NFL Stock Down: Week 2

Every Monday during the season we will take a look back at three players who are entering important stages of their contract that may have hurt their stock in upcoming negotiations with their play on Sunday. In addition we will also look at one player signed in the offseason to a new contract that did not live up to the expectations that his contract sets for the player.

Stock Down

Darren McFadden– McFadden received next to no interest from around the NFL and opted for a one year contract to stay on the Raiders with the intent to prove that there was still a long way to go before his career was over. McFadden got his opportunity on Sunday due to an injury to Maurice Jones Drew and finished the day with 12 carries for 37 yards. Unless the Raiders new GM in 2015 is Marty Hurney, McFadden’s chances of any payday next year look to be next to nothing.

Robert Griffin III– I don’t like to include injured players in this category, but I don’t think there is a way to avoid how devastating this latest injury setback is for RGIII. After this season the Redskins have to decide on the option year for RGIII and could also extend the QB. Two years ago it seemed a given that he would get a monster contract extension in 2015. Now the durability concerns may make the option an issue since its injury protected. What’s worse is that he is now going to be looked at as a project QB especially if he fails to reclaim the job when healthy enough to try again.

Osi Umenyiora– To say Umenyiora’s time in Atlanta has been a disappointment is certainly an understatement and on Sunday he played in just 21 snaps and recorded no pressures in his time in the game. Osi is expected to be a situational pass rusher but at this rate the Falcons may decrease the situational opportunities they put him in. The fit on the team is terrible and if there is trade where both sides benefit it may be this one. But he is killing his chances of finding another home in the NFL next season with games like this.


New Contract Disappointment Of The Week

Matt Cassel– Cassel was re-signed to give the Vikings a professional presence at the QB position and on Sunday he gave them a 3 year old rookie performance. Minnesota had no chance with Cassel throwing 4 interceptions that were a mixture of awful throws and bad decisions. You won’t see many more games in the NFL this bad at this position and one more like this and he will lose his job to the rookie on the bench.


Stock Down: Week 17


Every Monday during the season we will take a look back at three players who are entering important stages of their contract that may have hurt their stock in upcoming negotiations with their play on Sunday. In addition we will also look at one player signed in the offseason to a new contract that did not live up to the expectations that his contract sets for the player.

Matt Schaub– Schaub had opportunities of the last few weeks to basically open a market up for him once he is cut by the Texans next month. While Schaub had been productive in 2011 and 2012 the lasting memories were big game failures and the implosion in 2013. With no expectations, Schaub should have been able to go out and play well enough to get back into that $10 million a year range but with just 229 yards and two interceptions against Tennessee, Schaub has set himself up to have to take a prove it style contract that probably falls around $7 million.

Andre Brown– Brown has become a mainstay in this column with week after week after week of bad play. His return from injury was a great story but it quickly turned sour. Tom Coughlin had to bench him during this game following yet another fumble, his third in three games. If the Giants overhaul the coaching staff Brown may not even get a chance to come back next season and I don’t know many teams that would give him an opportunity outside of New York.

Darren McFadden– I don’t know what does or does not happen with the Raiders executives this week, but not cutting McFadden sure looks like a mistake in hindsight. Always injured and when healthy enough to play he as completely ineffective. McFadden carried the ball 7 times and gained 9 yards. His 379 yards on the year was the second worst of his career and his 3.3 YPC average looks to be his upside at this point. I guess a team will give him a look for a million or two next year but hes close to being done.

New Contract Disappointment Of The Week

Joe Flacco– The Ravens had every opportunity in the world to get into the playoffs when Andy Dalton was turning the ball over left and right, but Flacco simply could not answer the call. There were tons of question marks surrounding the contract given Flacco following his Super Bowl win and this year he did nothing to answer those questions. On Sunday he threw for just 192 yards in 50 attempts and was picked off three times. In fairness to Flacco he was pretty beat up and played through pain, but I don’t think anyone expected 19 TDs and 22 INTs on the year he signs a deal worth just over $20 million a season.




