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $25.5 million. Verner will earn $8 million in 2014, all of which is fully guaranteed. In 2015 he has $4 million guaranteed for injury only. This money will become fully guaranteed if Verner is on the roster on the fifth day of the 2015 League Year. In 2016 he has a $2 million guarantee that will become fully guaranteed in 2016. He can earn $250,000 for each year he is selected to the Pro Bowl. Base salaries of the contract are $5,000,000(2014), $4,250,000(2015), $6,750,000(2016), and $6,500,000(2017)

Contract Analysis

Darrelle Revis’ replacement, Verner’s contract is front-loaded. With the use of a roster bonus and no signing bonus, Tampa Bay can part ways with Verner after 2014 with no cost (his 2015 salary is guaranteed for just injury). The $8 million he’ll be paid this coming year is 31% of the contract’s total value. Verner won’t turn 26 until December, so chances are he’ll play out this entire deal. The Bucs got great value here.

PFF Analysis

For the first half of the 2013 season, no cornerback was better in coverage than Verner. More specifically, through the first four games of the season opposing quarterbacks had a 12.9 QB rating when targeting him in coverage. Although his production slipped in the final games of 2013, he still finished as the 12th-best cornerback overall out of 79 qualifiers who played at least 50% of their team’s snaps. Opposing quarterbacks finished with a 55.8 QB rating when targeting him–the third lowest of all cornerbacks. His best asset is pass coverage and he’s not going to offer you much against the run, as he finished as the 33rd best cornerback against the run. Considering that his overall production rivals many of the top cornerbacks who signed (Talib, Grimes, Shields), it makes sense to consider this contract a great value.

 

Linval Joseph (MIN)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $31.25 million. The deal contains $12.5 million in fully guaranteed money, made up of a $3 million signing bonus, $2.4 million roster bonus, $2014 base salary, and $3.6 million of his 2015 base salary. Base salaries of the contract are $3,500,000(2014), $3,900,000(2015), $5,650,000(2016), $6,150,000(2017), and $5,150,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

This deal, which makes Joseph the NFL’s 11th highest paid defensive tackle in terms of average salary, is basically a two-year/$13 million deal (or $12.8 million if Joseph skips OTA’s). His dead money amount decreases from $6 million in 2015 to $1.8 million in 2016, so the Vikings will be free to cut him after the two years. Minnesota will then be able to evaluate on a year-to-year basis as to whether Joseph is worth a $6-$7 million cap hit each year.

PFF Analysis

Many consider Joseph a one-trick pony and purely a run plugger. However, considering that Joseph has spent most of his time playing the one-technique in Perry Fewell’s defense, his pass rush hasn’t been too bad. He has graded out positively as a pass rusher every season since entering the league. Of course, stopping the run is ultimately his strong suit and he is likely best suited as a one-technique in Mike Zimmer’s 4-3 defense. Last season, Joseph graded out 15th-best against the run and 21st-best overall out of all defensive tackles who played at least 25% of their team’s snaps. The Vikings are adding a young talent with no injury history who can play multiple spots on their defense–all in all, it’s a good value.

 

Aqib Talib (DEN)

Contract Details

Six-year contract worth $57 million. Talib received $11.5 million in fully guaranteed salary. The full guarantee is made up of a $5 million signing bonus, $2 million 2014 roster bonus, and $4.5 million 2014 base salary. His 2015 and 2016 base salaries are both guaranteed for injury only and will become fully guaranteed if he is on the roster on the 3rd day of that respective league year. He has $500,000 roster bonuses paid for games active in the first three years of the contract. Base salaries are $4,500,000(2014), $5,500,000(2015), $8,500,000(2016), $11,000,000(2017), $11,000,000(2018), and $8,000,000(2019).

Contract Analysis

Here’s a prime example of the media often overstating the guaranteed money in contracts.  Contrary to reports, Talib received $11.5 million in fully guaranteed salary. Given Denver’s situation, there is a legitimate chance that this ends up being a one-year deal. And given the $7 million in cap savings that gets credited to Denver if they part ways with Talib after 2015, I’d be surprised if he remains a Bronco for more than two seasons. 

PFF Analysis

Talib’s 2013 season was a volatile one with regards to his grades–before the injury he was an elite corner and after he returned he was quite the opposite. Combined, he finished as the 46th-best cornerback out of 79 qualifiers who played at least 50% of their team’s snaps. Having said that, he was one of the few cornerbacks in the league who was both used to shadow opposing number one receivers and successful in doing so. As mentioned on the PFF free agency live blog, before the injury in 2013, when he matched up with receivers such as Julio Jones, Vincent Jackson, A.J. Green, and Jimmy Graham, he came away with a (+8.2) grade. It seems as though off-field concerns that trouble him in the past are behind him, but there is no denying his injury history–he hasn’t played more than 13 games in a single season in the last four years. It’s a lot money, but when healthy Talib is one of the more dominant cornerback in the league.

 

Jairus Byrd (NO)

Contract Details

Six-year contract worth $54 millio. Byrd received an $11 million signing bonus. His 2014 base salary is fully guaranteed and his $6 million 2015 roster bonus is fully protected and also considered guaranteed. If he is on the roster on the 3rd day of the 2015 League Year his $2 million base salary will become fully guaranteed and if on the roster on the 3rd day of the 2016 League year another $6 million in salary becomes fully guaranteed. Base salaries of the contract are $1,300,000(2014), $2,000,000(2015), $7,400,000(2016), $7,900,000(2017), $8,400,000(2018), and $8,600,000(2019).

