A Closer Look at Cam Jordan’s $55 Million Contract

Earlier this week Saints defensive end Cam Jordan signed a $55 million extension and today the full details have emerged on the contract.  According to Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate  Jordan received a $16 million signing bonus and $16.969 first year full guarantee. There are a number of roster bonuses throughout the contract, vesting injury guarantees, and incentives (you can see the full breakdown of the contract here). So let’s walk through the contract and break it down a bit further. 

The initial comparison I made on this contract was to Calais Campbell, and it looks as if that was a good way to go. Here is the cash flow comparisons on the two contracts.

Year 0$10,000,000$0
Year 1$19,600,000$17,000,000
Year 2$26,700,000$30,250,000
Year 3$36,000,000$36,000,000
Year 4$45,100,000$45,250,000
Year 5$55,000,000$55,000,000

While the contracts are virtually identical in years 3 through 5 in terms of cash, I dont think I would consider this contract to advance the market and would still consider Campbell the starting point for many players. Campbell received favorable terms on the front end of the contract with $30 million coming his way in two seasons. While Jordan does have upside with the sack incentives, which can increase the value of his contract by $5 million, he  also has downside in the form of $1.3 million in per game active roster bonuses.

Campbell earned $25 million in prorated bonus money to protect his contract compared to $16 million for Jordan, at least at the time of signing. Campbell earned a stronger guarantee package with his contract vesting on the 3rd day of the waiver period versus 3rd day of the league year for Jordan. Jordan’s new money total guarantee is also much less than Campbell’s, $26.5 million versus $31 million. Jordan is also signing his contract a few years after Campbell, who signed during a flat salary cap projection time.

That said this is still a very good deal for Jordan its just not the one that really changes the dynamics of the marketplace other than having another valid data point. I’d imagine Bryce’s ECV would be pretty close for the two, especially if the Saints convert most of Jordans roster bonus and/or salary to a signing bonus next year. That has been the norm for New Orleans due to their cap situation and this will likely follow the same pattern.

The $16 million signing bonus is massive for a non-quarterback these days as more and more teams have tried to avoid the large bonuses. For example last season JJ Watt only received a $10 million signing bonus and $20 million in total prorated money after a restructure. Other defensive players to earn more than Jordan in a first year bonus are those like N’damukong Suh ($25.5M), Clay Matthews ($20.5M), Mario Williams ($19M), and Charles Johnson ($30M at the height of the Panthers insanity with managing the cap). So this is a pretty exceptional bonus figure for Jordan, one that the Saints will hope they dont regret later on.