Stock Down: Week 9


Every Monday during the season we will take a look back at three players who are entering important stages of their contract that may have hurt their stock in upcoming negotiations with their play on Sunday. In addition we will also look at one player signed in the offseason to a new contract that did not live up to the expectations that his contract sets for the player.

Stock Down

Willis McGahee– Most people thought McGahee was finished when the Broncos released him this offseason, but he ended up with a great opportunity when the Cleveland Browns brought him n to replace Trent Richardson. Unfortunately for McGahee he has not made the most of his chance to prove the doubters wrong, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry this year. The Browns gave him 21 chances with the ball on Sunday and he averaged 1.5 yards per carry. This will likely signal the end of his career.

Darren McFadden– 5 carries for 12 yards and then leaving with an injury pretty much sums up the career for McFadden. He is doing nothing to dispel the notion that he can’t be effective in the NFL as this is his second sub 15 yard day this season and his 5th day carrying for less than 3.3 yards a run. McFadden said all the right things in the offseason about how he was going to prove to everyone he deserved a big contract. Now he is going to have to find a way to prove that the Raiders system somehow is causing him to get injured and be ineffective. That’s going to be a tall task.

Johnathan Joseph– Joseph had an incredibly difficult time last night covering TY Hilton in the second half as the Colts stormed back to beat the Texans in the 4th quarter. Joseph could be in a difficult position in 2014. The Texans are a bad football team that has to strongly consider if this is a group that they can make another run with or if it needs to be broken down. Joseph is set to carry an $11.25 million hit next year and earn $7.5 million in the process. The way the corner market has gone he could find himself having to take a short term deal for a few million less than that if he is released.

New Contract Disappointment Of The Week

Joe Flacco– Sunday was pretty close to a must win game for the Baltimore Ravens and all the team could do was muster 18 points in a losing effort. The Ravens paid Joe Flacco to be great and he has had a hard time living up to the price tag. Pro Football Focus rates Flacco as the 3rd worst starting QB in the NFL this season, only ahead of two rookies. On Sunday Flacco was outplayed by Jason Campbell, a journeyman in every sense of the word just holding on to a NFL career.  Between he and Matt Ryan it seems to be a weekly duel as to whose team overpaid more for the QB.




Stock Up: Week 2


Every Monday during the season we will take a look back at three players who are entering important stages of their contract that may have helped their stock in upcoming negotiations with their play on Sunday. In addition we will also look at one player signed in the offseason to a new contract that exceeded all expectations and provided exceptional value to his team.

Stock Up

DeSean Jackson– While DeSean Jackson is only in the second year of a new contract, the structure of the contract essentially makes this a contract year for him. Jackson’s 2014 cap charge is $12.5 million which should be good for 5thin the NFL at the position. With only $6 million in dead charges Jackson will be in a spot where he is asked to take a paycut or be released. If he continues to put up numbers like he did this week (9 receptions for 193 yards) he will earn every penny of his salary in 2014. The scary thing is Jackson’s numbers could have been even better had he hauled in a bomb where the throw was slightly off and he lost vision of where he stood on the field. He also had another big score called back because of a meaningless penalty. In this offense Jackson right now is unstoppable.

Darren McFadden– Thus far in his career McFadden has proven to be more hype than substance. He is slated to be an Unrestricted Free Agent in 2014 and needs a monster year to secure a place in the plus $7 million market. We had looked at McFadden extensively last month and laid out some milestones he would need to reach in terms of touches, games played and yards. 19 carries for 129 yards is a terrific start for McFadden, especially when you consider the threat of the passing game in Oakland is next to nothing. McFadden’s 129 rushing yards represented a higher total than Terrelle Pryor’s passing yards. His YPC was higher than Pryor’s YPA. His 28 receiving yards were third on the team. No question that McFadden will continue to up his price if he can produce more games like this.

