Thoughts on the Percy Harvin Contract


Thanks to Mike Florio and Pro Football Talk we already have the breakdown of the Percy Harvin contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Per Florio the deal contains $14.5 million in fully guaranteed money another $11 million that is virtually guaranteed. Harvin will earn $36 million in the first three years.

So keeping those figures in mind we can get a better idea of this deal. First of all I think a trade such as this one is a terrible trade for the Seahawks. To trade so many picks for a slot WR who doubles as a kick returner is just foolish and then compounded a hundred times by paying him like he is one notch below Calvin Johnson.  I think Seattle gets a pass for all of their transaction activity these last few years because they play in a small market. The Jets had a label for being trigger happy and running their organization like a Fantasy Football team since Rex Ryan came  to town. The Seahawks make the Jets look like the Steelers. They have their fair share of bad signings but most of it is hidden because they do have a stellar defense and they nabbed a QB in the 3rd round last year that was a complete game changer. Take Russell Wilson out of the equation and this move would be considered one of the worst of all time. But with Wilson in place its looked at as a final piece to a puzzle, which is alot of pressure to now put on a second year QB who will now face teams that have had an entire offseason gameplanning him.

I have calculated the new money in the deal to be equal to $64,245,000 which works out to be $12.849 million a year, a ridiculous figure for a player who has yet to reach 1000 yards in a season and sees most of his receptions come close to the line of scrimmage. All that being said the contract itself is a bit more reasonable that its face value.

Upon signing Harvin has $14.5 million in guarantees, all of which will be paid in what is technically the final year of his rookie contract. If things implode Harvin can be released as soon as the waiver period begins. While  that would lead to a dead money charge of $9.6 million it would represent a savings in cap of  $3.8 million. By comparison Vincent Jackson had a full guarantee of $26 million while Dwayne Bowe collects $16 million in the first year of his contract and has another $9 million that is protected by a dead money charge of $16.25 million that exceeds his $12 million dollar cap charge. So Harvin could in theory by a very expensive 1 year rental while the others are certain to be on the team in the second year of the deal.

All three players have similar two year payouts- Bowe will receive $25 million, Harvin $25.5 million and Jackson $26 million. The third year is where things gets more interesting and show the built in protection the Seahawks have with the contract. In 2015 Harvin will carry a cap charge of $12.9 million. Releasing Harvin saves the team $5.7 million in cap and $10.5 million in cash. He has no guarantees in his contract and it sets the stage for a renegotiation if the player fails to live up to the salary cap numbers. This is exactly what happened to Santonio Holmes of the Jets today and should have happened to Miles Austin in Dallas had the Cowboys not screwed that contract up so badly.  The $7.2 million dead number is similar to that of Jackson making that 3rd year harder to attain. Bowe has more protection with a $9 million dead money cost and what will likely be a small guarantee of base salary. The 4th year of Harvin’s contract most likely has no chance of being earned unless he far exceeds expectations and the WR market continues to grow. He will count for $12.3 million in cap space with only $4.8 million in dead money, This is nearly identical to Jackson’s contractual structure. Bowe has slightly more protection through the signing bonus mechanism, though not enough to guarantee anything.

So the bottom line is that despite the numbers for Harvin being significantly higher the real contract is going to be 3 years for $36 million, identical to Bowe and Jackson. Those two have slightly stronger contract, specifically Bowe, but all three are in the same range. So while Harvin’s deal sounds excessive compared to the market its really right in line with the marketplace if you buy Harvin as a dominant player. I don’t but he will get every opportunity to prove people like me wrong.

View Percy Harvin’s Cap Figures

View Percy Harvin’s Cash Flows


Did the Miami Dolphins Overpay for WR Brian Hartline


With the news coming down late last night that Dolphins WR Brian Hartline was going to re-sign with the Dolphins on a contract that would pay him $30.775 million with $12.5 million guaranteed there was an immediate reaction that he was overpaid. Granted we all can agree that Hartline is probably a mid-tier wideout but lets examine if he is or is not overpaid.

