John Franklin-Myers Signs $55 Million Extension with the Jets

Jets standout defensive lineman will be a Jet for the foreseeable future after he signed a four year, $55 million contract to remain in New York as a fixture for the Jets defense. Per a source with knowledge of the contract here is a breakdown of the deal.

This year Franklin-Myers salary will remain the same and he will also receive a $2 million signing bonus. The balance of his salary (about $715K) for the year is officially guaranteed as part of the extension. His cap hit increases by $400,000 due to the signing bonus.

In 2022 He will earn a guaranteed roster bonus in March worth $10 million while also earning a guaranteed salary of $1.5 million. He has $600,000 in per game bonuses and offseason bonuses which are also guaranteed if he was to be released. His cap number will be $12.5 million.

In 2023 he will earn an $11.4 million in salary along with the same $600,000 in bonuses. This is all guaranteed for injury with $6 million becoming guaranteed in 2022 and the other $6 million in 2023. His cap figure will be $12.4 million.

In 2024 there is a $13.3 million salary along with the same bonus structure. $3.18 million is guaranteed with $1.125 million becoming fully guaranteed in 2023. He will carry a $14.3 million cap hit.

In 2025 there is a P5 of $14.35 million and $650,000 in bonuses. None of this year is guaranteed and his cap charge is $15.4 million.

In total it works out to $55 million in new money with $14.815 million guaranteed at signing and $30 million guaranteed for injury . Given the early vesting date of his 2023 salary the effective full guarantee is $20.8 million. Another $4 million in performance escalators are also available to bring the max total to $59 million. The contract essentially mimics the recent Josh Sweat contract with the Eagles except this contract is four years in length versus three years for Sweat. It is the fourth year that bumps the annual value over Sweat’s.

I believe that Franklin-Myers will now hold the record for the largest contract ever signing by a draft pick who was cut from his original team in a non-option year. He was originally on the Rams and was claimed by the Jets in 2019 in what has to be one of the best personnel decisions the Jets have made in the last few years.

Running Back Performance Following a Contract Extension

Last night, Christian McCaffrey of the Panthers was injured on a pretty routine run during the Panthers and Texans game. Hopefully the injury is not too serious but McCaffrey missed nearly all of last season with various injuries and last year also happened to be the season when McCaffrey signed a massive contract extension making him the highest paid running back in the league. While I have spoken a lot about free agent running back signings in the free agent guide I wanted to look at extensions where, for the most part, we have about the most controlled environment possible for a player since he will be playing with a roster and staff he is familiar with.

An extension is a type of contract where a team opts to sign a player for extra years even though the team controlled the players rights through his rookie contract for one or two more seasons. Generally this means the player is younger than a typical free agent and should be more productive. It also generally means the player will be more expensive as players who sign extensions often get the largest annual contract values and guaranteed salaries.

I looked at every player who signed an extension since 2014 that was worth at least $2 million a season and then looked at their total offensive productivity (yards rushing and receiving as recorded by Pro Football Focus) in the year prior to signing an extension. For extensions I included long term contracts signed as a restricted free agent, unless he switched teams. Franchise players were not included. I then wanted to compare the numbers to what occurred in the year they signed the contract and the year afterwards.

First up is the performance in the year of signing. The x-axis shows the yards the player produced in the year of signing while the y-axis shows the change in yards, either positive or negative, in the year the extension was signed. The size of the bubble represents how large the contract was that the player signed.

Certainly not a good start for our group. Our average production change was about -210 total yards. The median was -242. This is more or less a 20% drop in production for the average player. Remember had they not signed an extension they would have still been under contract meaning the price in most cases would have gone down had the team waited.

Only 10 of 30 players improved. Two of those players, David Johnson and Dion Lewis, basically did not play the year before and had nowhere to go but up. Kareem Hunt was suspended 8 games in the year prior to signing and Raheem Mostert only played half the year. Of those who played significantly only 6 improved- Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook. Damien Williams, Chris Thompson, and Darren Sproles, who did it twice.