Jimmy Graham– Graham’s explosion marks an all offense selection week. Everyone knows Graham is terrific but with games like this he is separating himself from the field by so much that the Saints are going to have no choice but to franchise him next season. The numbers are scary good and are going to blow away those of comparison points such as Rob Gronkowski and Jason Witten if this continues all season long. With 16 targets Graham was the offense for the Saints. His 16 targets were the same amount as all other receivers on the team combined. Graham is a rare player in that he is targeted as if he is a number 1 WR, something that rarely happens for a TE. That shows an ability for much of what he does to translate to any team in the NFL. I’m not sure there is another position in the NFL where the drop off from the best to second best overall player is as steep as the one from Graham to the next best TE.

New Contract Player Of The Week

Brian Cushing– Cushing just recently cashed in with Houston and if he had not he would have been in the above section rather than in this one. Cushing earned every penny of his extension this week racking up 11 tackles and 2 sacks. Almost all of his tackles were impact plays and he seemed to spend most of his day in the backfield or right up at the line making plays. His stuff of Chris Johnson was one of the critical plays on the drive that ended in a Safety. Thus far Cushing is having a nice bounce back season from injury.

Follow @Jason_OTC


State of Rebuild – Oakland Raiders


How do you build a winning football team?  Over the next few weeks I am going to look at a handful of teams that are relatively early in their rebuilding process or on the verge of a possible rebuild.  The purpose of this is not to reflect on past regime decisions compared to the current decisions but rather to start the analysis from day one and evaluate personnel decisions along with contract structures and styles to see if certain trends help produce a winning franchise.

State of the Franchise and Front Office

It’s well recognized by even the most diehard Raider fans that the team hasn’t lived up to its mantra “Commitment to Excellence” for a very long time.  General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Dennis Allen enter their second year with the Raiders in one of the most unique situations I can remember.  To put it simply, McKenzie has blown the whole thing up.  This is essentially an expansion team that has been broken down to the bones and in the early stages of a massive and complete rebuild.  For a great in-depth look at how the Oakland Raiders got to where they are, I encourage you to read Joel Corry’s piece by clicking here.


GM Reggie McKenzie and HC Dennis Allen

With McKenzie seemingly purging the roster completely, the Raiders have amassed a stunning $50,321,847 in dead money this year, effectively decimating this year’s salary cap.  In my opinion, it’s an absolutely brilliant maneuver.  The Raiders weren’t going to compete for a Super Bowl this year, let alone a division title, and were anchored down by terrible contracts and personnel decisions.  By cutting loose the awful contracts and biting this bullet this year, the Raiders are set to have almost a complete clean slate heading into 2014.  The Raiders currently have the smallest amount of money committed to players under contract next year at $51,476,044, and are set to lead the league in cap space going into next year by a long shot even after factoring in the $6,609,588 of dead money.  With a cleaned out roster and tons of cap space, it will be interesting to see if McKenzie builds through the draft and avoids free agency like he did when he was the Director of Football Operations for the Green Bay Packers or splurges with all the available funds.

Despite all the pessimism around the chances of the Raiders winning more than a handful of games this year, there was a brief moment during last weekend’s contest against the Colts where everyone watching thought, “The Raiders might actually win this game.”  But alas, a late interception by Terrelle Pryor sealed a week 1 loss for the Raiders to the relief of nearly half the Survivor Pool participants who confidently picked the Colts.

Contract Strategies and Trends

There isn’t a ton to look at in this section yet.  Most of the players McKenzie has brought in this offseason have similar style deals, usually one-year in length, with a small to medium sized signing bonus, and a workout bonus usually ranging from $100,000-$250,000.  Some of these players include S Charles Woodson, CB Mike Jenkins, and DT Vance Walker.  McKenzie for the most part has avoided using roster bonuses but there are a few exceptions including Tracy Porter’s $187,500 RB and Usama Young’s $65,000 RB, both of which are in 2013.  After using the franchise tag on S Tyvon Branch last offseason, McKenzie also used a pair of roster bonuses when the Raiders agreed to a new contract with him before the deadline that contained a $1,000,000 roster bonus in 2014 and 2015.