Basic Stats

I think the most off the wall comparison I read this morning was that Hartline can’t be paid this much money because he isn’t as good as Jordy Nelson, who works on a contract worth only $4.2 million a year. The argument is that Nelson went off for over 1200 yards in 2011 and has caught 22 Tds in the last two years. The problem is that Nelson wasn’t signed this year. Nelson was signed after he played 3 years and a handful of games. In the 2 years prior to his $4.2 million dollar extension he averaged 451 yards and 2 touchdowns a season. He only played 3 games in 2011 prior to signing his extension and averaged around 67 yards a game. Rather than roll the dice Nelson signed a contract that was reflective of his 451 yards a year with upside potential. He probably kicks himself every day for signing the deal while the Packers are laughing their way to the bank. So lets just get him out of the equation. He has no significance.

The two players who we want to look at are Robert Meachem of the Chargers and Laurent Robinson of the Jaguars.  Neither player was regarded as a true number 1,  though maybe some people get fooled into thinking that they could be, and would represent the high water mark for number 2 players. First lets just look at the basic 2 year averages for the players (Normally I do 3 but for the sake of time Im cutting off at 2 this week):



















Just the basic stats more or less paint Hartline as the most productive of the 3 players from a yardage and catch perspective. His one negative is the fact that he does not score touchdowns. That’s clearly a big negative, but I think we can all agree he certainly belongs in this group. Now let’s go deeper into the numbers where we look at what contribution the player made to the WR corps. over the course of the two seasons prior to signing a contract.

Team Adjusted Stats

For those new to my writings one of the things I like to do is break a player down into contribution to the actual WR corps of the team he played for. I want to see what percentage of the team targets he sees and yards he accounts for. I feel these metrics help sort out who maybe benefits from a team while others are hurt by the team they play for. These are the two year stats


These numbers paint Hartline as the clear superior performer of the group. The only category that makes Robinson stand out is touchdowns where he played the role of a home run hitter, specifically in Dallas. The numbers debunk a bit of the issue with the Hartline touchdowns. Did he only score 2?  Absolutely but you have to put it in context. Miami’s passing game has been so poor that WRs have accounted for a grand total of 13 touchdowns in the last two years.  He one score did actually represent 33% of the teams total in 2012. That doesn’t justify it being good but it at least gives more reason why its not around 4 or 5 a year. Slightly more passes have been picked off that were headed Hartline’s way.

The other thing to note, which is not shown on the chart, is that Hartline’s catch rate is around the expectation for WRs in the offense he plays in. Meachem’s was also around average for the offense which eliminates his best basic stat advantage. Robinsons was worse than others on his team, but that was primarily due to his final season as a Ram where he caught less than 50% of his targets.

The Marketplace

So I think its fair that we can say Hartline certainly belongs in this category of player. I don’t really recall people going too overboard when these players signed with their new teams last year.


Total Value



Guar. Per Year

Pct Guar.






















Now we can not totally compare these contracts because we don’t know how much of Hartlines money is fully guaranteed nor do we know the payment and dead money structures to really compare what is and what is not a stronger deal , but these numbers give us a basic valuation.  For those interested Meachem’s deal is much stronger than Robinsons. Meachem will likely miss out on 45% of his contract value while Robinson will miss out on over 57%. Meachem will earn $14 million while Robinson only $13.8 million in the first two years of their deals at which point they are easily cut.  Meachem also gave himself a faster path to free agency had he been a success, which makes it a knockout even with the lower APY. Back to Hartline…

For those insinuating he got an unreasonable contract, they are simply not looking at the numbers or the market in any kind of reasonable context. If anything he gave the Dolphins a discount for his services unless you want to consider touchdowns being that important. Robinson’s contract came off one breakout year just like Hartline’s. Meachem never had one there was just an assumption that will less other targets on a team his numbers would go up. They didn’t.

So there is almost no logical reason to say the Dolphins overpaid if we are looking at market values and performance at time of signing. You can argue that players like Hartline fall back to earth like these others did but if that’s the argument you just don’t sign the player period. Its not like 200-400 yards is worth a dime in todays pass happy league. Players are almost always going to sign for around what the market will bear.  To expect Hartline to have signed for less than $4 million a season because Jordy Nelson did coming off two more or less non-descript seasons is just not realistic.

