Matt Kalil is a 27 year old veteran offensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings who has started 66 of 66 career games, and is currently playing under his 5th year option. He was the #4 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2012. On September 21, 2016 the Vikings placed him on Injured Reserve. When looking for comparable players, I looked for recent signings, similar age, skill, draft status, and injury history. I evaluated skill by following the grading scale at www.ScoutingAcademy.com where I was taught to evaluate players on a trait by trait basis. With that premise, the players I chose for comparison are Eric Fisher, Russell Okung, and Kelvin Beachum. Continue reading 2017 Free Agents: Matt Kalil »
Adrian Peterson’s contract situation offers an interesting case of the tradeoff between contractual risk, potential for surplus value, and optionality. Even after Peterson’s 2016 salary becomes guaranteed and his roster bonus vests on the 3rd day of the league year, Peterson holds all of the contractual risk for 2017. This risk is coupled with a very high potential for surplus value ($18 million worth of compensation) and only one year worth of lost optionality. The team faces no contractual risk beyond 2016, but it has very little chance for surplus value and only one year of optionality. There may be an opportunity for the Vikings and Peterson to agree on a renegotiation that reduces the risk for Peterson in 2017 and beyond (i.e. some amount of guaranteed money) while providing the Vikings with more potential for surplus value (i.e. compensation less than $18 million) and greater optionality (i.e. nonguaranteed season(s) in 2018 and/or 2019).
According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, Adrian Peterson has agreed to a new contract with the Vikings worth $44 million over the next three seasons. Florio further goes on to discuss potential escalators and de-escalators within the contract worth $4 million. While much is being made of the potential loss of about $2 million for Peterson, the basics of the contract are identical to the massive extension signed by Peterson in 2011. I’ll explain in more detail in the body of the post but in general Peterson will defer some money to 2017 in return for better timing of payments in 2016. Continue reading Adrian Peterson Restructures Contract With Vikings »
There were some reports yesterday that the Minnesota Vikings were considering releasing running back Adrian Peterson in light of his recent charges of child abuse. This morning Pro Football Talk clarified those rumors as the Vikings being open to trading Peterson but not necessarily releasing the running back.
The reason for this is more or less financial. Had the Vikings been aware of the severity of the charges or the fact that he would be indicted about a week ago they could have released Peterson and taken a $2.4 million salary cap charge in each of the next two seasons and washed their hands of him. However, the fact that this occurred after the first game of the season entitles Peterson to Termination Pay under the terms of the CBA.
Termination Pay protects the entire salary of a veteran player in the event he is on the active roster for the first game of the season, which Peterson was. Once Peterson suited up for the game against the Rams, his $11.75 million base salary was guaranteed for the season. Any release of Peterson puts the Vikings on the hook for paying him the large salary while still allowing him to go and seek employment and a further paycheck from another NFL team that is willing to deal with the charges and negative PR associated with the move. This was different than the situation of Ravens running back Ray Rice who was on a reserve list in week 1 and thus not entitled to Termination Pay.
By trading Peterson they are relieved of the salary obligation, which now transfers to a new team. The difficulty in trading Peterson lies in finding a trade partner. Besides the fact that certain teams would not be willing to touch him due to the charges, the team in question must also have about $10 million in cap space if that trade was to be executed this week. Based on our estimates the only teams capable of doing that trade would be the Jaguars, Jets, Browns, Eagles, Titans, Bengals and maybe Patriots. Of those teams the Jets, Bengals, Eagles, and Patriots would likely have no interest from a football perspective.
Each week that Peterson remains on the Vikings roster reduces the cap space required to execute the trade by just over $690,000. If they carried him to the trade deadline (which would require paying him an extra $4.14 million) teams would need around $6 million in cap room to execute the trade. That would open up about half the NFL to being financial able to trade for him.
So this is a complex issue for the Vikings that goes far beyond just cutting a player because it seems the right thing to do. There may be more justice in letting the legal system play out and allowing the NFL to potentially suspend Peterson without pay than being in a position where they pay Peterson millions of dollars to go away.
We take our first look at the NFC North contracts with the Minnesota Vikings
Best Contract: John Sullivan
Though he does not have the name recognition of Ryan Kalil, Alex Mack, or Maurkice Pouncey, John Sullivan is every bit as good if not better than the biggest name (and highest paid) Centers in the NFL. Sullivan is an all around player. He helps open those holes for the running game led by Adrian Peterson and is making the important decisions on the line in front of a very suspect group of quarterbacks that last year included Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and Josh Freeman.
The Vikings wisely locked Sullivan up in 2011 when he still had one season remaining on his rookie contract rather than allowing him to test free agency in 2012. The Center market had become somewhat overpaid with the emergence of Nick Mangold and Kalil following the wild $37.5 million dollar contract the Rams gave Jason Brown in 2009. Despite the top end prices the Vikings were able to lock Sullivan up at $4.9 million a season, around a 40% discount from the top of the market. The Vikings decision would look even better in light of more expensive contracts given to Chris Myers and Max Unger, both very good players, which may have represented what the market would have been for Sullivan had he hit free agency.