Contract Analysis

If you’re wondering how in the world the cap-strapped Saints got Byrd, just look at the above details—his 2014 cap hit is just $3.5 million.  That number jumps to $10.3 in 2015, and remains in that range for the rest of this deal. You can count on Byrd being a member of the Saints for a minimum of two years—New Orleans would lose $4.5 million in cap space by cutting him after 2014. If Byrd has a tremendous 2014, it’s possible that New Orleans will look to restructure this deal in the offseason.

PFF Analysis

Many fantasy football fans will remember using any and every quarterback and wide receiver flier who faced the Bills for the first half of the season. Those same people will probably remember that ending right around Week 7 when Byrd returned from injury. He finished as the eighth-best safety in 2013 despite playing almost 400 less snaps than everyone ranked ahead of him besides Will Hill. With a full compliment of snaps in 2012, he was the second-best safety overall and the best in pass coverage by a considerable amount. The Saints paid a hefty price to obtain Byrd, but he might just be worth it.

 

Austin Howard (OAK)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $30 million. Howard received a $7 million roster bonus and fully guaranteed base salary in 2014. His 2015 base salary is guaranteed for injury and will become fully guaranteed on the 3rd day of the 2015 waiver period. Base salaries of the contract are $2,900,000(2014), $4,900,000(2015), $4,400,000(2016), $4,900,000(2017), $5,400,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

While GM Reggie McKenzie has been torn apart for his 2014 offseason work, at least he structured this deal the right way. The lack of a signing bonus means no dead money is attached to this contract after 2014. Howard automatically gets $10 million in his pocket, but has no job security beyond that.

PFF Analysis

Howard started off 2013 right where he left off in 2012–posting a healthy (+8.2) overall grade after finishing 2012 as the 31st-best tackle overall. His production tailed off late in the season, specifically in the run game where he finished as the ninth-worst run blocker out of 60 tackles who played 50% of their team’s snaps or more. Still, at 6-foot-7, 333 pounds, Howard certainly has both age and size on his side. At the same time, his contract was nearly identical to Anthony Collins, who has graded out much stronger than Howard in almost every aspect of his game over the past two seasons.

 

T.J. Ward (DEN)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $22.5 million. Ward received a $5 million signing bonus and fully guaranteed $ 2 million base salary in 2014. His $4 million salary in 2015 is guaranteed for injury only and becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the League Year. Base salaries of the contract are $2,000,000(2014), $4,000,000(2015), $4,500,000(2016), and $4,500,000(2017).

Contract Analysis

Given the Broncos’ recent spending spree, it’s especially important to look at the contract specifics of each new deal. The release of Champ Bailey greatly aided Denver’s ability to sign Ward (and then Talib, and then Ware), there could be a cost down the line (like when Demaryius and Julius Thomas are free agent’s after 2014).  While many thought the 4 year, $22.5 million deal was low for Ward, its designed in Ward’s favor. It’s unlikely gets cut from Denver in the next four years.

PFF Analysis

Before Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware forced the Broncos to pony up big contracts, they were able to steal TJ Ward for less than $6 million annually. Ward is a classic in-the-box strong safety and a perfect fit for the Broncos next to free safety Rahim Moore. Last season, Ward finished as the third-best safety overall and the best safety in the league against the run. This was the second season in a row that he finished top of the league at his position against the run. Opposing quarterbacks had a 61.3 QB rating when targeting him in coverage.

 

DeMarcus Ware (DEN)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $30 million. Ware received $16.5 million in full guarantees. The fully guaranteed portion of the contract is made up of a $5 million signing bonus, $5 million roster bonus, $3 million in 2014 base salary and $3.5 million in 2015 base salary. If Ware is on the Broncos roster on the 5th day of the 2015 League Year he will earn an additional $3.5 million salary guarantee.the 5th day of the 2015 League Year he will earn an additional $3.5 million salary guarantee.Ware has a $3 million roster bonus due on the 5th day of the 2016 League Year.

Contract Analysis

As I noted with TJ Ward above, the specifics of this contract are especially important given Denver’s current situation. Ware’s $9,666,666 cap hit increases to $11,666,666 in 2015. Since half of Ware’s 2015 base is guaranteed, the soon-to-be 32-year-old will be a Bronco is 2015 unless he suffers a serious injury at the end of 2014. The dead money associated with this deal decreases from $6,833,334 in 2015 to $1,666,668 in 2016, so there’s a good chance Ware plays out just two years of this deal.

PFF Analysis

While it’s fair to question Ware’s health and age, it’s not fair to question Ware’s impact when on the field. Though he may be better suited in a 3-4 scheme as opposed to Denver’s 4-3, pairing Ware with 2012 DPOY runner-up Von Miller will make up the league’s most lethal pass-rushing duo. Opposing offenses should prepare for some long days in 2014.

 

Toby Gerhart (JAX)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $10.5 million. Gerhart received a $3 million signing bonus and $1 million base salary in 2014 that are both fully guaranteed. He also has a guaranteed roster bonus of $500,000 in 2015. Base salaries of the contract are $1,000,000(2014), $2,500,000(2015), and $3,000,000(2016).

Contract Analysis

Here lies another example of a team in a cap-friendly situation using a roster bonus instead of a prorated signing bonus. So while the consensus seems to be that the Jaguars might have overpaid for a guy with less than 300 career carries, the reality is the deal’s structure makes the signing very team friendly. The dead money hit is only $500,000 if the Jaguars decide to cuts ties with Gerhart after 2014.