What about the year after they sign? Some of the players would still be under rookie contract (Zeke, Gurley, etc…) though most would have been free agents. So in a sense this is the year you were really paying for by signing the extension. Here is how the performance of the eligible players broke down.

8 players improved from prior to signing a new contract. Three of those were the Johnson, Mostert, Lewis group while Taiwan Jones was also in that 8 games or less group. That leaves James White, Damien Williams. CJ Anderson, and Danny Woodhead. The average change was -293 yards with a median change of -307.

I know we all say “it wont happen to our guy” when he gets signed, but thus far there have been few instances where waiting to sign a player would have cost a team anything other than the headache of dealing with a contract issue. Maybe Kamara, Cook, and Nick Chubb will be the players to break the cycle, but thus far there is little reason to think the extension is in any way a good idea.

Breaking Down Mark Andrews $56 Million Contract Extension

The Ravens and tight end Mark Andrews agreed to a four year, $56 million contract extension Monday night which will make him, on paper, the third highest paid tight end in the NFL bit in reality the second highest paid tight end in the league. Per a league source with knowledge of the contract the breakdown is as follows.

In 2021, Andrews will receive a $10.163 million signing bonus along with a $920,000 salary, which is fully guaranteed. This is a raise of $7.5 million over Andrews’ prior $3.58 million salary (this includes a 17th game check Andrews would have earned). Andrews cap number should be $3.16 million.

In 2022, Andrews will receive a $15.5 million option bonus and a $3.5 million salary. Both are fully guaranteed at signing. The cap number in 2022 will be $9.4 million.

In 2023, Andrews will earn a salary of $7.5 million. The salary is guaranteed for injury and will be fully guaranteed in 2022. The cap number is $13.4M.

In 2024 and 2025, Andrews will earn $11 million in each season, split up between $7 million salaries and $4 million in roster bonuses. The roster bonuses will force a team to make an early decision on releasing  the player once the guarantees in a contract run out. In both years Andrews’ cap number will be $16.9 million.

Overall, it works out to $30.08 million guaranteed at signing and $37.8 million virtually guaranteed at signing due to the early vesting date on the 2023 salary. The full guarantee ranks third at the position behind Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith and the injury guarantee is second to only George Kittle. The four year length is stronger for Andrews than it is for Kittle.

While many are going to point to the guarantee as the big deal with the contract the real strength of this contract is in the cash flow schedule. Andrews will blow away the position when it comes to up front cash that is earned. Here is the cash flow schedule of the top tight end contracts in the NFL.

PlayerYear 0Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5
George Kittle$18,000,000$21,700,000$33,750,000$46,000,000$60,000,000$75,000,000
Mark Andrews$7,500,000$26,500,000$34,000,000$45,000,000$56,000,000FA
Travis Kelce$4,250,000$11,750,000$25,000,000$40,000,000$57,250,000FA
Hunter Henry$17,000,000$27,000,000$37,500,000FAFA
Jonnu Smith$17,000,000$27,000,000$38,000,000$50,000,000FA

Andrews $26.5 million earned in the first new year of the contract is 22% higher than George Kittle’s which is a major jump. Even through year two Andrews will out-earn Kittle and will earn 36% more than Kelce which is why Andrews deal is far stronger than Kelce’s even if technically the annual value ranks below.

The first turn for the Ravens comes in year three when Andrews will drop slightly below Kittle and the gap between he and Kelce begins to shrink. He will fall a full $1M per year under Kittle if both make it to the fourth season and Andrews would have a chance in free agency or on an extension to catch up to or make out better than Kittle over the long term.

The Ravens have done contracts like this in the past where they commit very big amounts up front and in return do not set a new market high for a player. Here are a few examples of the way have utilized this concept.