The money saved on Sullivan has allowed the Vikings to overpay to retain the services of Peterson and other players on the team. Sullivan’s cap hits will never crack top 5 in a single season and for the next few years he will be around the 8th or 9th highest cap charge at the position which is a tremendous bargain. The contract was also structured to protect the team’s salary cap in the event his play declines as he reached 30. The Vikings cost to cut in 2015, when he will be 30, is only $1 million and the 2016 season contains no dead money. It gives them flexibility to cut or to extend without having to worry about adding money on top of sunk costs built into the contract. Every team would be happy to have a player and contract like this one on their team.
Worst Contract: Greg Jennings
There were more than a few choices to sort through in Minnesota, but at the end of the day I felt it had to come down to a choice between Greg Jennings and Everson Griffen. It was a tough decision as both leave the Vikings with potential difficult situations with the salary cap and both were overpayments for players, with Griffen’s deal being a complete misreading of the landscape, but Griffen has real upside while Jennings had , at best, minimal upside.
In a year where teams were throwing money wildly at wide receivers, the 30 year old Jennings was getting minimal interest in free agency. His former team, the Green Bay Packers, had decided to move on and it seemed most around the league were wary of his contract demands, which they should have been.
Jennings was slowly seeing his numbers erode in Green Bay as he struggled with injuries. In 2011 he dropped below 1,000 yards, missed three games due to an MCL injury, and his yards per catch was at its lowest since his rookie season. In 2012 he only appeared in 8 games due to injuries and looked like a shell of a player. A body breaking down should have been a warning sign to any team in the NFL and at the very least been addressed in a contract. The Vikings did neither.
Minnesota threw Jennings $17.8 million fully guaranteed, $10 million of which came in the form of a signing bonus. His contract averaged $9 million a season which was more than was given to younger and bigger upside players such as Antonio Brown, Victor Cruz, and Pierre Garcon. In 2014 Brandon Marshall, a far superior receiver in the same age bracket who showed no signs of breaking down, received $10 million a year with about $15 million guaranteed and a minimal signing bonus.
Jennings was more or less a non-factor in 2013 averaging around 12 yards per catch and producing about 800 yards on the year. The s Vikings structured the contract such that in 2015 he’ll either be on the team at an $11 million cap charge or cost the team $6 million in dead money. Those kind of numbers never should have happened for a player like Jennings.
2013’s Best and Worst Vikings Contracts:
2013 Best Contract: John Sullivan (Starting Center; See above)
2013 Worst Contract: John Carlson (Released; Signed with Cardinals)
Yesterday S Andrew Sendejo of the Minnesota Vikings signed a two year contract extension. Per a League source, the contract itself is worth $2.0 million in new money with $200,000 paid as a signing bonus. His salary in 2013 remains unchanged so the cap strapped Vikings only lose $66,666 in cap room in 2013. In 2014 Sendejo’s salary will be $750,000 and in 2015 it rises to $950,000.
Though Sendejo entered the NFL in 2010 he has yet to play in enough games to push his free agent status beyond that of the “Exclusive Rights” category despite his $630,000 salary. In the NFL one earns a credited season for salary purposes with just three games on the Active roster, which Sendejo accomplished each season. However you need six games to earn a season towards free agency status, which he only accomplished in two seasons, which would have left him as a Restricted Free Agent in 2014.
The deal represents a middle ground agreement to take the uncertainty of the season out of the equation. The RFA tender for 2014 should be $1.389 million in non-guaranteed salary. Sendejo will now make $400,000 in fully guaranteed money and a total of $1 million in new money between the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Jared Allen #69 DE, Minnesota Vikings
Johnny Manziel should take some pointers about alcohol consumption from Jared Allen. Allen’s two DUIs in 2007 nearly derailed his eventual Hall of Fame career. Although the Kansas City Chiefs truly wanted to offer a contract extension commensurate with his talent, the team had to take into account that off the field, Allen was spiraling out of control. The Chiefs eventually used the highest RFA tender to retain him for the 2007 season.
After serving a league mandated two game suspension-reduced from four- Allen went on an absolute tear, recording 15.5 sacks in only 14 games. Chiefs GM at the time was Carl Peterson who vowed “We will not lose Jared Allen”. Instead of offering a long term contract to their reformed superstar, the Chiefs decided to play hardball and slapped the Franchise Tag on him. Obviously Allen did not take kindly to this and demanded a trade out of Kansas City which was granted. On April 23, 2008 Allen was traded to the Minnesota Vikings and received a then record-breaking (for a defensive player) 6 year, $73.5 million contract.
This bring us to today. Allen has honored not only his contract but also staying away from drinking. Over the past six years he has built upon his Hall of Fame resume. At 31 years old, my assumption is he will be awarded an extension by the Vikings commensurate to the one Cameron Wake signed lasted year.
Estimated New Contract: Minnesota Vikings extention 5 years, $38 million