PFF Analysis

All of the running backs aside from Darren McFadden have signed in a similar range—around $3.5 million annually. At 231 pounds with a 4.51 forty-yard-dash to his name, Gerhart possesses an excellent combination of size and speed. Although he has only carried the ball 276 times in his career, he has performed well on a per-snap basis. Last season, he averaged 7.9 yards-per-carry on 36 attempts. 136 of his 238 yards rushing came after contact, and his YCo/Att. (yards after contact per attempt) of  3.8 ranked fourth-best out of all running backs. He also turned five of his 36 carries into gains of 15+ yards. Want more? In just 49 combined rushing and receiving touches, Gerhart forced 16 missed tackles.

 

Donald Brown (SD)

Contract Details

Three-year contract worth $10.5 million. Brown received a $3.25 million signing bonus and a fully guaranteed 2014 base salary ($750,000) for a total of $4 million fully guaranteed. His base salaries are $3,000,000 in both 2015 and 2016.  He also has a $500,000 roster bonus in 2016 that is not guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

The deal is almost identical to Gerhart’s above. The only major difference is the structure of the bonus—Brown’s $3.25 million signing bonus does prorate, meaning that the Chargers will have to eat $2,166,667 in dead money if they decide to part ways after 2014. Ultimately, while Brown received $500,000 less in full guarantees than Gerhart, he signed a more player-friendly deal.

PFF Analysis

Putting aside the Chargers’ need for Brown, or lack thereof, he was an excellent signing from strictly a value standpoint. Last season, he had a breakout year despite not having a heavy volume of touches. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry behind the league’s 10th-worst run blocking offensive line. He also averaged 3.3 yards after contact per carry. This was a big reason why he led the league with a 73.8 elusive rating, PFF’s signature statistic that attempts to determine a runner’s success independent of his blocking. Oh, and he finally learned how to block which means we won’t have to hear Phillip Rivers’ version of  “God Damnit Donald!”. He graded out as the 11th-best running back in pass blocking efficiency, allowing just eight total pressures on 242 pass blocking snaps.

 

Jon Asamoah (ATL)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $22.5 million. Asamoah received a $4 million signing bonus. The Falcons can exercise a $2 million option in 2015 on the 2018 season. $2 million of Asamoah’s 2015 salary will become fully guaranted on the third day following the 2014 Super Bowl. From 2015 thru 2018 Asamoah can earn up to $500,000 in roster bonus which are paid out for each game in which he is active. Base salaries of the contract are $2,000,000(2014), $2,500,000(2015), $3,500,000(2016), $3,250,000(2017), and $3,250,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

Asamoah receives $6 million in full guaranteed, becoming leagues 13th highest paid guard. It’s important to note that the proration of his signing bonus is lowest in 2014—it increased to $1.3 million from 2015-2018. This saved Atlanta, who has been active in free agency’s beginning stages, cap money for 2014.

PFF Analysis

When you consider the fact that the Falcons gave more money annually and guaranteed to Asamoah than Geoff Schwartz got from the Giants, you might consider this not to be a good value. After all, Asamoah lost his starting job to Schwartz during the season and was never able to reclaim it. This logic would be faulty, however, because both players are plus guards in this league and both contracts are great values. In just 673 snaps last season, Asamoah (+7.9) graded out as the 27th-best guard overall out of qualifiers who played at least 50% of their team’s snaps. In 2012, with a full compliment of snaps, he was the 10th-best guard overall. At $4.5 million annually, he is one of the best values signed in the entire free agent period thus far.

 

Donte Whitner (CLE)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $28 million. Whitner received a $9 million signing bonus and a fully guaranteed 2014 base salary. He will earn another $2 million in guarantees if on the roster 5 days following the 2014 Super Bowl. Base salaries of the contract are $2,000,000(2014), $4,500,000(2015), $6,200,000(2016), and $6,300,000(2017).

Contract Analysis

Cleveland would save $0 against the cap by cutting Whitner after 2014, making this a two year/$15.5 million deal at the very least. Due to the structure of the contract as well as Whitner’s age, my guess is that he plays this 4-year-deal out in its entirety. Based on the money given to Jairus Byrd/TJ Ward and the amount of cap space Cleveland has, this seems like a fair deal for both sides.

PFF Analysis

Considering the deal that other safeties received in this market, Whitner’s is well worth the contract he signed. However, Browns fans are left wondering if they were better off just re-signing TJ Ward, who took less money to sign with the Broncos. I can tell you that Ward graded out as the slightly better player in 2013, but Whitner finished strong as well, grading out as the sixth-best safety overall. The important takeaway is that they are different players—once an in the box safety, like Ward, Whitner has now morphed his game and become an excellent safety in pass coverage. In 2013, he graded out as the fifth-best safety in pass coverage (+10.7) compared to Ward’s (+4.8).

 

Zane Beadles (JAX)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $30 million. Beadles received no signing bonus but will receive guaranteed roster bonuses of $4.5 million and $2 million in 2014 and 2015. Beadles’ 14 and 15 salaries are fully guaranteed. Base salaries of the contract are $2,975,000(2014), $2,975,000(2015), $4,975,000(2016), $5,475,000(2017), and $5,475,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

Yesterday, I said to be on the lookout for the use of the roster bonus in free agency. Beadles is a perfect example. By giving Beadles no signing bonus and roster bonuses of $4.5 million in 2014 and $2 million in 2015, the Jaguars saved themselves future dead money. This is a 2-year-deal worth $12.5 million. After that, Jacksonville can part ties with Beadles with no dead money.

