Free Agency AfterMath: Front Seven

Defensive Backs

The chart below compares the Expected Contract Value with the stated contract value for each contract of $10 million or more signed during the 2016 offseason. Expected Contract Value 1.1 is applied at the time of signing. Expected Contract Value 1.1 takes into account the nature and timing of contract amounts, the resulting relationship between dead money and APY in each year of the contract, the length of the contract, and the position and age of the player. Expected Contract Value 1.1 is therefore a performance-neutral measurement of expected contract earnings. As a result, the primary way a player can exceed or fall short of his Expected Contract Value is to perform better or worse than the performance expectations implied by his contract.

Player Team Stated Contract Value Length Expected Contract Value % Expected to be Earned
Olivier Vernon NYG $85,000,000 5 $71,726,276 84%
Malik Jackson JAX $86,500,000 6 $63,936,945 74%
Mark Barron LA $45,000,000 5 $33,397,909 74%
Damon Harrison NYG $46,250,000 5 $32,542,855 70%
Vinny Curry PHI $46,250,000 5 $31,250,140 68%
Bruce Irvin OAK $37,000,000 4 $26,171,718 71%
Danny Trevathan CHI $24,500,000 4 $19,574,297 80%
Tamba Hali KC $21,000,000 3 $14,267,780 68%
Derrick Shelby ATL $18,000,000 4 $13,611,024 76%
William Hayes LA $17,500,000 3 $12,546,629 72%
Cedric Thornton DAL $17,000,000 4 $12,510,316 74%
Derrick Johnson KC $21,000,000 3 $11,457,794 55%
Robert Ayers TB $19,500,000 3 $11,250,963 58%
Mario Williams MIA $17,000,000 2 $10,647,224 63%
Jerrell Freeman CHI $12,000,000 3 $8,567,552 71%
Ahtyba Rubin SEA $12,000,000 3 $8,564,458 71%
Akiem Hicks CHI $10,000,000 2 $8,238,013 82%
Jaye Howard KC $10,000,000 2 $8,054,838 81%
Brandon Mebane SD $12,000,000 3 $7,875,294 58%
Vincent Rey CIN $10,500,000 3 $7,254,934 69%
Haloti Ngata DET $12,000,000 2 $7,115,175 59%
Al Woods TEN $10,500,000 3 $7,110,775 68%
Steve McLendon NYJ $10,500,000 3 $6,749,085 64%
Eugene Sims LA $10,000,000 3 $5,408,340 54%
Total $611,000,000   $439,830,334 72%
 

The comparison between Oliver Vernon and Malik Jackson highlights the insights provided by Expected Contract Value. While the deals are very similar in terms of stated value, Vernon can expect to earn significantly more money than Jackson. During their respective third, fourth and fifth contract seasons (2018-2020), Jackson is scheduled to earn $41.25 million and Vernon is scheduled to earn $44 million. The probabilities of remaining under contract during these seasons are 83%-70%-49% for Jackson and 91%-74%-51%. Vernon certainly has an advantage over Jackson in these contract seasons, but the more significant advantage is attributable to the fact that Vernon will be paid $40.5 million over the first two contract seasons while Jackson will only be paid $31.5 million (each of which with near certainty).

Instead, Jackson’s sixth contract season contains $13.75 worth of salary that he only has a 33% probability of receiving. So while both players have similar stated contract values, Jackson’s contract shifts (in comparison to Vernon’s contract) a significant amount of money from the first two seasons – when there would be a near-100% probability of receiving the money – to the final contract season – when there is a significant probability of not receiving the money. As always, the timing and character of contract amounts can matter as much, if not more, than the quantity.

Neither Vernon nor Jackson approach Ndamukong Suh in terms of stated value ($114.375 million) or Expected Contract Value ($79.836 million) even though the players are two and three seasons younger, respectively, than Suh was at the time of signing. This is largely attributable to the advantage Suh had in cash flow over the first two contract seasons, but another interesting point is that neither Jackson nor Vernon was able to secure the fully guaranteed third contract season that Suh obtained.

