Quick Thoughts on Free Agency So Far…

Well it has certainly been a whirlwind two days. First of all I would just like to thank everyone for making OTC your spot for contracts this offseason. We definitely set some kind of visitor record yesterday and pretty much wiped out the site during the flurry of trade activity that kicked off free agency. Luckily we got that back under control and should be fine for the next few days. I also appreciate the patience with the contract uploads. I do my best to try to avoid just copying others work and passing it off as my own, which takes a great deal of time especially when crunching some of the number that arent so obvious. But enough of the site talk, here are some quick takeaways from the first days of free agency.

Ndamukong Suh’s Contract is Crazy

While I speculated at using a similar structure, I really was floored at the contract that the Dolphins gave Suh. This is a contract that Im not even sure Al Davis would have signed. Dolphins head Mike Tannenbaum fought like mad against going this route with Darrelle Revis years ago. Suh will earn $60 million in the first three years of his deal, obliterating Mario Williams prior defensive free agent high of $53 million. The team will likely need to restructure the contract next year for cap relief which will further the issues with the contract, which is going to have multiple $20M plus contract years. Miami has to bank on two things for this to be a success- one that the cap rises at least at the current rate of $10M a year, if not more, and that Suh develops into a once in a lifetime talent like Lawrence Taylor.

It’s a Great Time to be a Cornerback

The lack of talent available this offseason has driven prices to ridiculous height. Byron Maxwell a number two corner received a contract for over $60 million. Players cut this year and last in Brandon Flowers and Cary Williams have signed lucrative contracts. A 30 yer old Darrelle Revis nailed down nearly $40 million from the Jets, who also paid pretty big money to Buster Skrine. It’s strange the way the dynamics of free agency work sometimes. Last year’s group of Revis, Vontae Davis, Aqib Talib, Alterraun Verner, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was superior in every way but teams fought much harder than last year in giving in to contractual demands. This year it’s clearly the player’s market.

It’s Bad Time to be a Running Back (Unless Buffalo Wants You)

The running back market continues to be stagnant with almost every deal coming in at $4 million a year. DeMarco Murray and CJ Spiller are still searching for homes despite being the best talent out there.  The Bills should be kicking themselves for what they did in landing LeSean McCoy who was going to be released and they could have picked up for less than $5 million in free agency. The only other team to really overpay was the Giants with Shane Vereen at just over $4 million a season. The Giants have done that in the past with the position.

It’s a Good Time to be a Wide Receiver

Jeremy Maclin’s number’s officially came in at $11 million a season which is quite the figure for a player most teams look at as more of a 1A than a 1. That number was probably heped by Randall Cobb hiting double digits as a slot receiver with the Packers. Both certainly pulled up Torrey Smith who surprisingly ended up with $8 million a year, albeit without a great guarante structure. Even Dwayne Harris pulled off nearly $8 million in guarantees. For the franchised players this has to be difficult to watch. If Maclin is worth $11 million Dez Bryant is worth $16. For teams with star talent like the Bengals I cant even imagine finding common ground with an AJ Green.

It’s Not a Good Time to be a Pass Rusher

Normally the pass rusher is the sexy position in the NFL, but with so many good but not great rushers available teams have been cautious with their investments. Once Jerry Hughes could not crack a double digit APY the writing was on the wall. Pernell McPhee couldnt attract the interest that many expected as he went to the Bears for about $8 million a year, $1.5-$2M less than many expected.  Brandon Graham couldn’t find anything exceptional so he went back to Philly and Jason Worilds retired.  If these players do well on the relative cheap maybe it will signal a new way of thinking on the position.

What Are They Doing, Part I

I think everyone right now is wondering just what is going on in Philadelphia. While Ive speculated on the benefits of moving Nick Foles to trade for Bradford one day after signing Mark Sanchez to an extension was odd to say the least. The team was correct in not matching the offer Maclin received, but there is a clear sign that Chip Kelly is gutting a good portion of the roster. While Kelly and his system were all the rage two years ago it sure is looking like Kelly running the organization is going to reuire a great deal of faith in Kelly. Now supposedly they are interested in DeMarco Murray right after signing Ryan Mathews. It’s beginning to sound like the Dream Team all over again.