 PFF Analysis

When comparing Beadles’ deal to the rest of his market, it’s difficult to argue against this being one of the more egregious overpays thus far in free agency. For example, Beadles got almost $2 million more annually than Geoff Schwartz, but his overall grade in his career (-3.8) is much worse than Schwartz’ (+33.5). It’s a tale of two season for Beadles, and his 2012 grade (+10.1) tells a much better story than his 2013 grade (-5.7) does. Still, $6 million annually with $12.5 million guaranteed is a lot to offer a guard who has never graded out in the top 15 and who finished last season as just the 40th-best out of 60 qualifiers who played at least 50% of their team’s snaps.

 

Tyson Jackson (ATL)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $25 million. Jackson received $9.5 million in full guarantees, which includes an $8 million signing bonus. He has roster bonuses in the final three years of his contract that are earned for games active. Base salaries of the contract are $1,500,000(2014), $2,250,000(2015), $4,250,000(2016), $3,500,000(2017), and $3,500,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

The true guaranteed number here is $11.75 million, which includes his 2015 base salary—Atlanta would forfeit $4.8 million in cap money by cutting him after this season. He will also almost certainly receive his $4.25 base in 2016 due the dead money associated with Atlanta releasing him after 2015.  So ultimately, Jackson will pocket at least $16 million and possibly more. He’s the 9th highest paid 3-4 DE.

PFF Analysis

With Jackson, you know you’re getting a player who’s very strong against the run, but weak at generating pressure. Last season, he graded out as the 14th-best 3-4 defensive end overall and the 10th-best against the run. He tallied four sacks on the season, but that total is very misleading because sacks are only one part of the pass rushing equation. He tallied just eight quarterback hurries and zero quarterback hits. With just 12 total pressures, he had just the 39th-best pass rush productivity out of 45 qualifying 3-4 defensive ends. $5 million annually and $11 million guaranteed seems like a lot to give a one-dimensional run stopper.

 

Mike Mitchell (PIT)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $25 million. Mitchel received a $4.75 million signing bonus and $500,000 roster bonus as his guarantee. Base salaries are $750,000(2014), $2,000,000(2015), $5,000,000(2016), $5,000,00(2017), and $5,000,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

One of the more interesting signings as Pittsburgh’s cap issues have been well documented. Mitchell gets just $5.25 in guaranteed money. He’s due $2 million in cash (likely next March) and has a $2 million 2015 base salary. If he plays very poorly in 2014, there is at least a chance this will only be a one year deal.

PFF Analysis

It was inevitable that Mitchell would cash in on his breakout 2013 season, but it was hard to predict that the seemingly cap-strapped Steelers would sign him. Despite missing 18 tackles last season, he graded out positively as a pass rusher and in coverage. With Polamalu re-signed, he will take over Ryan Clark’s old spot as the deep safety. Some observers question how much of his success can be attributed to the Panthers’ front seven. That question is difficult to answer. Given the fact that he graded out 29th out of 67 qualifying safeties, the Steelers are clearly paying for upside and likely believe he can continue to improve over the course of his contract.

 

Andre Roberts (WAS)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $16 million. He reportedly (specifics have not yet been received) got a $4 million signing bonus. It looks like his base salaries of $1,250,000 in 2014 and $2,750,000 in 2015 are guaranteed.

Contract Analysis

Washington saves $3 million against the cap by cutting Roberts after 2015, so this is essentially a two-year, $8 million deal. It seems like Washington struck got a bargain here for a guy who will presumably be their #2 wide receiver behind Pierre Garcon.  The market for skill-position players has been dry thus far.

PFF Analysis

Roberts was never a fit for Bruce Arians’ vertically attacking offensive scheme, so it came as no surprise when he lost his starting job to an admittedly more talented Michael Floyd. Roberts projects as a much better fit in Jay Gruden’s offense that is based on west coast principles. In 2012, before Arians arrived, he posted 759 yards and five touchdowns on 64 catches. While those numbers made him a fine play in fantasy football, in the real thing he graded out as 102nd out of 105 qualifying wide receivers. He was only able to come down with 64 catches on a whopping 107 targets and in the process he dropped 10 passes. He certainly has upside, but this contract like it has a chance to backfire on the Redskins once again.

 

Shawn Lauvao (WAS)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $17 million. He reportedly (specifics have not yet been received) got a $4 million signing bonus with $5 million fully guaranteed. He has base salaries of $2,000,000 in 2014, $3,000,000 in 2015 and $4,000,000 in 2016 and 2017.

Contract Analysis

Washington saves just $1 million against the cap by cutting Lauvao after 2014.  So while his 2015 base is not guaranteed, it’s highly likely he will earn it unless he suffers a serious injury.

PFF Analysis

The Lauvao signing has many people scratching their heads. Longtime NFL observers are probably just thinking, “that’s just Dan Snyder being Dan Snyder.” Last season, Lauvao finished 51st-best out of 60 qualifying guards who played 50% of their team’s snaps or more. It wasn’t much prettier in 2012, when he finished 45th out of 54 qualifiers at guard. It’s difficult not to evaluate this signing as the biggest overpay in free agency thus far. If you’re looking for the sliver lining, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has likely seen him play up close in his time with the Bengals. Also, Gruden’s blocking scheme is likely different from the previous one that he blocked in, so there’s an outside chance that a change of scheme will help.

 

Everson Griffen (MIN)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $42.5 million. Griffen received $19.8 million fully guaranteed. The guarantee is made up of a $6 million signing bonus and his 2014 and 2015 base salaries. Base salaries are $6,900,000(2014), $6,900,000(2015), $6,900,000(2016), $6,900,000(2017), and $8,400,000(2017).

Contract Analysis

Officially signed before the UFA market was open for business, this is a 2-year deal worth $19.8 million ($20 million if he attends offseason workouts). After that, nothing is guaranteed—not only in terms of cash in Griffin’s pocket but also in terms of a roster spot—due to the contract’s structure. Based on the defensive end market, it seems Minnesota overpaid.

