2020 NFL Free Agent Contract Grades
2 years, $16,000,000, $13,500,000 total guarantees ($13,500,000 full)
At $8 million a season Gordon comes in pretty close to what I think was expected. He stays in division, which I feel is happening more often this year, and should offer the Broncos an upgrade around the goal line and certain situations. He should be able to mesh ok with Lindsay and keep him fresher as he seemed to wear down as the workload increased. I think it would have been good to see a third year to add to this for Denver just in the event Gordon is effective though haggling over and extra year for a running back is not worth the time as most teams would be thrilled to get two effective seasons from the player.
2 years, $17,000,000, $9,500,000 total guarantees ($9,500,000 full)
The Rams probably could have found a better place to spend their money than on Robinson. This is a pretty big price to pay for someone who is primarily a run stuffer with limited pass rush ability. To go to $8.5M a year with $9M guaranteed is high. I guess this is somewhat built off the Brandon Williams contract but he fills a bit of a different role and I dont think most of the league sees that as a good price point to mimic. I think they could have either signed Robinson for less or found a cheaper option that maybe doesnt have as much upside but most likely gives the same overall performance.
3 years, $27,300,000, $13,300,000 total guarantees ($8,850,000 full)
Im not sure anyone expected George Fant to be the third tackle off the board in 2020. Fant, for most of his career, has been a 6th type of lineman. A decent enough swing tackle that you plug in when someone better goes down. To target him as a starter just seems like a step down from where they were last season. My assumption is that the Jets believe they are still in it for a trade for Trent Williams and are using this signing as insurance knowing they can switch Fant to the right side. I guess the same scenario can also apply to a draft pick with Fant playing the left side for a year in that scenario. Fant will earn $9.25 million this year but the Jets can walk away next year with only $2 million dead as long as Fant doesnt get injured. Thats the lone saving grace as players like Fant should get between $4 and $5 million. I would not be surprised if some longer time Jets fans bring up the name Wayne Hunter when talking about Fant this year.
5 years, $53,750,000, $21,500,000 total guarantees ($21,500,000 full)
There were crazy rumors of massive prices for Schobert but cooler heads prevailed and I think more teams saw the errors in what happened last year with the big run up on prices for non-rush linebackers. From a football perspective I dont think this benefits the Jaguars who really should be rebuilding rather than signing linebackers. From a contract perspective its perfectly fine even with a $12M signing bonus. The added years here I think make this better for Jacksonville than the Giants and Raiders LB deals and the guarantee is the same in both cases.
3 years, $30,000,000, $18,500,000 total guarantees ($14,500,000 full)
Not really much to like here. The Cardinals bought in big on a 9.5 sack season which has almost no chance of being repeated. To go to $10 million a year for Phillips with $14.5 million guaranteed is pretty crazy. Even with some of the other bad deals this offseason for linemen only Shaq Lawson's was worse and the Cardinals made up the difference between the two with the structure here. The team backloaded the contract from a cap perspective and went to the void year for help, though at just one void year it is not as bad as some other deals. He will carry cap charges of $12 million in 2021 and 2022 which will likely make him look like one of the more overvalued players at the position unless he really has a big run in Arizona.
3 years, $30,000,077, $12,500,000 total guarantees ($12,500,000 full)
This was pretty much a must keep for the Rams who look to be changing the mix especially on defense this year. Whitworth has been one of the best left tackles in the NFL for years and should continue to play at that level until he decides to call it quits. The way this is structured is basically year to year with the ball in his court for retirement. They needed a low cap hit this year but were able to do it with about as minimum a signing bonus as you could do on a $10M a year deal. Price is relatively team friendly as well. I could have done without the $77 bonus to lead to a few wacky numbers but thats just to save me the headache of explaining it to people who ask.
3 years, $27,000,000, $18,000,000 total guarantees ($18,000,000 full)
I can not picture any of the other 31 teams in the NFL even being close to offering $9 million a season and $18 million in guarantees to Cobb. Cobb is coming off his best year since 2015 playing the third fiddle role between two pretty good receivers in Dallas, but the Texans personnel is far different and Cobb will be 30 this year. Emmanuel Sanders signed for less than this and while Sanders is older he has been far more consistent and can succeed with lesser personnel around him. You can make arguments for players to earn around this that are Cobb's age, but most everyone would value him as an aging third target and this price is not reflective of that at all. Throw in the fact that he is unfairly going to be compared to DeAndre Hopkins, even though Hopkins plays a totally different role ,and this has a chance to be a blowup move.