Player% of Contract Paid 1st Year% of 3Y Cash Paid 1st Year
Marcus Peters48.8%48.8%
Mark Andrews47.3%58.9%
Kevin Zeitler44.4%44.4%
Ronnie Stanley42.3%65.5%
Marlon Humphrey39.0%63.1%

The cases are similar to Andrews’. Stanley is the 4th highest paid left tackle but earned the most in the first year. Humphrey is the 2nd highest paid corner but earns far more than the top salaried player by APY in the first year and is tops at the position. Peters is 9th in APY and 8th in 1st year cash while also being a rare player signed to a three year deal.

Andrews cash salary also far outpaces the alternative of the franchise tag. We project the tag to be around $10.7M for tight ends next year. Had he gone year to year Andrews would have been in line to earn $23.5 million by the end of 2023, none of which would have been guaranteed. He will earn more than two tags by the end of 2022 and $11.5M more by the end of 2023. A third tag would never be in play for a tight end.

When you look at the numbers in this manner the Ravens need Andrews to play through at least the 2024 season on the contract and most likely need this to wind up a true four year contract to get strong value out of the deal. That doesn’t make this a bad contract for the Ravens it just makes it a contract one they need to be right about.

For those curious about any outs in the contract if things went sideways the first real out year is 2024 when the dead money drops to $11.8 million. Even a trade the year before that would result in over $17.5 million in dead money. Andrews has $4 million roster bonuses in the 2024 and 2025 “out years” to ensure an early release if the Ravens needed to move on.

Chiefs Create $1.2M in Cap Space

The Chiefs renegotiated the contract of guard Andrew Wylie to guarantee him a roster space for the year and create a much needed $1.2 million in cap space. Wylie, who was a restricted free agent this offseason, agreed to a new contract that will guarantee his $920,000 salary for the 2021 season. Wylie will still be a free agent after the season.

The Chiefs now have in the ballpark of $3 million in salary cap room for the year. That number is inclusive of their Practice Squad additions so this should be enough for them to function during the year without the need for any more contract modifications.

Making Sense of Todays Veteran Player Cuts

Today is the official cutdown to the “final 53” in the NFL and sometimes today’s action brings about a lot of confusion when we see the names of players who are being released. Everson Griffin of the Vikings. Marqui Christian and Artie Burns on the Bears. The Lions carrying zero kickers. And so on and so on. While this will not hold true with all of these players in many cases these are simply procedural moves done to protect roster spots as team get to the real 53 man rosters over the next few days.

When a player who does not have enough service to be considered a veteran the player is subject to waivers. Waivers give all of the other 31 teams in the NFL the ability to claim the player’s contract if you release him. When a veteran has enough years of service they are not subject to waivers and simply become a free agent.

There are two issues that often happen during this timeframe in the NFL. A big one is that teams have plenty of injured players who are not going to be able to play for a few weeks but will be able to play at a later time. The league has a rule that allows players on IR to be reactivated later in the season but with a catch. The player has to be on the 53 man roster at the start of the season, meaning they have to be on the roster after 4PM today before they can be placed on IR tomorrow afternoon and no longer count on the 53 man.

The second issue is protecting players a team want’s for a practice squad. In order to move a player to a practice squad they will need to be released. In most cases this applies to young players who dominate the practice squads. Waiver claims are usually most active in the first day or two following final cuts. Sometimes it is beneficial to hold a player until planning for the regular season opener begins as teams are then focused on their opponents and 53 man roster and are more likely to allow a player to pass through waivers. In this case that probably means holding a player through next Monday.

If a team were to release a younger player who they really like they run the risk of losing him in the waiver process. They do not have that same risk with a veteran since their contract is not open for a claim. So what occurs is that a team will go to the player, tell them they are releasing him from his contract simply to hold a roster spot for a few days for another player. Once they process the move they will re-sign him to the exact same contract. So for example Griffen was on a one year, $1.075 million contract. He will simply be re-signed to another $1.075 million contract. Nothing changes for the veteran it is simply a procedural move. Basically it gives the team the ability to have a 54, 55, 56, etc… man roster to comply with NFL rules.