PFF Analysis

After finishing 2012 with a slightly negative grade, he improved in 2013 to finish as the 16th-best 4-3 defensive end with a (+4.7) overall grade. Having said that, he made up most of his ground against the run and his pass rush grade improved by only (+0.5). He grade out as just the 21st-best at his position in pass rush productivity with 59 total pressures. These numbers are certainly not pedestrian, but they are also far from elite. The Vikings decided to him pay him top of the market value, and quite frankly he has not proven himself worthy.

 

Michael Bennett (SEA)

Contract Details

Four year contract worth $28.5 million. Bennett received an $8 million signing bonus and a fully guaranteed base salary in 2014. Another $6 million is guaranteed for injury only and will become fully guaranteed if Bennett is on the roster 5 days after the 2014 Super Bowl. The contract also contains roster bonuses in 2016 and 2017 that are earned by participation in games. Base salaries of the contract are $2,000,000(2014), $6,000,000(2015), $4,000,000(2016), and $6,000,000(2017).

Contract Analysis

For all intents and purposes, this is a two-year deal with $16 million guaranteed.  The structure of the contract says there’s a very good chance it turns into a three-year deal worth $21 million deal. His cap hit in 2017—the contract’s final year in which Bennett will turn 33—is $9,500,000. Considering Seattle would absorb just a $2 million cap hit in 2017, Bennett being released after the 2016 year is a likely scenario. However, 2017 is a long ways away.

PFF Analysis

The franchise tag number for a defensive end is greater than $13 million. Looking at the top defensive end deals, after claiming that he wouldn’t give the Seahawks a “hometown” discount, it seems that he actually did. Bennett was a disruptive force for the Seahawks in 2013 grading out as the fifth-best 4-3 defensive end. He finished in the top seven in both pass rush and run grades, and the only thing holding him back from finishing even higher list was the 11 penalties he accumulated. His production was consistent with his 2012 campaign with the Buccaneers where he finished as the seventh-best defensive end overall. Perhaps the most telling stat for Bennett in 2013 was his “Pass Rush Productivity “, a signature statistic over at PFF that measures a player’s success generating pressure based on only the snaps where he did rush the passer. In this stat, he was the third-best among 4-3 defensive ends.

 

Lamarr Houston (CHI)

Contract Details

Five year contract worth $35 million. Houston will receive a $4,950,000 signing bonus and $3,000,000 roster bonus in 2014. His 2015 base salary is guaranteed for injury and will become fully guaranteed if on the roster in 2015. Base salaries of the contract are $1,000,000(2014), $5,950,000(2015), $5,950,000(2016), $5,950,000(2017), and $7,950,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

Houston gets $8.9 million fully guaranteed. With his 2015 base guaranteed for injury, this is basically a two-year deal worth $14.9 million—pretty similar to the contract of Bennett. The small signing bonus and therefore small dead money hits associated with the deal mean the Bears could realistically cut Houston any time after 2015.

PFF Analysis

After finishing the 2012 season as the ninth-best 4-3 defensive end overall, Houston followed that up in 2013 grading out as the 11th-best. His two-year track record is impressive, but heavily weighted towards his success against the run. In fact, in 2013, he registered the most “stops” (total solo tackles made) at his position. In both seasons he finished in the top five at his position against the run, but failed to finish higher than 20th as a pass rusher. Houston has the opportunity to return exceptional value on the Bears’ investment if they consider trying him as a three-technique defensive tackle. At 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, his body type might be best-suited in that role.

 

Arthur Jones (IND)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $33 million. $10 million is fully guaranteed upon signing with another $6 million guaranteed for injury only. That injury only guarantee will become a full guarantee if on the roster in 2015. Base salaries of the contract are $4,500,000(2014), $6,000,000(2015), $4,500,000(2016), $6,250,000(2017), and $6,250,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

A simply structured deal, this is more or less a two-year contract worth $16 million. Just 27 years old, it’s highly likely that Jones will be on the roster in 2016 with his $4.5 million cash salary and $5.6 million cap hit. He has no roster or workout bonuses, and his base salaries are pretty evenly dispersed.

PFF Analysis

Jones is a player with the talent, youth and pedigree to improve just like he has in the last two seasons. After finishing 2012 as the 18th-best 3-4 defensive end, he improved to 12th-best in 2013. In the process, he improved his total stops and his quarterback hits and hurries, despite playing seven less snaps than in 2012. He brings with him knowledge of the defensive scheme and the flexibility to play other positions. It wouldn’t shock me to see the Colts occasionally use him as their nose tackle—he checks in at 6-foor-3, 315 pounds.

 

Jared Veldheer (ARI)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $35 million. Veldheer received a $6.25 million signing bonus and a total of $10.5 million i n fully guaranteed salary. Veldheer can earn an additional $6.5 million in full guarantees over the life of the contract. Veldheer is eligible for per game active roster bonuses that total $500,000 from 2015-2018. Base salaries of the contract are $1,250,000(2014), $6,000,000(2015), $6,500,000(2016), $6,500,000(2017), and $6,500,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

Because Veldheer’s 2015 dead money is greater than his 2015 cap hit, the true amount of full guarantees is actually $13.5 million. Veldheer is still just 26 years old and his base salaries are evenly dispersed throughout the life of the contract. This means he could realistically earn the full amount of this deal.