1 year, $9,500,000, $9,500,000 total guarantees ($9,500,000 full)
It;s a one year deal for a former top pick who has at times shown flashes so there is some upside but I just wonder who the Titans were bidding against. I thought that the general sentiment around the league was so negative on Beasley that he would have a hard time finding anything but a low valued deal and this is not that. The one year term does protect them but it also offers zero upside if he does play well, but I guess if the other option was $21 million guaranteed for the Shaq Lawson types they saw this as a more reasonable option for a team that is coming off a playoff season but has plenty of questions pertaining to their long term prognosis.
3 years, $21,000,000, $13,500,000 total guarantees ($10,125,000 full)
I think this is an awful lot to pay for a linebacker who has never played 50% of the defensive snaps in four years in the NFL. Linebacker is generally a pretty replaceable position and the usual way to handle a player like this is to get him for about half this on a one or two year deal then extend after showing how he plays as a full time starter. Incentives could push this to $8 million a year and I think to justify this cost they probably need him to reach those incentives because if he doesnt he probably doesnt live up to this. Structure is typical Raiders with the cash and cap being equal and Im sure come December they will convert his 2021 roster bonus to a signing bonus to show they like him. Raiders have other ways they could have spent this.
3 years, $30,450,000, $15,250,000 total guarantees ($13,250,000 full)
A clear win-now move as paying $10M+ for a 32 year old pass rusher is definitely on the high side. While the Bills can walk after a season the first year pay out on this contract is $14 million so it would be a big failure to not get two seasons on this contract. Addison is certainly going to get after the passer but this is an overpay on what is likely a two year contract.
3 years, $42,000,000, $15,000,000 total guarantees ($15,000,000 full)
Almost no words to explain this one. By all accounts this should have been a one year prove it deal and instead Waynes wound up with a more lucrative contract than Marcus Peters. $20M paid in year 1 is upper echelon money and its the Bengals so you know year two is being earned as well. If you are going this high on a player with questions you should be getting four years at a minimum to give you some down the line benefit.
2 years, $15,000,000, $9,300,000 total guarantees ($7,800,000 full)
Bills are banking on finding a way to utilize Butler in a way the Panthers never were. This contract is completely predicated on the fact that Butler was once a first round draft pick because he has shown little in his NFL career, never even hitting a 40% snap number. He did have 6 sacks last year but I think most would just attribute that to an unsustainable conversion rate of pressures last year. Years ago the Bills turned the career around of Jerry Hughes so maybe they see something here but this just seems too much to invest in someone that has been a situational guy at best.
3 years, $18,000,000, $9,700,000 total guarantees ($9,700,000 full)
As far as what starting linebackers get paid the $6M a year number is pretty much on the mark. Whether or not slotting Klein in as the starting linebacker is a different story. Klein did move into a starting role in New Orleans with varying levels of success and his biggest weakness in coverage is really the one trait that warrants a bigger salary. The Bills had basically devoted between $3 and $4 million the last two years to the position and thats probably where they should have gone here.
3 years, $30,750,000, $19,000,000 total guarantees ($19,000,000 full)
Martinez fits that Gettleman mold of the stat heavy thumper on the inside which is probably why they opted to sign him. I think the question here becomes whether or not this was a better option than Cory Littleton who has a wider skillset. The Raiders got better or equivalent overall terms on that deal even though the price tag looks much higher. As long as Martinez is effective for three years it pays off. First year payment is reasonable and I like that the Giants are moving away from their errors of the past with the big bonus structures.
3 years, $43,500,000, $31,900,000 total guarantees ($29,800,000 full)
I'm not a big fan of the phrase win-win when it comes to contracts because it has become so overused, but I do think that it applies to this contract. I feel as if both sides wound up protected here with Bradberry getting a guaranteed figure on par with the highest paid players not names Byron Jones but only has to sign over three years to get that. The Giants get far superior cash considerations up front and continued to set a new standard for no bonus money to maintain flexibility beyond the guaranteed portion of the deal. This could be a future model for contracts as players seek shorter terms.
5 years, $45,000,000, $20,000,000 total guarantees ($20,000,000 full)
This was the first tackle off the market and I was a bit blown away by the original reported value of $10M a year similar to the way I looked at the George Fant contract with the Jets. The actual number ended up being a hair less but still pretty high. I looked at players like Vaitai as solid swing tackles that would be low level starters on a good team, which is pretty much what he was in Philadelphia, filling in for suspensions and injuries. That market to me is in the $5 to $6M a year range. Essentially this is a two year $10M contract which they can then walk away from with minimal pain on the cap. I would think if he was targeted on day 4 of free agency rather than day 1 they may have been able to still sign him and at a better number, but at least there is a little potential here.