McKenzie’s biggest free acquisitions over the past two offseasons were G Mike Brisiel and LB Nick Roach.  Both contracts are set up very similarly with Brisiel’s 5-year deal and Roach’s 4-year deal both containing a standard breakdown of P5 (base) salaries, signing bonuses, and workout bonuses.  Brisiel was brought in last year to play guard in the zone-blocking scheme, but after one unsuccessful year the Raiders have abandoned it.  Brisiel’s underwhelming play last year and an offensive-line scheme change led to what was originally believed to be a pay-cut.  Instead it seems to be more of a normal restructure.  This is odd because it was widely believed that Brisiel wouldn’t quite fit into the Raider’s new scheme, and would only have cost $2,240,000 in dead money to move on from him.  Now it would cost almost $3,930,000.  If Brisiel turns his play around this year than there is nothing to worry about, but if he continues to struggle, now the Raiders are committed even more to a player they don’t want, and had the chance to bite a smaller bullet earlier.  For what it’s worth, PFF graded his first game against the Colts as an average performance.

Of course there is always K Sebastian Janikowski.  The longtime Raider was given an extension through the 2017 season maintaining his status as the leagues most expensive place kicker.  From what I can tell, Janikowski’s P5 (base) salaries are guaranteed in 2013 and 2014 at $3,500,000 and $2,700,000 respectively, and with small signing bonus proratations, it’s basically only a 2-year deal.  If the Raiders finally decide to move on from the Janikowski era after the 2014 season, it will only cost them $360,000 in dead money in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

McKenzie also extended long snapper Jon Condo shortly after Janikowski.  Condo’s deal isn’t anything special contractually, just a standard P5 (base) salary and signing bonus, but yet again a Raider who plays special teams is being paid at the top of the market.  For more details on Condo’s extension, click here.


Biggest Upcoming Roster Decision

The comical but semi-realistic answer to this question would be Jadeveon Clowney or Teddy Bridgewater but it is the NFL, and despite Oakland’s current situation, the Raiders are by no means guaranteed to have the 1st pick in the 2014 draft (looking at you Jacksonville).  The Raiders actually host the Jaguars this week and are giving 6 points now in what could be a decisive game for determining who has the 1st overall pick in next year’s NFL draft.  The real decision then is between Matt Flynn and Darren McFadden.

The Raiders and Flynn restructured his deal in May to create a little cap space, which in turn aided in bringing back Charles Woodson to the silver and black.  As a result, Flynn goes into the 2014 season with a cap charge of $7,625,000.  Had he won the job, and presumably would have been the starting quarterback going into next offseason, that figure isn’t terrible at all.  But after losing to Russell Wilson in Seattle last year, Flynn lost the quarterback competition again, this time to Terrelle Pryor.  Whether Pryor is the starter heading into 2014, or the Raiders use a high draft pick on one, the total cost allocation of the quarterbacks for the Raiders is still going to be a friendly figure, making keeping Flynn at the high cap number, even as a backup, reasonable.  If they decide to cut him, it would cost the Raiders $2,625,000 in dead money in 2014 as well as throwing away the 2014 5th round pick and most likely the conditional pick in 2015 that was paid to the Seahawks for Flynn.  Jason pointed out one additional reason the Raiders might choose to keep Flynn around – to reach the CBA mandated minimum cash spending.  Remember the CBA divided the actual cash spending by the teams into 4-year buckets.  Because the Raiders payroll is so freakishly low this year, they are one of the few teams that could plausibly not reach the minimum threshold.  Keeping Flynn, and paying him, would help the Raiders reach that threshold.

mcfaddenAs for McFadden, it was reported that the Raiders haven’t officially reached out to him about signing an extension before he hits free agency next offseason. The 4th overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft is entering the sixth season of a disappointing career.  The best player comparison I can think of going into this season for McFadden is 2008 2nd overall pick Reggie Bush.  Before being traded to Miami prior to the 2011 season, many of the concerns about Bush are shared by McFadden now; unproductive, injury-prone, and underachieving.  Through the first five years of each of their careers, one of those players played in 57 of 80 possible games, scored 23 rushing or receiving touchdowns, and compiled 4,803 yards from scrimmage while the other played in 60 of 80 possible games, had 29 rushing or receiving touchdowns, and compiled 4,232 yards from scrimmage.  Player 1 is McFadden and Player 2 is Bush.  Both stat-lines are extremely similar and fall far short of the expectations both franchises had when they selected the running backs at the top end of the Draft.  While I personally don’t see McFadden resurrecting his career like Reggie Bush has, I think it’s more than likely this is the final season Run DMC spends in Oakland, completing the eradication of the Raiders’ 1st round picks.