PFF Analysis

When evaluating Jared Veldheer you will see a completely different player prior to his injury during the 2013 season than after his return from it. Using the much larger sample size, he finished 2011 and 2012 as the 17th-best and 12th-best offensive tackle overall, respectively. He earned the vast majority of his positive marks in pass protection, where he graded out as the 15th-best and 9th-best in our pass block grade, respectively. This past offseason, he partially tore his triceps in August and was placed on injured reserve/designated for return. When he returned, for the final five games of the season, he was never the same. He finished 54th overall out of 76 qualifying tackles who played at least 25% of their team’s snaps, and for the first time since his rookie season he failed to earn a positive grade in pass protection. With an offseason to fully recover, it seems likely that he will find his way back into the top tier of pass protectors at the tackle position.

 

Karlos Dansby (CLE)

Contract Details

Four-year contract worth $24 million. Dansby received $12 million fully guaranteed including a $6 million signing bonus. Base salaries of the contract are $4,000,000(2014), $4,000,000(2015), $5,000,000(2016), and $5,000,000(2017).

Contract Analysis

As in the case of Veldheer, his 2015 dead money is greater than his 2015 cap hit. This means that you can count on him being on the Browns roster in 2015; it also means his $12 million that’s fully guaranteed is really more like $14 million. Dansby’s $5 million base salaries in 2016 and 2017 mean that while unlikely, it’s not entirely impossible that the 32-year-old makes it through the life of this contract.

PFF Analysis

Many were surprised when Dansby put together such a strong season in 2013 after joining forces with the Cardinals in defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ creative scheme. He was certainly impressive, finishing as the fifth-best inside linebacker overall. However, in 2012, he flew under the radar entirely as he graded out as the 10th-best inside linebacker. While he has proven successful in both 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes, his skill-set best fits a 3-4 defense like the one he just joined.

 

Paul Soliai (ATL)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $32 million. Soliai received a $7 million signing bonus, $2 million roster bonus, and fully guaranteed base salary in 2014. His 2015 base salary is currently guaranteed for injury only. He can earn roster bonuses of $500,000 and $1,000,000 over the final three years of his contract based on game-day status. Base salaries of the contract are $2,000,000(2014), $3,000,000(2015), $5,000,000(2016), $4,500,000(2017), and $6,000,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

Factoring in Soliai’s signing bonus, 2014 roster bonus and  2015 base being guarantee for injury, this deal more or less contains $14 million in full guarantees (I don’t see Atlanta losing money against the cap by releasing him before the 2015 league year). Atlanta would receive just $2,700,000 in cap savings for cutting him after 2015, and with the salary cap only going up, Solaiai has a very good chance to make at least $19 million from this deal.

PFF Analysis

The Falcons vowed to get “tougher” on the lines this offseason, and by adding Soliai at 6-foot-4, 340 pounds—they did just that. HIs production hasn’t been as impressive as his size. In the past two seasons, he graded out as the 27th-best and 18th-best defensive tackle overall, respectively. On a positive note, he improved his run stop grade significantly from 2011 to 2012. You know what you’re getting from him—a nose tackle in any scheme who is consistently strong against the run. Soliai has also played under current Falcons’ defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in the past, and that should help him get off to a fast start.

 

Malcolm Jenkins (PHI)

Contract Details

Three year contract worth $15.5 million. Jenkins received $6 million in fully guaranteed salary. He received a $5 million signing bonus and will earn an additional $2.5 million in guaranteed salary if on the roster five days after the 2014 Super Bowl. Base salaries of the contract are $1,000,000(2014), $4,000,000(2015), and $5,000,000(2016).

Contract Analysis

Jenkins took a slight gamble on himself here, as $6 million is the true amount that is guaranteed. If he were to suffer a serious injury late in the 2014 season, it’s conceivable that Philadelphia would cut ties with him after this season. But still just 26, if Jenkins fares well with the Eagles he’ll have the rare opportunity to hit free agency for a second time

PFF Analysis

In what was clearly a seller’s market, the Eagles paid a high price for Jenkins who they believe is a better fit in their scheme. He will need to be, considering his production in the Saints’ scheme over the past two seasons. In 2012 he finished as the worst safety in the league and followed that up in 2013 grading out as just the 50th-best out of 68 safeties who played at least 50% of their team’s snaps. Jenkins biggest flaw to date relates to his tackling, where he has missed 45 tackles in the last three seasons—the most of any safety.

 

Eugene Monroe (BAL)

Contract Details

Five-year contract worth $37.5 million. Monroe received $19 million fully guaranteed including an $11 million signing bonus, his 2014 and 2015 base salaries, and $1.5 million of his 2016 base salary. Base salaries of the contract are $1,000,000(2014), 45,500,000(2015), $6,500,000(2016), $6750,000(2017), and $6,750,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

A great haul for Monroe. He received $19 million fully guaranteed, and the contract’s structure means he’ll almost certainly earn at least $24 million (Baltimore saves only $600,000 against the cap by letting him go after 2015). Still young (he turns 27 next month), Monroe could definitely earn the full value of this contract.

PFF Analysis

Once again, Ozzie Newsome proved his managerial savvy by locking up Monroe. In 2013, he graded out as the 12th-best tackle overall despite playing less snaps than anyone ranked above him. Over the past three seasons, Monroe has never finished outside of the Top 15 tackles overall. Unlike some of the other top tier free agent tackles, Monroe’s game is well rounded and he is strong in both pass and run blocking. He finished no worse than 19th-best in either grade. Of course, pass blocking is his forte and last season he graded out negatively only one time after joining the Ravens.

 

Branden Albert (MIA)

Contract Details

Five year contract worth $47 million. Albert received a $8.5 million signing bonus and fully guaranteed salaries in 2014 and 2015. Base salaries of the contract are $2,500,000(2014), $9,000,000(2015), $8,425,000(2016), $8,875,000(2017), and $9,575,000(2018).