2 years, $16,000,000, $9,000,000 total guarantees ($9,000,000 full)
This may very well be the worst signing of the offseason which is saying something considering this is just a two year contract. I am not sure what teams continue to see in Graham. In the last three years he has had 520, 636, and 447 yards and unlike his signing in Green Bay which came off one slide year this has been a three year trend of declining numbers and last year in particular he did not look good. He is ages removed from the glory years in New Orleans and will be 34 this season. The Bears will pay him $9 million in the first contract year and likely have $3 million left on the cap next year when they cut him.
2 years, $13,500,000, $6,250,000 total guarantees ($6,250,000 full)
This is one of those signings that may pay off nicely or be one where the player looks overvalued by a few million. After a really slow start to his career Jefferson developed into a pretty steady starter in Seattle, notching about 55% playing time the last two years. The value is fair as long as he gives the same kind of performance in Buffalo. They can walk away easy enough next year. My only thought is that at the stage they signed him Im not sure a market would have existed at this price given that he is neither a big name nor a high draft pick and you may have been able to shave a few million off.
5 years, $57,500,000, $33,850,000 total guarantees ($23,000,000 full)
Peat was one of the most difficult players to put a target price range on. He is a former first round pick and incredibly versatile with the ability to pretty much fill in everywhere on the line. Hes also been hurt a lot, missing 9 games in the last two years, and despite the Pro Bowls those seasons has struggled when healthy. He's also been pretty good in the past. The closest comp situation I could really think of was Matt Kalil who certainly got paid in free agency. Given that this signing came out of left field Im not sure there was a market at this price for Peat though if he plays like he did a few years ago he would be considered a bargain at this price. The guarantee structure is very strong for Peat in this deal relative to the overall size of the contract which is a fair tradeoff but New Orleans has to get 16 games as a quality starter to have the total value here work out.
3 years, $28,500,000, $16,500,000 total guarantees ($13,000,000 full)
Though I think the value is slightly high for Ward that is not what concerns me here. Given Ward's injury history I think if you are going to go high on the APY you should pull back on the guarantee which they did not do putting an effective guarantee of $16.5 million into the deal. When you consider the team only gets a maximum of 3 years on the contract its even less beneficial. Cap problems have caused big cap deferrals here to where Ward will carry over $11 million in charges in 2021 and 2022. $500,000 in per game bonuses is nice but they had him at $1.5M last year and Alexander at $750K. I think they could have taken on less risk on this one.
2 years, $12,500,000, $6,250,000 total guarantees ($6,250,000 full)
No idea what the Panthers saw to go to $6.25 million a season for Weatherly. In two of his first four seasons he was under 10% playtime and finished this year under 40%. He is a former 7th round pick so its not as if there is some incredible draft pedigree here either. The best I can guess is the Panthers looked at his 2018 season where he was a competent injury replacement/situational player to project him into what is basically low level starter range money. He would have been around half this number had they waited and even if they lost him there should be others that can fill a similar role for a few million less.
2 years, $17,600,000, $7,500,000 total guarantees ($7,500,000 full)
I love this signing for the Raiders. I think it is almost always worth the risk to give a young, high pedigree player a look at this position if the cost is correct and here the cost is correct. The base number on the contract this year is $7.5 million. If he displaces Carr there are a ton of incentives, which can bring the contract up to nearly $24M a year but to get to that figure he would have to lead the Raiders to a 16-0 record and Super Bowl win. Id think Raider fans would be cool with that for under $25M a season. A second year on the contract gives the Raiders some cost certainty and a good chance to have a QB competition in 2021 if Mariota performs well in practice and Carr has another underwhelming season. This is much better than the situation the Titans were in when they turned to Tannehill and then had to hand him a monstrous sized contract extension off one good stretch of games.
3 years, $30,000,000, $19,250,000 total guarantees ($19,250,000 full)
A pretty good signing that should lock down the right side of the line for the next two seasons. At $10M a year this is in line with the projections for Bulaga and the high guarantee relative to the size of the contract is just the way business has gone on this year. The two year value on this is under $10M which tells me this is a two year deal with the third year being used to hit the $10M a year number. Perhaps things work out well enough to where they honor the third year. This like so many of the Chargers moves this offseason make so much more sense if Rivers was still the quarterback but Tyrod Taylor has had some NFL success so perhaps they will work out just as well with him as QB.