What Are they Doing Part II

I think everyone was floored when the Saints traded Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks, a trade that became official today. I applaud the Saints for thinking outside the box with the move and coming to the honest realization that the team, which has had a losing record two of the last three seasons, is not that good. That said I found it incredibly strange to hear that the team is hot for CJ Spiller a day after saying the trade was made so the team can invest more in the defense.

I would not be surprised if this leads to a final curtain call for the core of this successful run. Marques Colston took a steep pay cut to stay a Saint which meant he was likely given a tough ultimatum, something that would not have happened last year. There was no extension like the Falcons gave Roddy White last year. I could almost guarantee Colston could have gotten more in free agency. the team hasnt touched the contracts of the guards which means they are keeping them as easier cuts in the future.  Next year Brees will be in his contract year with a crazy cap hit and the team can save $20 million if they trade or release him. Given some of the changes this may be the next step especially if Brees is unhappy without Graham and thinks the team is not commited to winning. Id watch closely as to what happens with a few of the Saints contracts in the coming weeks.

  • eddiea

    Could some of this crazy spending have anything to do with Spending Floor. Also, any idea if Cowboys would put a no ’16 Tag clause on Dez, if no longterm deal is made? That sounds odd but they’ll be over cap with 2nd tag and Romo’s $27 M cap hit.

  • Dan Kunze

    As a Bear fan I am pretty happy the way things have gone so far. We got a decent deal on McPhee and picked up Royal and Rolle who are old. Still, Rolle is an upgrade in our terrible secondary and Royal will be a solid number 2.

    • Tyler Ferree

      Royal is a career slot reciever.

  • DolphinsRuleAll

    There’s no legit justification for giving that kind of money to a DT. Not just by my standards, but by any sane person’s…especially when that wasn’t our greatest area of need. They’ve buried us on a whimsical dice roll. Anyone with an even remote understanding of cap rules can only sit back and scratch their heads.

    • Tyler Ferree

      Its like giving big money to a guard, there is much better value available. Iupati’s being paid like he’s Evan Mathis or Marshal Yanda and it just makes no sense.

      • mike jones

        I’m not sure there is better value available. there certainly was two years ago when we could have signed Odrick, but not here, not now. did you just see the contract Odrick got? so show me, where is the better value?

        • Tyler Ferree

          Go look at Suh’s contract year 2 will need a restucture, 28.5 cap hit with 23.5 base salary, 15 of that will be converted to signing bonus which essentially guarantees year 4 while reducing year 2 down to “only” a 16.5 cap hit. Then in year 4 with essentially 0 cap relief (accounting for the restructure) by cutting will force another restructure probably about another 12 to signing bonus for 8 mil in relief down to about a 17 mil hit, essentially they have guaranteed 72 million and his base salary for 2018 will probably be earned as well, compared to 8.25 a year for Odrick and not needing a restructuring every other year.

  • mike jones

    RE: The Suh contract.
    This contract, along with several others, can maybe viewed as a bet on the NFLs long term viability and the continued atomization of the network tv market to cable, hbo, ntflx, prime, a&e, vudu.

    The Big Three Broadcast Networks are losing net eyeballs each year. there are more and more americans ever year, but fewer and fewer viewers watching ABC, CBS, NBC. Except for one tv show, the NFL, who also happen to be a nice spending demographic, and a particularly DVR unfriendly format.

    These deals won’t look so crazy in 2 years. And seeing as how many of us are AFCE fans, I can’t help but mention what just happend with Devin McCourty, Harris, and Shady McCoy, and Revis and note maybe Suh wasn’t so incredible in comparison.