Contract Analysis

A deal that’s technically five years for $47 million is actually a two year deal worth $20 million. There are no guarantees after 2015, and if Albert doesn’t perform he could realistically be cut after two seasons. He will turn 29 this coming season. It’s very unlikely that he makes it through the life of this deal.

PFF Analysis

A very good pass blocker but just an average run blocker, Albert was PFF’s 28th ranked tackle in his 2013 contract year. He was much more effective in 2012 before suffering a back injury late in the season. It seems like the Dolphins—who graded out as 2013’s 29th best  run blocking team—overpaid for a guy who will turn 30 next season.

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  • Ryan Kelly

    How is Bennett’s deal four years, $32 million? Based on his contract page, it looks like the deal is 4 years, $28.5 million, as has been reported by most media outlets. Are there incentives in this deal that were not disclosed and could allow the contract to potentially reach $32 million?

    • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

      Thats my fault Ryan. In the rush of deals I somehow got his number wrong. Ill fix that today.

  • TheeLidman

    On your list of signed players, one of the columns is labeled ‘full guarantee’. The figures in that column, don’t match up with how the media is reporting many of these deals. For instance, you have Jarius Byrd’s contract as having $18.3mm fully guranteed, while the media has him getting $28mm guaranteed. Is some of that difference ‘gurantees for injury’?
    It might be interesting to add a column showing the difference from what you guys see as fully guaranteed, and how the media reports it? Dansby’s deal is reported as having $14mm guaranteed, you have it as $12mm.

    • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

      Very rarely are the media reports the true guarantee of a contract. Most contracts contain injury only guarantees that (in some cases) become fully guarantees on a certain date, usually in March of that year. So for example the $18.3 is what Byrd is guaranteed to earn. The $28 million number would require him to be on the roster in 2015 and 2016 or be catastrophically injured to where he is unable to pass a physical to play football.

      • TheeLidman

        I figured that was the case. So, while Revis is taking a lot of personal risk (he can afford it, he’s made a lot of dough in his career)..going year by year, at the highest APY will ultimatley insure he’s compensated at the top of the food chain.

        • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

          Hes now trailing what he earned in the first two years of his last deal with the Jets, a deal the Jets were probably willing to do again in a similar manner.

      • Ox

        What an eye opener this is with the Talib contract. You pretty much just nulled countless “Rah rah” articles about as well as podcasts going nuts over the amount. Amazing sports journalists would not know enough to look into the details behind the numbers and take them at face value as a general fan would (though, perhaps for some that’s on purpose, bigger number, real or not, is a better story to cover)

      • Jim

        Seems like the “guarantee” figure (regardless of the accuracy) is overrated anyway. The “dead money” hit after year 1, year 2, year 3 is a better metric. Can’t stand the way I hear the ESPN guys talk about whether the Broncos were wise signing Talib for 6 years because of his off-field issues… he can easily be cut any year after year 1! Percentage of dead money after each year of the contract, that’s what matters.

  • Ox

    Why are some players 2015 guaranteed 3 days after SB, others 5 days etc. Is there a rhyme/reason to this? Also, how is Asamoah’s signing bonus not an even split each of the 4yrs? How did they make the first year so small?

    Great tracker

    • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

      Its one of those negotiating tools. Teams are very reluctant to hand over guarantees. Most guarantees reported are just fluff. Even some of the deals we have as fully guaranteed well find out are bogus and not really full. Basically if a player cant get a full guarantee right off the bat they want the decision made early (i.e right after the Super Bowl) so they can be cut quick and get to find a new home. The later in the year the harder it will be for a player to find a job.

      Asamoah has two bonus- a signing and an option. Thats why the numbers jump like that.

      • Ox

        Thanks Jason,

        So the difference between the 3rd day after the SB, verse the 5th (or anything around there) is negligible?

        • jack_sprat2

          It may be as simple as how a given team organizes its calendar, so that its decision making is orderly, all relevant parties are present, due diligence has been conducted. There are a lot of moving parts and none of these choices are made in isolation. There’s a word for those who fail at this: ‘Millen’. It’s not enough to know the game and the people in it.

  • McGeorge

    I’m kind of bummed the Jets didn’t make a play for Alterun Verner. He’s pretty good and going getting a kinds ransom.

    • Dan Schneier

      Not a Jets fan myself, but I couldn’t agree more. Still some valuable CBs left on the market – Browner, Tarell Brown, DRC etc. Some who fit Rex Ryan’s system better than others.

    • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

      Seeing the contract details come out I cant figure that one out myself. There must have been something they did not like about him at all. Seeing where his salary came in they also were not the only ones.

      • Dan Schneier

        Having touted his value above, I will say this, he is not a great scheme fit for the Jets. Verner played off the line of scrimmage a lot with TEN. There’s not telling how he would do in Ryan’s scheme, but he doesn’t exactly have the size/speed combination that traditionally works so well in a scheme that often uses press-man coverage.

      • Jim

        Looking at the Titans 2013 schedule, you do not see a lot of great QBs/WRs. Luck twice, Peyton Manning once and Philip Rivers once. He played Schaub twice, Chad Henne twice, McGloin, K. Clemens, and Geno Smith in possibly the most atrocious out of his 6 or so atrocious games last year. Perhaps his metrics were a little inflated due to the competition? 5 picks last year, 2 were Geno, 1 Henne, 1 Rothlisberger, 1 Schaub.

    • jack_sprat2

      I felt the same thing, the day that the Lions failed to draft either him or Veldheer in the 3rd. Both choices seemed so obvious to me. (Shrug.)