4 years, $51,000,000, $30,000,000 total guarantees ($15,000,000 full)
This is an example of a team just having a big budget, targeting a player, and not letting anything really stand in their way. Van Noy is a nice player that I assumed would go in the $10.5M per year range but you should always be worried about players like this leaving New England, even if the staff is familiar with him. The premium here is decent enough, but they also went further with the structure paying him $15M for the first year with most of that coming as a signing bonus. The Dolphins had zero reason to need to do a contract with a low cap hit this year only to make it look worse if you have to release him one or two years from now.
5 years, $82,500,000, $54,375,000 total guarantees ($46,000,000 full)
Way too much is being made about Jones resetting the cornerback market at $16.5 million a year. He had the most leverage since Josh Norman was a free agent in 2016 and still hasn’t brought the position back to where it was in 2013 and 2014. Maybe this nudges it forward into more positive territory but for the timeframe this isnt much stronger than Trumaine Johnsons contract with the Jets and there was really no comparison between the talent level of these two players. I like the strategy by the Dolphins of pairing two high priced corners as Ive always been a proponent of that. As far as structure this is relatively player friendly but fair. Miami could trade as early as year three and cut in year four and they kept the cap hits pretty steady throughout. They didnt get their typical small workouts in every year but thats not really a big deal. Solid for both sides.
4 years, $42,000,000, $23,000,000 total guarantees ($18,500,000 full)
So many were desperate for this to be a market setter and despite the initial reporting of being a market mover it really isnt and continues the incremental growth at this position. Ultimately Hooper got a slightly better guarantee than Trey Burton though much better cash flows over the term of the deal. The biggest strength for Cooper in the contract is the two year value which beats Jimmy Graham's 2018 deal by $1 million and his 3 year which beats that deal by $2.5 million. I think this is certainly a fair contract for both but definitely under what some anticipated. The Browns probably should have looked for some per game bonus protection and Im not sure why they needed to use an option bonus, but those are minor things. Now the Browns just have to hope that they can use him as effectively as the Falcons did this past season.
3 years, $42,000,000, $3,000,000 total guarantees ($30,000,000 full)
This more or less hit the exact price that I assumed Conklin would go for so that immediately makes this a pretty fair deal. The Browns didnt get caught in the trap of seeing the Trent Brown and Lane Johnson contracts as anything but outliers and basically the split the difference between Brown and Ja'Wuan James to create what will likely be considered the true top of the receiver market. For the guarantee I would have liked to have seen a longer contract but the trend this year has been three year contracts league wide with no impact on the guaranteed portion of the contract. The only real pet peeve here is they used void years for no reason whatsoever.
3 years, $18,600,000, $5,600,000 total guarantees ($5,600,000 full)
This seems like a fallback option for the Jets once Thuney dropped off the market allowing them to keep one old face on an offensive line expected to make a lot of changes. This is pretty much in line for a lower end starting guard. Perhaps a bit high but in light of the Ereck Flowers deal they should be happy they didnt have to jump much higher here. Lewis has had injury issues in the past and there are $400K in per game bonuses which gives the team some relief if he lands on IR. Jets can pretty much walk away relatively cap free after this season so this is really a stopgap contract with some upside for the team if he can be a viable starter for the Jets.
1 year, $25,000,000, $25,000,000 total guarantees ($25,000,000 full)
The Colts were pretty much in desperate need for a QB after the Brissett experiment didn't work and this was the closest that they could come to a sure thing. Rivers has his faults and last year was one his turnover prone seasons that seems to occur every few years, but he is also generally a lock to pass for 4,300 yards and usually have his team competing for the playoffs. Will the Colts win a Super Bowl with Rivers? Probably not but to keep a seat warm for a younger QB in 2021 or perhaps the return of Luck while competing he should be a good fit. To sign him for less than the ludicrous number they signed Brissett for is also a positive for the team.
3 years, $30,000,000, $21,000,000 total guarantees ($20,800,000 full)
This was one the big free agent surprises to me. Lawson thus far has been a situational lower end rusher with a bunch of physical talent that most would say has gone unrealized. Most of the time these players all wind up on a prove it contract worth around $5 million with some incentives that can boost the value. This reminds me of the Butler deal in Buffalo in that regard. The second year commitment from Miami tells me they expect Lawson to start and that's never been his role.
