Looking at a Contract for Russell Wilson

With the Legion of Boom no longer patrolling the Seahawks’ secondary and Marshawn Lynch years removed from playing in the Pacific Northwest, the Hawks have inarguably become Russell Wilson’s franchise…at least for now.  Rumors have swirled for months with respect to Wilson’s future with the team, as the star quarterback’s contract expires after the upcoming 2019 season.  With Wilson’s camp making it clear that they want a new deal done now or otherwise to put talks on the shelf until the next offseason, let’s work out contract extension terms that should work for both sides. Block out all the noise, and the teams have a reasonable path to getting an agreement done.

Continue reading Looking at a Contract for Russell Wilson »

Why the Cardinals Should Draft a Quarterback

One of the biggest points of discussion during the NFL combine was whether or not the Cardinals would draft Kyler Murray with the number one pick. The main argument for why they should not do this is because last year the Cardinals traded the 79th and 152nd pick in the NFL draft to move up five spots and select Josh Rosen at number 10 in the 2018 draft. Rosen struggled last season, but that isn’t uncommon for rookies especially ones on a team as poorly constructed as the current Cardinals. So since they have a player already on the team at the position that they are developing why select another? This is a topic I’ve touched on before and I think it is one worth discussing again since its more of a real topic at this point in time. Continue reading Why the Cardinals Should Draft a Quarterback »

Projecting 2019 NFL Spending

Every year we look at salary cap space as the barometer for who is expected to be the big spenders in free agency but today I wanted to take a different look at things and instead look at cash budgeting. While cap space certainly makes it easier to fit contracts under the salary cap under team friendly structures it is nothing more than an accounting tool. For the most part anyone can make the salary cap dance in a given year or two to fit players in, but actual cash is generally tighter and what should drive spending in the NFL. Continue reading Projecting 2019 NFL Spending »

2019 Potential Cuts: Defensive Tackle

Malik Jackson, Jaguars
Cap Saved: $11M; Cash Saved: $13M; Dead Money: $4M

Jackson saw his role diminish as the year went on finish the year with 61% playtime and just 10 starts. Jackson finished with his lowest sack total since 2014 and tackles and tackles for loss since 2012. Jaguars are starving for cap space and this should be a place they can find it. I wouldn’t expect Jackson to be a free agent for long if he is cut unless he has outrageous contract demands.

Corey Liuget, Chargers
Cap Saved: $8M; Cash Saved: $8M; Dead Money: $1.5M

Liuget took a pretty major pay cut to keep his roster spot last year but appeared in just 6 games due to his suspension and then a torn quad which put him on IR. Technically this will be a declined option and the decision date I believe is February 12.

Timmy Jernigan, Eagles
Cap Saved: $7M; Cash Saved: $11M; Dead Money: $6M

Jernigan missed most of last season with a non football injury that was serious enough that he agreed to waive his future guarantees in order to keep his spot last year. This was always a very bullish type of contract and given the Eagles cap situation Jernigan should be a prime candidate for release or at the very least a reduced contract.

Marcel Dareus, Jaguars
Cap Saved: $10.59M; Cash Saved: $10.59M; Dead Money: $0

One of the all time great players contracts of all time Dareus has basically cashed in at elite interior pass rusher levels despite really not standing out as a rusher. Dareus actually played well for the Jaguars as a run stopper but even elite level run stoppers earn closer to $6 or 7M. I wouldn’t eliminate a new deal for less money but the Jaguars need to save money here.

Stacy McGee, Redskins
Cap Saved: $2.28M; Cash Saved: $4M; Dead Money: $2.4M

The Redskins signed McGee in 2017 to a pretty surprising $5 million per year contract.  Last year he began the season on the PUP list and finished with 9 tackles and 1 sack in 8 games. It isn’t a lot of cap savings but every little bit should help for Washington.

Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers
Cap Saved: $13M; Cash Saved: $13M; Dead Money: $0

This has been rumored since seasons end so I am including him here even though McCoy is still a really good player. Moving him seems to be more about saving money than anything else. With three years left on his contract at around $13M per year McCoy should have trade value if the Bucs are patient and wait for a bit. Hes a shade older than Geno Atkins and Jurrell Casey but Id think a new deal would fall between those two and they are over $15M a year so a trade makes sense.

2019 Potential Cuts: Edge Rusher

Olivier Vernon, Giants
Cap Saved: $11.5M; Cash Saved: $15.5M; Dead Money: $8M

Vernon was the biggest signing in the Giants 2016 spending spree and hasn’t been healthy enough to really justify the contract. Vernon is still a capable player and will likely land a $10 million a year type contract when released, but it makes more sense for the Giants to move on and allow him to get a fresh start elsewhere rather than try to bring his salary down for the season.

William Gholston, Buccaneers
Cap Saved: $3.75M; Cash Saved: $3.75M; Dead Money: $0

Not sure what the Bucs expected out of Gholston when they signed him but Im sure it was more than 40% playtime, 1 sack, and 5 tackles for loss in two seasons.

Vinny Curry, Buccaneers
Cap Saved: $8M; Cash Saved: $8M; Dead Money: $0

Curry signing with the Bucs last season at this price was one of the more surprising moves. Outside of one season the sack production has never been there with Curry and really his best time is when he is playing far less snaps. You don’t pay $8 million for someone who is probably a 30% playtime, 3 sack player, especially if you are a team that needs to create cap space.

Andre Branch, Dolphins
Cap Saved: $7M; Cash Saved: $7M; Dead Money: $2M

This contract was a bit of a stretch the minute it was signed and a classic example of putting far too much stock in one season. Branch played in less than 50% of the snaps last year and finished with just 1.5 sacks.

Robert Quinn, Dolphins
Cap Saved: $12.9M; Cash Saved: $12.9M; Dead Money: $0

If Miami is serious about taking a step back this year then Quinn should not be in their plans. Quinn has tailed off from his peak years as a pass rusher but can still be effective as a starter, but he probably doesn’t have trade value at this salary unless a team is able to reach terms on an extension.

Justin Houston, Chiefs
Cap Saved: $14M; Cash Saved: $15.5M; Dead Money: $7.1M

Even though Houston has not produced at an elite level after signing this contract this was a pretty solid deal, all things considered. Houston is similar to Vernon in that there are injury considerations here, a massive cap figure, and over priced salary while also having a market if cut. Unlike with Vernon where the sides are probably better apart I think here the sides agree on a new contract that brings Houston’s cap and cash number down by a few million.

2019 Potential Cuts: Offensive Tackle

Garry Gilliam, 49ers
Cap Saved: $5.05M; Cash Saved: $5.05M; Dead Money: $0

Gilliam the last two years has made $2.2 and $2.7 million from San Francisco, a perfectly acceptable amount for someone expected to be a backup player. However his salary this year balloons up to $5 million which is low level starter money.  They could bring his salary down but it would seem unlikely that he plays at this number.

Donald Penn, Raiders
Cap Saved: $5.48M; Cash Saved: $6.6M; Dead Money: $1.75

Signing Penn proved to be a great move for the Raiders but extending him in 2017 was not.  Penn didn’t play well in 2017 which led to a pay cut last season. Penn was hurt most of the year and given that they weren’t happy with his $8.35 million salary last year then they should be equally unhappy this year. Last year he accepted a pay cut and he does have a $1.75 million guarantee so maybe the Raiders offer something but I’d lean more to an outright release.

DJ Humphries, Cardinals
Cap Saved: $9.63M; Cash Saved: $9.63M; Dead Money: $0

This is an example of a questionable use of the rookie option coming back to hurt the team Humphries is simply never healthy and its at the point where you can not count on him. He has shown some upside but he is worth about half this number until he can prove that he can stay healthy and be productive.

Jeremy Parnell, Jaguars
Cap Saved: $6M; Cash Saved: $6M; Dead Money: $0

The Jaguars are going to have to slash some payroll this year and Parnell, entering the final year of his contract, would seem like a good candidate to go. Parnell will be 33 and has missed 6 games in the last two seasons and coming off a season where he started to show a decline in play.