    None of those deals appears to be the height of sober reflection. (cough cough harris)
    revis is 30. mccoy got a deal for a rb no one ever thought would be possible again. no one has any idea what how harris got that money for the jets. mccourty just got paid as if he was ed reed in his prime.

    • Tyler Ferree

      This falls apart when you account for the fact that the cap will probably only see this kind of acceleration for 1 more year, its going up to account for the new TV deals and those are done there isn’t much TV money added over the next decade, longer if the players get TNF eliminated, Sherman made a great point on that.

      • mike jones

        which sherman?

        • Tyler Ferree

          Because Thursday night games aren’t a player health issue at all, oh wait they are (i was referring to the Cardboard cutout press conference, btw). The players sooner or later will leverage those out and will try to block the league from similar scheduling gimmicks. The contracts are 20 years and the value isn’t changing until the end of the contract when they need to rengotiate, i referenced the TNF one since that is “only” a 10 year contract.

          • mike jones

            I’m still wondering about which sherman that is. is that a media member? also the thursday night injury thing is bunk BS.

          • Tyler Ferree

            Richard Sherman.

            Also Science=BS apparently, the human body NEEDS time to recover especially considering the brutality most football players endure, essentially giving them 1.5 days after practice and travel is nowhere near enough, yes they get the prolonged rest after, it doesn’t change the hightened injury risk in that game. In short there is a real injury risk associated and calling it BS doesn’t change that.

          • mike jones

            You are just making stuff up. And the next time Sherman makes a great point about anything will be the first time he makes a great point about anything.

            https://harvardsportsanalysis.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/thursday-nights-and-injuries-in-the-nfl/

            “My results indicated nothing exceptional about games played with less than a week of rest. Injuries occurred at almost exactly the same rate in Thursday night games and post-Monday night games (31 injuries in 30 team-games, for a rate of 1.03 per team-game) as they did on regular Sunday games (204 in 202 team-games, 1.01 per team-game). When I limited the sample to just Thursday games, which have two fewer days of rest than post-Monday night games, the injury rate did increase slightly to 20 in 16 team-games.

            However, a binomial test revealed that this rate is still not significantly different from the proportion of injuries that occur on Sundays. It appears that Thursday night games pose no added danger to players after all.”

          • Tyler Ferree

            Issues:
            1. Limited sample size he only used 8 weeks.
            2. He didn’t ditinguish severity
            3. His analysis doesn’t account for players who missed thursday but could have play sunday.

            He acnowledges these issues no less, your so called ace is full of holes.

    • McGeorge

      The Jets are forced to spend a chunk of change to meet the salary cap floor. Also, at one point Jets tickets were $11 on Stub Hub last year (someone even said they were $7). It’s difficult to sell season tickets with such a bad team lead by Geno Smith. By getting Revis, and a few Others (Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick) the Jets are trying to field a team people will pay to see.
      On the other hand, Buster Skrine for 6MM and David Harris for 7.5/MM is very foolish.

      Once the new TV contract is done, I don’t think the cap will continue to rise much. At least not without new markets like Europe.

  • McGeorge

    >>It’s Bad Time to be a Running Back (Unless Buffalo Wants You)

    Tell that to Demarco Murray and Ryan Mathews.

    • Tyler Ferree

      Just murray, Mathews got Gore’s contract with less guaranteed money.

  • ConservativeChas

    And it’s ALWAYS a bad time to try to go from 7-9 or 8-8 to a championship. Playoff teams are built through the draft, not in the casino of free agency. Just look at how New England, Seattle, Baltimore, Green Bay, and Pittsburgh have done it. You’ll always overpay in free agency and rarely, if ever, will you get over the hump this way. Frankly, I’m proud of my Browns. They have refused to be held up for ransom by their FA players and are quietly building more compensatory picks for 2016 by signing only players who have been cut (and thus don’t count in the FA mix for this formula) and are focusing on the draft. About time!