Our second team in the series is the Washington Redskins.
Best Contract: Chris Chester
Much like last year I am having a very difficult time coming up with a real “good” contract for the Redskins, so I’ll keep the choice as Chester. Overall I don’t have a good feel for the way the Redskins operate with their contracts and for the most part almost every veteran player on the roster I feel was overvalued. I am sure that many will state that Pierre Garcon should get the nod as he had a tremendous season in 2013, but again a great player does not necessarily equal a great deal. My take on Garcon remains the same in that he was a “B level” talent when he left Indianapolis and the Redskins paid him as a low level one.
As for Chester he is a solid starter and never misses a game. He is affordable at $4 million a season and the deal was a standout for Washington for all the right reasons. His contract contained no large signing bonus and no voidable year provisions while also having relatively large injury protection bonuses in the contract. These are all features of deals that I don’t associate with the Redskins, specifically at the time he was signed to play on the team.
If for whatever reason they choose to cut him this season the cap hit is negligible which is due to the low signing bonus and the fact that they had no reason to go to him for salary cap relief since his highest cap charge never exceeded $4.8 million. A contract that simply benefits both sides.
Worst Contract: Jason Hatcher
One can not deny the great season that Hatcher had in 2013 when he seemingly found himself at the age of 31 in the Cowboys new 43 defense. Hatcher was incredibly disruptive and posted 11 sacks on the season after just 16 sacks in his prior seven seasons in the NFL. There was no doubt he would get a raise in 2014 but the Redskins went above and beyond when they signed the free agent defensive tackle.
Washington went out and paid Hatcher $6.875 million a year, which ranks in the top 10 among veterans at the position. They guaranteed Hatcher over $10 million including a $9 million signing bonus that would leave the Redskins with nearly $5 million in dead money in 2016 when Hatcher will be 34. There is also no protection in the contract in regards to tying salary to injury which is something that the Redskins have used with other players. Why it would not be negotiated with a player in his 30’s is a mystery.
For a 32 year old lineman this is a pretty ridiculous contract. This is the age where teams begin to sign such players to one and two year contracts with minimal salaries and guarantees. Hatcher is a solid pro for $3-$4 million a year with annual outs out of the contract. 31 other teams would never be fooled by a one season explosion at this age to dive in this deep, but some things never change and the Redskins contractual decisions will always rank up there among the worst in the NFL. This will be a very difficult contract for Hatcher to ever live up to and Washington has little recourse but to pay him even if he fails to do just that.
2013’s Best and Worst Redskins Contracts:
2013 Best Contract: Chris Chester (Remains on Redskins roster)
2013 Worst Contract: London Fletcher (Contract expired and player retired)
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.