This is not to be confused with avoiding a full salary guarantee through termination pay. That only happens if the veteran is not re-signed until the second week of the season. That may happen in some cases too but the usual procedure for that is to have the veteran on the team through next Tuesday and then cutting him on Friday or Saturday. This allows the veteran to earn his full salary for the week but not be active for week 1 and thus the team avoids the salary guarantee for the full year (they will still guarantee 35% of the contract when he is re-signed).

But if you see a move that seems like a head scratcher involving a low salaried veteran know that it is probably just a procedural cut and he will be back on the team within the next 72 hours.

Breaking Down the Harrison Smith $64 Million Contract Extension

The other day the Vikings signed star safety Harrison Smith to a stunning $64 million contract extension that will likely see Smith end his career as a Viking. Here is the breakdown of the contract from a league source familiar with the details of the contract.

Smith received $26.379 million in guarantees as part of the extension, $14.179 million of which is guaranteed at signing. The full guarantee consists of Smith’s $1.075 million P5 salary, a $3.525 million roster bonus, and a $9.579 million signing bonus He can also earn to to $300,000 in per game bonuses which was also a part of his prior contract. His salary cap number should be $6.916 million, a savings of about $3.33 million in cap room.

In 2022 Smith has an injury protected $2.95 million P5 and $8 million roster bonus. These will both be fully guaranteed on the 3rd day of the league year in 2022. There is also $100,000 tied to workouts and $500,000 in per game bonuses. His cap figure will be $13.46 million.

In 2023 Smith will earn $14.7 million, $1.25 million of which is guaranteed for injury. He can earn the same $500,000 in per game bonuses and $100,000 in workout salary. His cap figure should be $17.2 million.

In 2024 Smith can earn a salary of $14.45 million, $750,000 in per game bonuses, and $100,000 in workouts for a cap number of $17.2 million.

In the final year of the deal Smith will earn a $17 million salary, up to $1 million in per game bonuses, and $100,000 in workout bonuses. The cap figure will be $18.1 million.

This is a very strong contract for a safety, let alone a safety who will be 33 years old when the extension officially kicks in. Smith’s annual contract value of $16 million ranks second among safeties while his $45.9 million three year cash ranks third. His guarantees are in the top 10 at the position.

Has the Vikings played the contract out and franchise tagged Smith in 2022 it would have cost the team around $12.5 million. Smith will instead earn $15.3 million in new money over that same time frame, almost all of which is earned by next March. If things go sideways for Smith and the Vikings move on before the guarantees kick in they will take on a charge of $7.6 million on the cap and have paid Smith $3.75 million more this year than he was going to earn on his prior contract.

Here are the other players who would be in Smith’s age bracket who signed contracts in the last decade with the contract also adjusted for growth in the cap (using the 2020 salary cap as the basis)

PlayerAge New Contract StartsYearsTotalAnnual ValueCap Inflated Value
Harrison Smith334$64,000,000$16,000,000$16,000,000
Earl Thomas304$55,000,000$13,750,000$14,481,000
Reshad Jones304$48,000,000$12,000,000$14,242,000
Kam Chancellor303$36,000,000$12,000,000$14,242,000
Devin McCourty332$23,000,000$11,500,000$11,500,000
Kareem Jackson313$33,000,000$11,000,000$11,584,000
Logan Ryan303$30,000,000$10,000,000$10,000,000
Troy Polamalu313$29,600,000$9,866,667$16,246,000

The only player with a contract that would be worth more on an annual basis was Troy Polamalu who was two years younger when his extension would have started. The only player of a comparable age was Devin McCourty who signed for $11.5 million a season just last year.

The safety market has been virtually unchanged for the last few years with just minor growth in the market until the Jamal Adams extension which was signed just a few weeks ago. The Adams extension really should have had zero impact on the Smith deal given the difference in age and the fact that Adams was considered a unique player. Even if you look solely on the three year value, which is the more appropriate measure given Smith’s age, the contract tracks right along with Justin Simmons, who was the highest paid safety in the NFL prior to Adams.

