Contracts In Question After The 2019 NFL Draft

With the 2019 NFL Draft now in the books, it’s time to take a quick look at some veteran players whose contracts may be thrown into question after rookie acquisitions made by their current teams.

Eli Manning, Giants

With the selection of Daniel Jones by the Giants with the 6th overall pick, it’s worth reviewing that Manning has one year left on his contract, where he has $11.5 million in base due to him for this season. Manning also has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he can scuttle any sort of talk in that regard if he so chooses. Presuming that he is not assigned with any tag, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career, although as a veteran with well over ten accrued seasons he wouldn’t yield the Giants anything more than a 5th round compensatory pick in 2021.

Calais Campbell, Jaguars

By taking Josh Allen 7th overall, the Jaguars now have excellent depth at edge rusher. But will that depth be able to be financially sustainable beyond 2019? Should Allen play well his rookie season, while the 33 year old Campbell takes a step back, Jacksonville could decide to cut Campbell and relieve themselves of a $15 million base salary obligation to him for 2020.

Yannick Ngakoue, Jaguars

Alternately, the drafting of Allen could preparation for the possibility that they won’t hold onto Ngakoue. He has been one of the NFL’s more underrated young edge rushers, but given how much his position has been getting paid at the upper tiers, the price to keep him on a veteran contract could be deemed to be too much for Jacksonville.

Marcell Dareus, Jaguars

A third option would be to extend Ngakoue, try to kick Campbell inside on the defensive line, and say farewell to Dareus. He renegotiated his contract this offseason so that his 2020 year now contains a $10 million option bonus to be exercised 22 days before the start of the next league year. If exercised, Dareus would also get $9.5 million in base salary guaranteed. The total of $19.5 million could be untenable to pay him while also retaining all three of Allen, Campbell, and Ngakoue.

Jesse James, Lions

Detroit signed James to an ambitious four year, $22.6 million contract this offseason, yet that did not stop them from drafting TJ Hockenson 8th overall. Should Hockenson perform well quickly, it’s fair to consider whether James will see through his entire deal. Adding a void year to spread out the cap hits from his signing bonus could make cutting him early a bit daunting, as would a $2.55 million salary guarantee. However, a June 1 designation could make such a transaction a little less daunting should they so choose to do so.

Star Lotulelei, Bills

Lotulelei is entering the second year of a five year, $50 million deal. However, all guarantees to him are payable in those two first seasons, so now that Ed Oliver is in the fold with the 9th overall selection, the Bills could choose as soon as 2020 to part ways with Lotulelei–starting with $7.5 million in new money due to him that years, and then increasing to $8 million in the final two years.

Bobby Hart, Bengals

Hart signed a three year, $16.5 million extension with Cincinnati this offseason, but now that they’ve drafted Jonah Williams 11th overall, that could easily turn into a one year deal for around $7 million should Williams supplant Hart in the starting lineup on the offensive line.

Jeff Heuerman, Broncos

Heuerman’s two year, $8 million extension signed with Denver this offseason, wasn’t massive, but with up to $4 million due to him in 2020 and a wide array of young tight ends alongside him, bolstered by the selection of Noah Fant at 20th overall, Heuerman may have to go over and beyond typical expectations to justify a roster spot on the Broncos under his current contract.

Karl Joseph, Raiders

The early May deadline for exercising fifth year options on first round contracts tends to result in at least one decision being swayed due to the result of the draft. This year, Joseph could be such a player in question. After signing Lamarcus Joyner to a four year, $42 million contract, and drafting Johnathan Abram 27th overall, Joseph could easily see his fifth year option declined.

Robert Alford, Cardinals

Arizona raised eyebrows very early in the offseason when they gave Alford a three year, $22.5 million contract. However, all full guarantees were contained only in the first year, so should the Cardinals get good production from 33rd overall selection Byron Murphy in his rookie year, Alford could find his stay in Glendale to be for only one year.

Joe Flacco, Broncos

Flacco was on this list last year when the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson 32nd overall, and he indeed ended up leaving Baltimore. He ends up on this list once again with the Broncos drafting Drew Lock 42nd overall. Flacco has no guarantees nor prorated bonus cap charges against Denver, so if Lock impresses his rookie season, Flacco could find himself cut to allow the Broncos to avoid paying him a base salary of over $20 million.

Jordan Howard, Eagles

Philadelphia acquired Howard, who has one year left on his rookie contract, this offseason by trading a 6th or 5th round draft pick in 2020. However, by drafting Miles Sanders 53rd overall, the Eagles now have more flexibility to possibly let Howard walk in free agency next year–and possibly recoup the draft capital lost via the compensatory pick system.

Nelson Agholor, Eagles

There were rumors before the draft that Agholor could be available via trade. Those rumors might not go away now that the Eagles acquired JJ Arcega-Whiteside with the 57th overall pick.

Tyreek Hill, Chiefs

Finally, considering the terrible evidence that has built upon Hill’s history of domestic violence, Kansas City using its first selection on Mecole Hardman at 56th overall, it provides more evidence that Hill’s time with the Chiefs–and perhaps the NFL as a whole–could be coming to a close.