This is going to wrap up the preliminary look at some of the franchises starting their rebuilding process, in the midst of it, or on the verge of one.  There are a few more teams we could have taken a look at but I either felt that they are going to be sufficiently analyzed on the site already (Jets) or would repeat some of the styles we’ve already started analyzing from previous teams.  I’ll probably do a check-in article sometime towards the middle of the season to look at some of the moves that have been made since the articles were written and a general progress report on how their season is currently going.  As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or disagree with anything – don’t hesitate to comment or reach out to me.

Past ‘State of Rebuild’ Articles

Philadelphia Eagles

Chicago Bears

Buffalo Bills

San Diego Chargers

Ryan Feder
Tulane University Law School
J.D. Candidate 2015

Looking at Darren McFadden’s Decision to Play the Season Out


Darren McFadden

Chris Wesseling of has posted yesterday that RB Darren McFadden of the Raiders was ready to play the season out in hopes of getting a lucrative contract in free agency next season. So with that in mind I figured we could take a look at the running back and see if he really has any hope of earning big dollars.

The running back market in general has come crashing down since the heyday of the Shaun Alexander and Ricky Williams. Between teams having their salary caps damaged by unproductive runners being paid millions of dollars and the explosion of the passing offense and influx of younger talented QB’s the running back became devalued tremendously.

The only two runners to “break the market” were Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson, and those are both unrealistic data points for any player in the NFL. The true top of the market is between $7 and $9 million a year so I have to guess that is what McFadden is aiming for. The question is can he actually get there?

McFadden has a lot to overcome to even be considered in that grouping. The first issue is the injury history. No season, no matter how great, is going to convince a team that he can stay healthy and productive for 16 games. No team is going to spend big dollars on a player that is only healthy for 12 games and productive for 8 or 9. It ruins the flow of the offense.

Secondly he has to convince teams that the poor seasons were a fluke.  McFadden has had more mediocre seasons than good seasons. He only ran for 500 yards as a rookie and 360 yards in his second season. He played very well in 2010 and started out well in 2011 before falling off a cliff in 2012, which he blamed on the blocking scheme. The fact that he is saying he can’t run behind a certain scheme could be troubling to a team.

The Upper Market Statistics

I first wanted to look at the top end of the market and use the two year averages leading up to an extension to come up with some basic goals for McFadden. (Please note that I am not including Jonathan Stewart of the Panthers simply because no team is going to use him as any point of comparison).



Run Yds


Rec Yds




Big Play























































Making a Case For the High End

Because McFadden has basically no useful stats the last two seasons we have to assume teams will use that 2010 season as a point of reference along with 2013. In 2010 he rushed for 1157 yards on 223 carries and added 507 receiving yards on 47 receptions. While I don’t see teams agreeing to just blindly use that year as likely that is the best case he can make for himself.  To get to the group averages McFadden is going to need the following stat line in 2013:

Games: 16
Carries: 300
Yards: 1207
Receptions: 60
Yards Rec: 448
TD: 13
Big Plays: 9

These numbers would all represent major career highs in touches as well as games played. Are those attainable?  Probably not and he may need to exceed the numbers simply because we are using 2010 as a data point, which is an eternity ago in football years. While some people might point to the fact that 300 carries for 1200 yards is not as productive as he has been at his peak and that he can get 1200 yards with just 250 carries it’s not really the yards that are important. It’s the touches. It is the ability to carry the ball multiple times that brings financial value to a team.