Looking closer at these two contracts for Hartline to actually get a strong deal he is going to have to make more than $14 million in cash in the first two years of the contract. I’d argue that he should make at least $15 million to be properly placed with the other two players. Considering Miami has intentions of signing a better player which puts Hartline in a clear number 2 role it will probably result in better performance than the other two players gave their teams where I think they were expected to carry more of the burden.


Dwayne Bowe Cashes In

Thanks to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk the full details of the Dwayne Bowe extension are now available.  Bowe will now become the 3rd highest paid WR in the league on a 5 year $56 million dollar contract. The deal contains $20 million in full guarantees and significantly more in virtual guarantees. It comes very close to the deal I suggested of 5 years $57.8 million with 20 million in full guarantees and $38 million in the first three years. My guess is he could have gotten a touch extra in free agency but normally players do give slight discounts to home teams to take the question mark out of the whole process and that is what happened here. Based on Florio’s report this is the cap structure for Bowe over the next 5 years:

Base SalaryProrated WorkoutCap ChargeDead MoneySavingsCash Flow

The important contract to compare this to is that of Vincent Jackson. Jackson received $26 million in full guarantees when he signed with $36 million due in the first three years. Jackson received no signing bonus on the initial deal but did restructure in December to gain prorated money protection in his contract. Because prorated money accelerates when a player is cut it adds a layer of protection to a contract in addition to the real guarantees. One of the reasons Jackson surpasses Bowe in real guarantees is because he had zero protection for his third year salary since there was no dead money cost associated with releasing him, something I had touched on in the Bowe valuation from a few weeks ago.

Bowe has that protection. Even compared to Jackson’s current deal Bowe will carry a $9 million dollar dead cap hit in 2015 plus an additional $1.5 million in salary that will become fully guaranteed in early 2014 according to Florio. That means Bowe, if on the team in 2014, will carry an $11.5 million dollar dead cap charge to cut. Jackson is only protected to the tune of $7.296 million. It makes this a much stronger contract for Bowe.

Now that the market is clearly intact Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings will try to state their cases that they deserve this kind of money. Personally I feel Bowe is a better player based on a number of statistical factors, but all it takes is one team to think otherwise to get a bigger deal done.


Recapping Todays News… Chiefs, Cowboys, Saints and more…

Today was the last day to designate a player a franchise or transition player which probably had a number of potential free agents anxiously waiting to hear if they were truly free or confined by the tag. While there were some moves made at the last minute many of the names that had been discussed in recent days, such as Greg Jennings, Aqib Talib, Jake Long, Sean Smith, and so on made out without getting franchised.

Kansas City Chiefs– The  most active team of the day the Chiefs locked up WR Dwayne Bowe to a 5 year contract and P Dustin Colquitt to a contract that should make him the highest paid Punter in the NFL. The ability to lock up up Bowe allowed the Chiefs to place the franchise tag on T Branden Albert.

While there have not been concrete terms on Bowe’s contract I have seen the numbers 5 years for $50 million floating around on Twitter. If that is the deal signed it will be a good deal for the Chiefs and probably signal a bad sign for Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings who were hoping to break the bank. They needed Bowe to pushed past Vincent Jackson and $10 million a year does not even come close. Now it is possible that the guarantees are similar as Jackson’s deal was originally a two year contract disguised as a 5 year contract prior to his late season renegotiation, but $50 million shows a depressed market possibility for the position. That said many times when contracts numbers like this just float around they prove to be false so we will just need to wait and see.

The Chiefs should still be  in a decent cap position even with the trade for Alex Smith on the horizon.  Once the team releases Tyson Jackson and Matt Cassel they will free up $20.845 million on the cap. Both moves seem like no brainers.