3 years, $39,000,000, $26,000,000 total guarantees ($26,000,000 full)
A pretty fair market contract for the Eagles and Hargrave. Hargrave is a pretty solid player who isn't going to dominate but I dont think comes with the risk that often comes with free agents you expect to dominate. This is more or less on par with the Sheldon Richardson contract last season with a little higher upside on the backend of the deal and a stronger guarantee. The Eagles did already go to the void year well with this one and Im not sure they needed to since they dont seem to be in a dire cap position. I know some will argue (and there is merit to the argument) that if they are just carrying the cap space over anyway it isnt a big deal but I do think it still puts you in a negative position of sorts three years from now if the player does under-perform or is angling for a new deal because he has played so well
4 years, $44,000,000, $26,000,000 total guarantees ($22,900,000 full)
This seems like a pretty standard contract that came right in around our original projection for Glasgow. Glasgow is a versatile lineman that can play either center or guard which should give the Broncos a lot of options. This deal pretty much falls right in line with the Nick Martin and Mitch Morse deals that were signed last year. There are a few areas where this may be a touch stronger but overall Id consider those two contracts to be a bit more player friendly than this one especially the Morse one which is the closest comparable situation.
4 years, $32,000,000, $16,250,000 total guarantees ($16,250,000 full)
Jenkins fills what is likely a one year need on what will most likely be a two year contract for $16.25 million. In the last two years we have seem some older safeties make double digit annual contract values so a price around $8 million a season is certainly justifiable as is the two year guarantee. Projecting how safeties do in free agency is just a waste of time as some do incredibly well while others just can't find a dime so its a hard position to really even gauge market interest. Should there be some worry in that second year? I guess so but if Brees retires does it really matter?
4 years, $20,000,000, $10,000,000 total guarantees ($10,000,000 full)
My feeling is that in most cases when a player is cut you should be able to sign that player for a discount. While I do think that Kennard should have fit into that category, the fact that Kirksey signed a contract a bit before this for over $6 million a year was going to make it more difficult for the Cardinals as was the fact that they paid top dollar last year for Robert Alford in a similar spot. You can rely more on Kennard than Kirksey so in that respect this makes more sense and I like the structure of contracts where the front payments are less than the contracts average annual value. Using a void year for a deal like this seems pointless but the team is a little tight on cap space so perhaps there is a tiny bit of merit to it.
3 years, $27,000,000, $18,000,000 total guarantees ($9,000,000 full)
Initial reaction I think for many is that the team downgraded by essentially going from Linval Joseph to Pierce, but from a longer term perspective I think this is an underrated signing. There are different skillsets here but Pierce is much younger and will cost $9M a year for the next three years while Jospeh would have cost around $36M. Vikings have a tendency to develop players like Pierce into something much better than what they were when they got there as well. Vikings are protected if this is a total bomb with the ability to walk away having paid just a hair over $9 million for the first year and $4M dead in 2021. If he does play well they put the biggest salary in 2023 which and be more useful when doing an extension.
2 years, $50,000,000, $50,000,000 total guarantees ($50,000,000 full)
This was a good signing by the Bucs. I really figured that Brady was going to want more than his former backup to accept any contract but they get him for a straight $25 million a season. The contract follows the standard Buccaneer policy of no signing bonus and pretty steady cash payments rather than a balloon payment up front the way many others do. Hell earn less this year than had the Bucs tagged Winston. If Brady signed this identical contract in New England people would be going crazy about the Brady discounts and accusations of pay under the table. The ultimate price tells me that Brady either wanted out of New England no matter what or that the Patriots wanted him out no matter what (Both could be true as well) and that there were concerns around the league of a 43 year old QB in a new system. It will be interesting to see how this works out on the field for the Bucs, but you couldnt ask for a better contractual outcome than this.
5 years, $70,000,000, $30,000,000 total guarantees ($30,000,000 full)
Not really crazy about the Bears strategy here. Quinn will be 30 years old in 2020 and is coming off a "reborn" type of year which historically is not repeated by most players in this age group. First two years on this deal will pay $30 million, all guaranteed, which is $8 million more than Addison and a few million more than Jason Pierre-Paul. Due to Bears cap issues they went with a five year deal here leaving them with $9.3M in dead money if (when?) they walk away two years from now. Three year value here is higher than all but the upper echelon deals. Bears hoping their guys up front create havoc because they have big deficiencies in the secondary.