The problem with an ultra productive player that only carries the ball 200 times is that the team then needs to sign someone to handle the missing 100 carries. That costs money and cap space. It’s like being injured and needing a decent replacement. A team doesn’t want to design an offense where Player A can do X, Y, and Z for 5.5 YPC and then supplant him for significant carries with Player B that can only do it for 2.5.

Essentially if McFadden can only carry for 220 times a year and you sign him for $8 million a year it means you need to sign or draft another productive player that can carry the ball 170 to 200 times.  That brings your cost allocation from $7 or $8 million a year into the $10-$11 million a year range, a very high amount to spend on a running back.

The best case McFadden can make is to use Marshawn Lynch as a comparison point. When you look at the chart above Lynch is the one player who does not belong. His overall productivity was weak compared to others. He didn’t have the touches, didn’t factor into the passing game, and produced less than 4 yards a carry. Lynch had a few bad seasons leading into his extension. He was suspended for three games in 2009 and fell out of favor in Buffalo, only gaining 450 yards on the ground. He was traded the next year and produced an underwhelming 3.5 YPA for the Seahawks in 12 games. He also battled an ankle problem that year which he played through.

Those two seasons are not terribly different than what McFadden has done the prior two years. Lynch bounced back in 2011 to have a Pro Bowl season for the Seahawks and gaining 1200 rushing yards. Seattle took into account the distant past play when Lynch was a workhorse back with the Bills rather than considering 2011 the outlier and using his prior two years as reference points. Lynch would go on to have a monster season in 2012 justifying the overspending on the player.

The Secondary Market Statistics

While McFadden envisions himself in that group that earns $7 to $9 million a year, the more likely place for him is in the non-workhorse section of the market which varies from $3 million to $6.4 million a year. These are the players who teams do not have faith in being able to carry a full load or being able to remain healthy for 16 games. They understand the risks associated with the talent and are only going to spend a limited amount of cap dollars. Using the same two year averages here is that group of players:



Run Yds


Rec Yds




Big Play

R. Bush






















































Making a Case For the Secondary Tier

Using this subset McFadden doesn’t need to push for a team to use 2010 as a baseline. All he needs to do is come close to recreating 2010 and he will easily surpass the averages of this group with the exception of games played. If he put up his 2010 numbers over a 16 game stretch he’d be more proficient than everyone except Charles. Being that McFadden has top draft talent, is far superior as a big play threat, and could convince teams to throw out that 2012 season he can easily push to the top of this list.

There are a number of easy comparisons here. The most logical would be Bush. Bush was a former number 2 overall pick who did very little in New Orleans over the first five seasons of his career. He received more opportunity with the Dolphins and turned himself into a viable mid tier back capable of carrying 200 times a year. Bush is 28 in his season of signing with Detroit. McFadden will be 27 if he plays the season out. Bush received $4 million a season from Detroit with $5 million in full guarantees.

Another point of reference would be Frank Gore. Gore had a more productive career than McFadden but looked as if all the wear and tear of his early years had worn him down. He was 28 when he signed a 3 year extension that did not begin until he was 29 years old. Gore received a close to high end value with significant money tied up in per game roster bonuses because of fear of injury.

Setting a Price

The following chart illustrates the contract values and full guarantees of the various players we discussed above plotted simply against average combined yards over the two years before the new contract.

NFL Running back marketplace

I would consider Lynch’s contract, worth $7.5 million a year, to be the highest possibility for McFadden and that is probably a stretch price. Seattle has not been the most cautious team in the league in regards to contract decisions leaning much more towards payment based on upper level potential rather than proven results. Given the Raiders cap history and knowing that their General Manager, Reggie McKenzie, comes from a system that takes the pessimistic approach to payment on potential it would be highly unlikely that the Raiders would ever consider matching a 4 year $30 million dollar contract with $17 million fully guaranteed for a player with McFadden’s history. That doesn’t mean somebody won’t do it but I can’t imagine that team being the Raiders barring a historic season by McFadden.