Marcel Dareus (stated value of $103.16 million and Expected Contract Value of $82.6 million) did not obtain a fully guaranteed third contract season, but he did obtain Accelerated Future Team Option Deadlines on his 2017 and 2018 salaries (2017 salary guarantee vests in 2016, partial 2018 salary guarantee vests in 2017). This type of provision increases Expected Contract Value by forcing the team to make a decision as to a future contract season during a current contract season in which there is already a high probability of the team retaining the player. Neither Jackson nor Vernon secured an Accelerated Future Team Option Deadline for the 2018 contract season.

Despite these considerations, both Jackson’s contract and Vernon’s contract are very strong for the players. Jackson’s 74% expected earnings is comfortably above average in a vacuum and very impressive for a six-year deal, while Vernon’s 84% expected earnings is among the best I have ever calculated. Both players have at least a 50/50 probability of being retained in their fifth contract seasons, which is very rare.

I tend to think that Jaye Howard and Akiem Hicks made smart decisions to sign two-year deals that allow them to return to free agency in 2018. While each player presumably sacrificed some amount of guaranteed money and/or total contract value as a tradeoff for avoiding team options in 2018/2019/2020, the upside of reaching free agency again before the age of 30 may be worth this additional risk. Mark Barron, Damon Harrison, Vinny Curry and Bruce Irvin may have been compensated enough to agree to multiple team option years, but I wonder if Danny Trevathan or Derrick Shelby considered signing shorter deals before ultimately agreeing to four-year deals.