2 years, $17,000,000, $8,000,000 total guarantees ($8,000,000 full)
This may be a bit high for Joseph who will be coming in around what teams were paying for Suh and McCoy last season and well more than McCoy earned from Dallas this year. Joseph is still a good player and hell improve the teams run defense assuming he is healthy all season, but this feels more like a move driven by name value than where he was last season and may wind up not being much more than a lateral move for a few million more than it should cost.
2 years, $17,000,000, $11,500,000 total guarantees ($9,500,000 full)
The Chargers are building a pretty nice secondary with the signing of Harris, though I'm not sure what direction the team is really headed in or if they have a direction at all, but taken in a vacuum this is a solid deal. The market wound up soft for Harris with concerns about age and a potential decline but this offers the best chance for success by staying in division and on a pretty deep secondary. I would have rather seen them split the cap evenly across two years since there is a chance this winds up a one year deal, but this could also be a steal.
2 years, $15,000,000, $7,500,000 total guarantees ($7,500,000 full)
Essentially a one year, $7.5 million contract with an option to extend to two years, Miami is taking a slight gamble that Ogbah. Ogbah has shown flashes in spurts and probably had his best season last year when he was probably on the field less but more effective in those snaps before getting injured. More often than not players like this usually sign around $5 million for the season but I guess with a second year locked in if they want it there is some upside if he thrives in an expanded role this season. Because of the way the Dolphins structured this even if he flops not too many people will really notice which is a positive for the Dolphins front office.
2 years, $20,000,000, $14,000,000 total guarantees ($13,000,000 full)
A reasonable attempt at getting some solid play in the secondary for millions less than keeping Darius Slay. I don't think you could sign Trufant for much less than this given that the team already had Coleman under contract for $9 million and the $10M number for Trufant is less for a first year number than Coleman. The only thing that concerns me is the partial guarantee in the 2nd year. Trufant has been hurt two of the last four years and I'd be concerned with locking in anything else in a second year because of that. The door is certainly open to bringing the contract down if he does get injured but sometimes you just look to move on in those situations and this complicates that.
3 years, $18,000,000, $9,000,000 total guarantees ($7,000,000 full)
This is one of my favorite deals of free agency. McCoy can still be a valuable part of a defense even at 32 and 33 years old. While McCoy may be trending down and could fall below 60% playing time for the first time since his rookie season he is still solid against the run and will give you pretty good pass rush performance compared to most interior lineman. Even if the playtime falls this is still a pretty high level for an interior lineman. Given McCoy's name value I think this is really cheap. Dallas has $750,000 per year tied to being active, which is among the highest yearly totals in the NFL and if it blows up they can walk away next year with $3.5 million in dead money and an excellent chance to earn $1 million of that back in offsets (assuming the deal has those). If he plays well he is locked up for the rest of his career with all the upside in Dallas' favor.
5 years, $100,000,000, $60,000,000 total guarantees ($40,000,000 full)
When this deal was announced at $20 million a year the Cowboys immediately took a lot of heat for "mishandling" the negotiation, but in reality this works out to be a very nice contract for the Cowboys. Breaking this deal down year by year Cooper will not earn nearly as much as Michael Thomas or Odell Beckham over the first two years of the contract. In fact he earns less than Brandin Cooks through the first two years of the contract. Cooper's guarantee is a flat two year guarantee with a standard vesting third year. Dallas only used a $10 million signing bonus so the cost to cut in year 3 if things go south is negligible. Two tags for Cooper would have cost Dallas $39M and they will pay $40M over the same timeframe. That type of raise really isnt indicative of a high level franchise player at all. To get neither significant "dead money" protection or an early vesting date tells me that the market ended up very soft for Cooper which is stunning to me. Dallas is basically set up to keep their player for two years and then see what they want to do with the position which could move over to Michael Gallup down the line. They have easy options to cut or trade.
2 years, $23,000,000, $14,100,000 total guarantees ($14,100,000 full)
This one surprised me. The annual value on this is right but I don’t know what benefit the Seahawks get from the way they are paying this contract out. The transition tag for Reed would have been in the ballpark of $13M and I can almost guarantee no other team would have made a significant offer due to all the questions around him off the field. Instead they paid him $14.5M for 2020 and while there is a discount that comes in 2021 for $8.5M there is no guarantee he gets there. This either should have been a lower cost one year deal or they should have flipped these numbers around to some extent. Seahawks were also one of just two teams thus far to acknowledge an added (minor) bonus for 17 games being a possibility in 2021.
