We are only three weeks into the season but I thought I would take a quick look at the return teams have gotten this year on their outside player signings. To count as an outside signing a player must have not been on the team as of the last week of the 2020 season and be in the league long enough to be eligible to sign a new contract, which more or less limits it to veteran acquisitions. Players acquired by trade and waivers (if they readjusted their contract) were included. The value of the players acquired is simply the sum of the contract annual values.
It is no surprise that the worst performing teams are all the winless teams. The Jets added $75 million in contract value this offseason and have been terrible through three games. They did lose their biggest acquisition(Carl Lawson) to injury before the season began but that likely would not have changed the outcome. The Jaguars spent $67 million and have also been a dud. They do not have the injury excuse. Detroit was at $61 million, but that kind of comes with an asterisk. They traded for Jared Goff’s big contract but probably do not view him as worth that value. The Colts and Giants were in the $45-$50 million range and neither looks good, with the Colts having a similar asterisk as the Lions due to the Carson Wentz contract.
New England was the biggest spender at over $90 million and has 1 win while the Texans spent similar to the Jets and have a victory. Washington was the other team to spend a good amount with little early return.
Of the teams over the average spending line, the Titans and Bengals are on the winning side of the ledger while the Broncos, Raiders, and Cardinals are all undefeated.
The following graph shows the spending and current record for each team. I’ll try to update this every few weeks.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.