Dallas Cowboys– One step forward two steps back?  Dallas just seems like such a poorly managed team. Today the team cut S Gerald Sensabaugh to free up $1.4 million in cap room, their first real solid roster transaction of the offseason. They spent two or three days last week extending and/or restructuring contracts to get cap compliant and then they decided to again designate DE/LB a franchise player. This time around the tag should cost the team $10,272,200 which seems absurd for a team with salary cap problems. Can Spencer play in the new defense?  I would think so, but this is not a team that can really afford these luxuries.

This isnt a team in a championship game that wants to make one more run. I almost feel as if the owner still thinks its 2007 when Dallas played like an elite team with a young Tony Romo at the helm. They have not had a winning record in 3 years and when that happens you need to start making the tough decisions to not bring back players that are going to kill your financial structure down the line. This move puts Dallas back over the salary cap meaning more restructures. Romo is the one they need to get done and now they gave him even more leverage to make a killing. Even if they are going to entertain trading Spencer the damage is done because they need to get under the cap before a trade can occur. If this team doesn’t win next year its going to get ugly in Dallas which is rapidly turning into the Oakland Raiders of 2004-2011.

New Orleans Saints– The Saints reportedly restructured the contract of Brodrick Bunkley according to Mike Triplett of I’ll get the details up on the site in the next day or two but this is a team also living in the past. This move more or less guarantees Bunkley a roster spot in 2014 at a cap number above $6 million, a year where the Saints already have $126 million in cap commitments for just 39 players. To go further in on defensive players on an awful defense seems pretty illogical. I guess they are blaming everything on Steve Spagnuolo, disregarding the fact that the defense was pretty bad for about 5 years I guess you can argue that Bunkley was their best defender.

Miami Dolphins– The Dolphins franchised DT Randy Starks which puts the Dolphins interior line investments upwards of $17 million, 2nd highest in the NFL to only the Detroit Lions who have over $18 million tied up in Suh alone. With more and more teams passing the football and running alot less, I think it questions the philosophy of investing high in the interior unless it is for the rare players who are real game wreckers that can rush up the middle.

I understand the decision and financially it makes more sense to do this with Starks and try to work out a long term deal than overspending on Smith or Long on one year deals, but I think it definitely brings up a good positional spending debate. As the run offense went out of style in the mid 2000s the pay has clearly cycled away from the DT and out to the CBs. Miami is taking the opposite approach. The Dolphins now have about $57 million tied up in their defense with only $26 million in the offense, the lowest amount in the NFL. Clearly the rest of their spending needs to be on the offensive side of the ball.

Oakland Raiders– The Raiders reduced the salary of G Mike Brisiel by $3 million dollars. The move was first reported by Steve Corkran and he stated that this will save Oakland $3 million which would indicate a pure paycut rather than restructure. My experience would tell me hs got something in return, but that’s just a guess on my part.  I have not updated his cap number yet and will try to see if I can verify that he accepted a paycut, but if not Ill run with that number until I hear otherwise.

Carolina Panthers– I just wanted to throw this one in there because I know of all the teams this is probably the one with the largest discrepancy between the sites numbers and the reports. I do know that the figures we have are estimating Carolina between 1.5 and 2 million on the low end showing them with more cap room than they really have. I am not sure where the error is and whether I am missing a big dead money player or some type of incentives but I will try to work that out to get the number closer to the actual charge.


New York Giants Re-Sign LT Will Beatty

Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star Ledger broke  the details on Twitter:

Jenny also has a great breakdown on about thecash flows of the contract well worth the read.

Based on the report, Beatty’s base contract will carry an APY of $7.5 million which will rank 7th in the NFL among veteran Left Tackles (8th if you include Doug Free of the Cowboys. Where Beatty really wins is in his reported $19.5 million of fully guaranteed money which represents $50.67% of the entire base contract. Of those only Andrew Whitworth of the Bengals, who signed a 2 year extension that doesnt kick in until down the line, makes more than Beatty in that metric. Free also earned slightly more with $53.1% of his deal guaranteed. Among long term contracts. The guarantee per year of $3.8 million ranks 5th among veteran left tackles. 64% of the money will be earned in the first three years of the contract.

We will update Beatty’s status as more details become known, but on its face it looks like a good deal for both sides. In the meantime here is the overview of the Left Tackle market.