2 years, $23,000,000, $17,000,000 total guarantees ($13,000,000 full)
This was good on the Patriots to bring back one of the popular effective veterans on defense and the price point is pretty much right on target. The problem here is the structure. New England has salary cap problems and just randomly throwing $6 million in dead money into 2022 doesnt seem wise. There were probably other moves that could have been made to make this a better structure.
3 years, $35,250,000, $22,000,000 total guarantees ($22,000,000 full)
Pretty good signing by the Raiders. Littleton does a lot of positive things on the field and the Raiders got a fair market contract here. Raiders continue to go straight cash year to year (though they often do these last season conversions which make no sense) which leads to a very solid $11.75M max takehome in year one which is pretty low for a contract that averages this much. The team got $500K per year in per game bonuses which is solid especially since the other linebacker they signed got nothing. This doesnt jump the $10M per year deals until year 3 and if he is still a Raider in year 3 it means he lived up to the overall price tag.
2 years, $50,000,000, $25,000,000 total guarantees ($25,000,000 full)
We are long past the point where negotiating with Brees is even a think anymore. He pretty much dictates if he is going to play and at what price. Brees continues to take discounts to chase a second ring in New Orleans. The sides did agree to not fully guarantee the deal and not to use a signing bonus (instead they prorated a roster bonus) which prevents any possible messiness from a retirement. Or course the Saints cap dictated use of multiple void years and any retirement will be painful for their cap, but they have gotten by for years with Brees using this strategy so they hope for two more years here with big pain on the cap.
3 years, $63,000,000, $33,000,000 total guarantees ($33,000,000 full)
This is the going rate for a low tier veteran starter in the NFL but I do question whether this is the right move for the Panthers. Bridgewater will certainly give them a steady hand and a professional presence but I have my doubts that the market existed for him at this level. Bridgewater has barely played since his brutal injury in Minnesota and this contract is based solely on a handful of games Bridgewater played last year in relief of Drew Brees. I think this could have been played more like a competition of sorts to get a far lower price deal. That said this is far superior for the Panthers than the disaster that was the Foles signing last year. Bridgewater will earn $42M over the first two years of this deal compared to Foles getting around $46M last year. The Panthers can walk after two years with only $5M dead compared to a Foles deal that would have left around $17M dead had he made it that far. So in that respect they did well.
4 years, $22,000,000, $9,250,000 total guarantees ($6,250,000 full)
I liked this deal for Dallas. The Cowboys took a little gamble with a restricted free agent here giving him a pretty big raise on the season (anywhere from $3 to $4 million over one of the two low tenders) and in return get a deal that will average $5.5 over 4 years or between $6 and $7 million in new money if you want to look at this as a tender plus three new year contract. Any tight end with a pulse these days gets $8 million and Jarwin should get an expanded role in the offense which means he had a good chance at doing enough to ask for that kind of deal. If he does bust they can walk in 2021 with limited cap impact though they have to get to at least 2022 to justify the RFA raise, IMO.
2 years, $13,000,000, $4,000,000 total guarantees ($4,000,000 full)
I killed the Packers signings in free agency last year and was dead wrong so maybe the same will happen here, but I have no idea what the thought process was on this signing. Sure the team got steamrolled by the 49ers running game last year but with a tight cap situation did they really have to spend even this much on a never healthy linebacker (Kirksey has played 9 games total in the last two years)? They should have been able to fix this in the draft and even if they had a hole burning in their pocket they could have found a more steady option. I guess they hope he is 100% healthy and has a major impact because if not this will likely be a waste of $6 million this year.
2 years, $11,000,000, $3,500,000 total guarantees ($3,500,000 full)
A bit surprised that more people are down on this signing versus the Kirksey one but I guess this is viewed as lower upside. Wagner hasn't been great or anything but he is a passable tackle and for a team that is tight on cap room it probably makes sense to go here especially since he will not count in the comp pick formula. Salary wise this is perfectly fine and fits in with the market. If he plays well enough to not get cut after the season the $5.5 million average is actually a pretty good value.