Demar Dotson, Buccaneers
Cap Saved: $4.7M; Cash Saved: $4.73M; Dead Money: $50K

This is basically the same situation as above though he hasn’t missed as many games. The Bucs aren’t in as dire cap shape as the Jaguars but this is a player they could consider releasing.

Jason Peters, Eagles
Cap Saved: $10.5M; Cash Saved: $8M; Dead Money: $2.67M

The only reason I bring up Peters is because his cap number is so high that the Eagles will likely have to address his contract. Peters has accepted new deals in the past though at 37 I’m not sure how far the team would want to go.  Id put this as a pretty low probability cut but not a surprising contract modification.

2019 Potential Cuts: Tight End

Dwayne Allen, Patriots
Cap Saved: $7.4M; Cash Saved: $7.4M; Dead Money: $0

Allen has earned around $8.5 million from the Patriots in the last two seasons. For that the Patriots have gotten a total of 13 receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown while playing around 35% of the teams snaps. Even if Allen was the best blocking tight end in the NFL he would have zero percent chance of playing next year for $7.4 million. This contract he signed with the Colts should go into the players Hall of Fame for great contracts.

Dion Sims, Bears
Cap Saved: $6M; Cash Saved: $6M; Dead Money: $333K

Chicago gave this one a second shot last season and it proved to be a bad idea. Sims was injured and missed half the season, though it is not as if he was doing much before that. In those 8 games Sims put up 2 receptions for 9 yards while playing under 20% of the team’s offensive snaps. Cutting Sims will help the Bears open up some space to re-sign some players.

Charles Clay, Bills
Cap Saved: $4.5M; Cash Saved: $4.5M; Dead Money: $4.5M

Clay was signed pretty much the height of the insanity that was the Bills front office a few years ago. It was a bizarre contract that paid Clay nearly $25 million in the first two years because they were fearful that the Dolphins were going to match an offer. The structure was such that Clay was pretty much protected through four years. Clay was at least an average player in his time with the Bills but the bottom dropped out this year and they should be moving on now.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars
Cap Saved: $4.5M; Cash Saved: $5.25M; Dead Money: $1.6M

The Jaguars already informed Seferian-Jenkins that he will have his option declined and not be brought back in 2019. ASJ is a talented player that could really help a team if he could stay healthy.

Vernon Davis, Redskins
Cap Saved: $5M; Cash Saved: $5M; Dead Money: $1.33M

Davis is always capable of stringing a few good games together and even at 35 should be able to be part of an offense if he wants to keep playing, but the Redskins are in a strange spot because of their QB situation and can probably use the cap space. With Jordan Reed at such a high cap figure there is no real way to justify carrying both at their current numbers.

Jermaine Gresham, Cardinals
Cap Saved: $2.5M; Cash Saved: $4.25M; Dead Money: $5.75M

Essentially a lesser version of the Allen contract, Gresham’s deal makes him one of the higher paid tight ends on the NFL despite little in the way of production. Last season Gresham failed to reach 100 receiving yards despite playing in 13 games. Maybe they simply bring his salary down but there is no real reason to have him on an $8.25 million cap charge this season.

Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
Cap Saved: $7.63M; Cash Saved: $7.63M; Dead Money: $0

If the Vikings cut Rudolph it is likely a salary cap inspired move more than anything else. Rudolph is still a productive part of the offense so the more likely outcome here is a three eyar extension that brings his cap figure down while keeping his salary the same.

Jimmy Graham, Packers
Cap Saved: $5.33M; Cash Saved: $9M; Dead Money: $7.33M

If Graham was not on the Packers I’d have him much higher on this list, but since he is on Green Bay I consider a release pretty unlikely. Graham is still paid as if he is an elite receiving tight end when he simply is no longer that kind of player. He has finished with less than 650 yards in three of his last four seasons and last year just had two touchdowns.