A more realistic number is between that $4 million and $6.4 million range of the second tier of players with minimal guarantees and for shorter terms in length. Though Charles was much younger when he signed his contract I could see the $5.4 million being a fair figure for McFadden if he has a good season. If he is willing to hedge his bets on his skill guarantees I think they could push the value closer to Gore’s.

Gore received more money potential for giving up true guarantees. This is not completely uncommon in the NFL. Darrelle Revis, CB for the Buccaneers, did the same in order to receive a contract far exceeding his “on paper” value, especially in light of an ACL injury that sidelined him for almost all of 2012. Gore’s lack of skill guarantees combined with heavy incentives based on staying healthy would seem like an ideal model for McFadden.

This style of contract fits in with McKenzie’s background with the Green Bay Packers and what he has started to use in Green Bay. McKenzie has also shown a willingness to use incentives in his contracts to push the value beyond the stated values in the contract which could also be used to max McFadden out if he was to produce the way Lynch ended up producing this past season. Again the incentives are not terribly uncommon as Rice’s contract contains performance incentives that would push his value closer to his “on paper” production level if he continued to hit certain statistical thresholds.  Gore’s contract also contains added performance incentives.

The Risks of Playing the Season Out

Contrary to popular opinion I don’t think McFadden has any leverage right now despite his team high $9.68 million dollar cap number. None of McFadden’s salary is guaranteed and the Raiders are no longer hurting for cap dollars. Next season the Raiders will be flush with cap space as they try to build their roster essentially from scratch and a few extra carryover dollars from McFadden reworking his contract means nothing.

I am not sure what the Raiders would consider fair value for him now, but I wouldn’t imagine it would be much more than what the Dolphins paid Bush in 2010. Bush received a contract worth $4.875 million per year over two years with just $2.5 million in guarantees. The contract was completely based on potential and the belief that he would be a better fit in the Dolphins offense than the Saints offense.  That money would be in addition to his $5.85 million dollar salary he is earning now.

If McFadden is unsuccessful this year in improving on 2012 he probably will not even receive that much money in free agency. I think because of the failures of McCoy, Foster, Forte, Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, etc… teams are more hesitant than ever to invest. In terms of annual value Bush, despite being more productive, is earning less than he did off his nothing seasons with New Orleans. Our own valuation of McFadden based on last season said he was worth only $1.9 million a season.

If McFadden were to hit free agency he could find his options limited. His statements about the offensive scheme could eliminate teams from considering him and he will likely only be picked up by a team needing a complementary piece. Most likely he would need to take an Ahmad Bradshaw style 1 year $2 million dollar contract with next to nothing guaranteed as a way to prove himself and Bradshaw was far more productive than McFadden.

So if the Raiders were offering him such a deal he could lock himself into a good chance to earn close to $10 million in 2014 and 2014 with the Raiders. With so many holes to fill as long as McFadden has a pulse they may be willing to stick with him especially since he will not damage their salary cap at those figures.  So you could be looking at an $8 million dollar loss by hoping for a higher value contract. McFadden also has to consider the franchise tag as a realistic option even he plays well because the Raiders will be cap rich in 2014 and can easily take on a one year $8.5 million cap hit for a question mark player.

As a point of reference Bush’ s new contract will only pay him $8.5 million over the next two years  and Gore’s paid $11.1 million in his first two extension years. If the Raiders were willing to go to $9 million or so in a two year extension (and we have no idea if they would be willing to do so) he would really be giving up very little value over his likely market price even if he had a pretty productive year as his base values of his contract may very likely end up right at the same figure. Really what he would be giving up would be some added backend contract value that is always non guaranteed and the incentives that could be part of an extension.

For this to truly be worth the risk, McFadden is going to have to put up absolutely incredible numbers, not have the franchise tag applied, and find a team willing to spend for an outside player based on a one year data point. None of the big contracts were free agent acquisitions as all players re-signed with their own teams, so free agency for runners is generally soft. That is a lot of things that need to occur for a player who typically plays 12 or 13 games a season to get the kind of money he hopes to get by playing the season out.