5 years, $85,000,000, $45,850,000 total guarantees ($34,150,000 full)
The 49ers basically took the Dee Ford contract and turned it into the Arik Armstead contract. About the only thing different here is that Armstead got more guaranteed up front, better bonus protection, and took a slightly less friendly cash structure than Ford because of it. Ford had 52.9% injury protected while Armstead gets 53.9%. Cash Flow comp is $20M vs $20.5M in favor of Ford in year 1, both at $35M in year 2, Ford at $51M compared to $50M for Armstead, $68M for Ford to $66.74M and then both make the turn to $85M. 49ers get their favoravle April 1 vesting dates, large per game bonuses, and the usual stuff they do well. This hit exactly where I thought Armstead would be but usually big names that go on day 1 should land for more than a standard projection and he didnt. The negative on this deal is they did defer a lot of cap charges and used void years again though the void amount is so small it doesnt matter. We dont have a great grasp on where the cap will go yet so deferring it may not be as bad as it sometimes can be.
3 years, $30,000,000, $18,000,000 total guarantees ($18,000,000 full)
when you target a player on the first day of free agency like this the prices jump and Id say they jumped by a good 25% here. The last time Collins left New England he stunk and I thought teams would be wary of that. I think with a player like Collins you go in one of two directions. You can do the high annual value but protect yourself with the guarantee or do a lower annual value but give him the protection. Here they went very high and guaranteed two of three seasons. This is one they should have just waited on especially since so many linebackers are always available.
3 years, $30,000,000, $19,950,000 total guarantees ($19,950,000 full)
Flowers flamed out in spectacular fashion with the Giants, didnt do much better in Jacksonville, and became somewhat passable in Washington. How is that worth $10 million a season? Players like Flowers should slot in the $5 to $6M a year range and never come close to this number. The Dolphins guaranteed $20M which is the 6th highest number for a guard and its only on a three year deal. With that kind of guarantee you have to get to at least 4 years in length to give yourself an added "cheap" year if Flowers actually plays to the level. As it stands he would end up getting a big raise if he plays up to this. Other than the Dolphins having money to spend there is no reason to be positive on this one.
4 years, $118,000,000, $91,000,000 total guarantees ($62,000,000 full)
Contracts for quarterbacks are what they are. Teams are petrified of losing a quarterback that might be good and it’s the position that the Titans found themselves in with Tannehill. Basically this boils down to what you think is the correct move- franchise Tannehill and have a potential Kirk Cousins situation or just bite the bullet and go all in. I am going to guess that part of the logic is age. Tannehill will be 35 if he makes it to the end of the contract which has been a breakdown age. If you do the Cousins route it could get even worse long term. First two year cash flows on this are actually better for the Titans than Derek Carr's were for the Raiders so that is a positive, but locking into Tannehill for three years is a scary proposition as Tannehill really should not have had the cache to get the third year effectively guaranteed at signing. Ultimately its a QB and this is about what they normally go for.
2 years, $33,000,000, $17,000,000 total guarantees ($17,000,000 full)
This was a re-signing that the Colts had to do, though I think the overall number is high here. The best comp I can come up with is Joe Staley who signed an extension last year with the 49ers. Staley is a better player though and while he did have less leverage, the cash comparison of $17M vs $14.25M in 1st year cash and $33 vs $28M total is too big even taking that into account. Now the Colts have to spend money this year and perhaps they saw this as a feel good deal for the locker room with no need to haggle, but it would have been better to at least get a third year at this number and Im sure they could have done that without too much trouble if this was the annual value they were aiming at. Structure is fine with no bonus making it easy for both sides if he does decide to hang it up in the future.
3 years, $15,000,000, $4,500,000 total guarantees ($4,500,000 full)
Spain is not dominant by any stretch but hes the kind of lineman that you can usually slot in as a starter on a decent line and he'll give you a decent 16 game season. Bills handled this correctly signing him for about $2 million last year and then seeing how he did in their system before commiting. $5 million is at the low end for a starter and this was a more team friendly contract that the Glowinski deal with the Colts and Miller contract with the Bengals. Safe contract structure overall for the Bills with $1.5M in per game bonuses and easy to walk away if he doesnt play well this year.
3 years, $21,750,000, $13,625,000 total guarantees ($13,625,000 full)
I understood not keeping Amukamara given their cap situation. I understood not matching a $7M a year offer for Kwiatkoski. This I don’t understand. When Trevathan plays he can play really well, but he's always hurt, playing just 9 games two times in last four years and 12 in one of the other seasons. This reeks of a team trying to recapture what they were two years ago rather than looking forward. The is basically no protection for the Bears for missed games (just $900K over three years) and they went crazy with void years just to fit him in the cap while they chase a QB. At no point could he be cut to create cap room.