History has not been kind to these signings. Thomas was cut after just one year. Chancellor lasted one new year, all of which was spent on PUP while Jones lasted two new years, the final year landing on IR. Jackson played two years. Polamalu played the contract out and signed one last contract with the Steelers.

If the Vikings were willing to make Smith one of the highest paid safeties in the NFL it does bring into question why they did not just do the contract last season when the market was around $14.5 million. They would have been able to use his two years of salaries as the majority of his guarantee and gotten better cash flow terms. Now Smith is on a much stronger contract, does not have to play on a franchise tag at 33, and has nearly $17 million in new injury protection without having to play a snap in 2021. If I had to guess the Vikings see a benefit in the two year cash flow of $30.6 million, but even that number is a few million more than having to use two franchise tags and I cant recall too many players at that age where the tag was a consideration in back to back seasons.

This contract will now set the stage for Tyrann Mathieu of the Chiefs to seek a mega extension with more data points to ask for the moon. This contract by no means is anything like the funny money contract the Chiefs did with Travis Kelce last year which was a model contract for an older player and one of the most team friendly contracts in the NFL.

In any event this is a great contract for Smith. He earns more at every turn of this contract than he likely would have if he simply played this year out and went into free agency or wound up tagged by the Vikings. Minnesota does continue a track record of avoiding too much conflict with veteran players when it comes to contracts but many of those deals have not worked out for the team. They will need to hope that Smith is able to give them a strong three years and avoid the age related breakdown that impacts so many superstars, while also fielding a stronger team than they had last year as a 7 win team featuring 30 year olds is not a winning strategy in the NFL.

Texans Plan to Deactivate Deshaun Watson

The cloud continues to hang over Deshaun Watson and the Texans as the NFL seems to be leaving everyone twisting in the wind with no decision on Watson’s potential violations of the personal conduct policy and now the Texans may just be sitting their $39 million a year QB this year according to Aaron Wilson.

I am not exactly sure if this plan by the Texans would hold up if Watson were to challenge his deactivation as long as the NFL says it is ok for him to continue to play in the NFL. A deactivation of Watson in response to his conduct off the field would seemingly be looked at as a conduct punishment. The NFL and NFLPA agreed to the CBA to not allowed deactivation for any significant period of time for what would seem to be discipline related issues.

(xvii) Conduct detrimental to Club—maximum fine of an amount equal to one
week’s salary and/or suspension without pay for a period not to exceed four (4) weeks.
This maximum applies without limitation to any deactivation of a player in response to
player conduct (other than a deactivation in response to a player’s on-field playing ability),
and any such deactivation, even with pay, shall be considered discipline subject to the
limits set forth in this section. The Non-Injury Grievance Arbitrator’s decision in Terrell
Owens (Nov. 23, 2005) is thus expressly overruled as to any Club decision to deactivate a
player in response to the player’s conduct.

The Owens situation referenced here is when he had his famous clash with the Eagles in 2005 and the Eagles suspended him and then basically told him to go away for the year rather than continue as a member of the team. That decision by the Eagles was upheld back in 2005 but the NFLPA and NFL overruled that in the 2006 CBA.

Now Watson has stated that he wants a trade from the Texans and he may not want to challenge any deactivation but he has shown up to practice this offseason and as far as I know has not refused to play. Had he refused to practice he likely would have opened himself up to a conduct detrimental suspension which would void the remaining $82.54 million in guarantees. My guess is if this is the path that the Texans are taking the plan would be to find a trade partner within the first four weeks of the season unless they have a reason to state that Watson has an injury that needs more treatment and that the deactivation is injury related.

The fault of this situation really falls on the NFL who have refused to put Watson on the exempt list despite what looks like mounting evidence of multiple violations of the conduct policy. It has left the Texans in limbo with Watson’s contract and put them in a difficult position with what to do with him.