  • Derek

    Any chance of a Golden Tate analysis, or is he not a big enough signing? I feel like he was hugely overpaid, but would like to see other people’s opinions.

    • Dan Schneier

      Tate is definitely big enough – analysis on him will definitely come. Look out for it sometime over the weekend. Have done some research already and there are some great nuggets and advanced stats on him via Pro Football Focus..

      • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

        That should be an interesting one. I think Tate has somewhat limited value around the league but could have value to this specific team. He should be the short range guy to megatrons long range. The disaster for Tate would be if a team signed him thinking he gains his yards on 15 yard passes.

  • McGeorge

    From Revis’s point of view, he’s taking a little less, but has a chance to play on a strong team.

    The Pats certainly improved their secondary with Browner too.

    • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

      Trust me that never ever ever ever enters into the Revis equation. If he was offered $12,000,001 by the Jaguars he would be there.

      • Ox

        you don’t think his age is starting to have an effect? Although to that point, he could realize how short careers are at this point and just want to bank as much as he can rather than try to retire with a championship

  • McGeorge

    Please god, don’t let Kenny Britt play well for the Patriots :(
    If they get him at his productive level, coupled with that secondary, they will be one tough team.

    • Dan Schneier

      It’s all about those knees with Britt. If his knees comply, he’s going to be a value for whoever signs him. His off-field troubles are largely overblown and a thing of the past. I think he’s hungry to show that–will eventually come down to health though.

    • Ox

      can’t wait for the over paying next fantasy draft. Someone’s going to go all in on him and be burned (again)

  • Slappy McGee

    Congrats Revis. #3 CB in the NFL behind Peterson and Sherman.

    • jack_sprat2

      Playing in a scheme to which he was ill-suited, mind. Circumstance matters. True, that applies to everyone, but we don’t need to project Revis; we’ve got tape.

  • jon

    Can you write an article about these “poison-pill” contracts that are getting a lot of buzz lately?

    I vaguely remember the steve hutchinson deal.

    • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

      Maybe Ill try to do that at some point. Those are more or less no longer allowed, but the basics of the deals were things like the players salary must be the highest lineman on the team (when the team already has a high priced lineman in place), the player received a giant bonus if he plays 4 games in a certain city (which was the city of the team you were trying to sign him away from), etc…

      • Ox

        how did they ban them? absolute elimination of any clauses or some lengthy wording (which I’m guessing some GM’s are working to find loopholes on)?

        • Dave Ely

          Eliminated by 2011 CBA.

          • Ox

            yes, but how were they banned, wording wise. Curious how they prevented loop holes. They’d have to define a poison pill

          • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

            Basically it says “no poison pills” and specifies that for an offer sheet to be valid it the charges must impact both teams equally. For example the Browns couldn’t sign Hawkins to an offer sheet that states “$1 million per game bonus for each game played in Cincinnati” since it would impact the two differently. You can also dispute the offer sheet in the event there is a question as to it being a poison pill or not.

            Im not exactly sure what would be a disputable item. Maybe a situation where they state he “must be highest paid WR” when you are talking Josh Gordon on one team and AJ Green on another, both on rookie deals. Thats probably different than when Hutch had a deal where there was already a guy on a mega contract. So on its face the contract is probably ok, but if an impartial person looked at it and looked at the situations they would say its clearly a poison pill.

          • Dave Ely

            Article 9, Section 3(e)(iii) on page 40 as labeled (55 in the PDF I have):

            Not withstanding Subsections (i) and (ii) above, no Offer Sheet may contain a Principal Term that would create rights or obligations for the Old Club that differ in any way (including but not limited to the amount of compensation that would be paid, the circumstances in which compensation would be guaranteed, or the circumstances in which other contractual rights would or would not vest) from the rights or obligations that such Principal Term would create for the Club extending the Offer Sheet (i.e., no “poison pills”).

          • Ox

            Thanks Dave & Jason. Sounds like they covered their butts my making it a reviewable item and sort of framing a “spirit of” guidance.

  • Ox

    Any chance you’ll be weighing in with an article on the whole Saunders fiasco? Real curious for some more details

  • TheeLidman

    A couple of questions regarding Austin Howard:

    -According to this page: http://overthecap.com/cap.php?Name=Austin Howard&Position=RT&Team=Raiders
    Howard received a $7mm roster bonus, but above you say he received a $5mm roster bonus. I believe $5mm is correct, but wanted to clarify.
    -Why are you treating his roster bonus (whichever is the correct amount) as a signing bonus? It gives an incorrect picutre of his cap hits moving forward, no?

    • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

      Ive been having a bit of a tough time with Howard (Ive gotten three different sets of numbers but have settled on the one now on the site). I believe what happened was Howard verbally agreed to the deal that is originally referred to in the article, but when the Saffold deal fell apart and the Raiders had more cap room they frontloaded the deal to add more money into year 1 moving from a $5 to $7 mil bonus. However there are some rules regarding the timing of certain bonuses which ended up causing the bonus to prorate. Again I am not 100% certain but have heard it from enough people that I am at least confident that is how it is being treated right now. It may change after further review but it seems that this is the case.

      • TheeLidman

        Thanks…seems like an odd move because it appeared the reason they gave him that 7.9 was in order to give themselves the option of getting out of the deal. This way, seems to tie themselves to him further.

        • jack_sprat2

          “Capologist? I don’t need no damn capologist!” – Matt Millen (Okay, I made it up.)

        • http://www.nyjetscap.com/ Jason Fitzgerald

          If it holds my guess is it was a mistake by the Raiders.