Olivier Vernon
Stated Value: $85,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $250,000 99.8% $249,442 $28,750,000
2017 $250,000 98.5% $246,328 $11,250,000
2018 $13,000,000 90.7% $11,785,963
2019 $13,500,000 74.4% $11,526,850
2020 $15,500,000 51.1% $7,917,693
Subtotal $31,726,276 $40,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $71,726,276 (84%)
Malik Jackson
Stated Value: $85,500,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 99.7% $18,000,000
2017 97.6% $13,500,000
2018 $13,500,000 82.7% $11,997,674
2019 $13,000,000 70.3% $9,143,042
2020 $13,750,000 49.0% $6,735,551
2021 $13,750,000 33.2% $4,560,677  
Subtotal $32,436,945 $31,500,000
Expected Contract Value: $63,936,945 (74%)
Mark Barron
Stated Value: $45,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 99.3% $10,000,000
2017 $5,000,000 92.5% $4,624,881 $5,000,000
2018 $9,000,000 73.0% $6,572,644
2019 $8,000,000 56.0% $4,481,841
2020 $8,000,000 34.0% $2,718,543
Subtotal $18,397,909 $15,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $33,397,909 (74%)
Damon Harrison
Stated Value: $46,250,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $250,000 99.5% $248,700 $12,750,000
2017 $250,000 95.1% $237,749 $7,250,000
2018 $8,000,000 74.0% $5,922,832
2019 $7,000,000 55.1% $3,857,541
2020 $9,250,000 24.6% $2,276,033
Subtotal $12,542,855 $20,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $32,542,855 (70%)
Vinny Curry
Stated Value: $46,250,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 99.4% $11,000,000
2017 96.0% $7,000,000
2018 $9,000,000 72.0% $6,483,211
2019 $9,250,000 47.9% $4,427,033
2020 $10,000,000 23.4% $2,339,896
Subtotal $13,250,140 $18,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $31,250,140 (68%)
Bruce Irvin
Stated Value: $37,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $250,000 96.3% $240,715 $12,250,000
2017 $4,750,000 81.9% $3,891,625 $2,250,000
2018 $8,250,000 55.3% $4,561,594
2019 $9,250,000 32.2% $2,977,785
Subtotal $11,671,718 $14,500,000
Expected Contract Value: $26,171,718 (71%)
Danny Trevathan
Stated Value: $24,500,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $100,000 99.2% $99,204 $10,000,000
2017 $100,000 96.6% $96,556 $2,000,000
2018 $5,900,000 74.2% $4,378,444
2019 $6,400,000 46.9% $3,000,093
Subtotal $7,574,297 $12,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $19,574,297 (80%)
Tamba Hali
Stated Value: $21,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $1,250,000 95.0% $1,187,993 $5,750,000
2017 $1,250,000 61.3% $766,733 $5,750,000
2018 $7,000,000 11.6% $813,054
Subtotal $2,767,780 $11,500,000
Expected Contract Value: $14,267,780 (68%)
Derrick Shelby
Stated Value: $18,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 98.8% $6,000,000
2017 $3,000,000 91.4% $2,740,921
2018 $4,500,000 68.3% $3,071,256
2019 $4,500,000 40.0% $1,798,848
Subtotal $7,611,024 $6,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $13,611,024 (76%)
William Hayes
Stated Value: $17,500,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 92.1% $7,000,000
2017 $2,500,000 57.0% $1,425,283 $3,000,000
2018 $5,000,000 22.4% $1,121,346
Subtotal $2,546,629 $10,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $12,546,629 (72%)
Cedric Thornton
Stated Value: $17,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 98.4% $6,000,000
2017 $3,000,000 88.2% $2,646,226
2018 $4,000,000 62.8% $2,510,595
2019 $4,000,000 33.8% $1,353,495
Subtotal $6,510,316 $6,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $12,510,316 (74%)
Derrick Johnson
Stated Value: $21,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $250,000 88.9% $222,185 $6,750,000
2017 $4,000,000 43.6% $1,742,661 $2,000,000
2018 $8,000,000 9.3% $742,948
Subtotal $2,707,794 $8,750,000
Expected Contract Value: $11,457,794 (55%)
Robert Ayers
Stated Value: $19,500,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 85.9% $7,500,000
2017 $6,000,000 41.5% $2,490,331
2018 $6,000,000 21.0% $1,260,633
Subtotal $3,750,963 $7,500,000
Expected Contract Value: $11,250,963 (58%)
Jerrell Freeman
Stated Value: $12,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 94.1% $5,000,000
2017 $2,500,000 63.0% $1,573,952 $1,000,000
2018 $3,500,000 28.4% $993,600
Subtotal $2,567,552 $6,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $8,567,552 (71%)
Ahtyba Ruin
Stated Value: $12,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $500,000 95.0% $474,772 $5,500,000
2017 $2,200,000 71.9% $1,582,676
2018 $3,800,000 26.5% $1,007,010
Subtotal $3,064,458 $5,500,000
Expected Contract Value: $8,564,458 (71%)
Akiem Hicks
Stated Value: $10,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 96.5% $5,000,000
2017 $5,000,000 64.8% $3,238,013
Subtotal $3,238,013 $5,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $8,238,013 (82%)
Jaye Howard
Stated Value: $10,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $240,000 96.1% $230,700 $5,760,000
2017 $4,000,000 51.6% $2,064,138
Subtotal $2,294,838 $5,760,000
Expected Contract Value: $8,054,838 (81%)
Brandon Mebane
Stated Value: $13,500,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 91.4% $5,500,000
2017 $3,500,000 48.4% $1,695,416
2018 $4,500,000 15.1% $679,879
Subtotal $2,375,294 $5,500,000
Expected Contract Value: $7,875,294 (58%)
Vincent Rey
Stated Value: $10,500,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $1,500,000 87.4% $1,311,620 $3,000,000
2017 $3,250,000 58.1% $1,888,171
2018 $2,750,000 38.4% $1,055,143
Subtotal $4,254,934 $3,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $7,254,934 (69%)
Haloti Ngata
Stated Value: $12,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $250,000 81.4% $203,457 $6,000,000
2017 $5,750,000 15.9% $911,717
Subtotal $7,115,175
Expected Contract Value: $7,115,175 (59%)
Al Woods
Stated Value: $10,500,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 $250,000 95.0% $237,379 $3,750,000
2017 $3,000,000 66.6% $1,996,666
2018 $3,500,000 32.2% $1,126,729
Subtotal $3,360,775 $3,750,000
Expected Contract Value: $7,110,775 (68%)
Eugene Sims
Stated Value: $10,000,000
Year Salary Expected Outcome Expected Value Guaranteed
2016 89.5% $3,000,000
2017 $3,250,000 48.2% $1,567,755
2018 $3,750,000 22.4% $840,585
Subtotal $2,408,340 $3,000,000
Expected Contract Value: $5,408,340 (54%)

Expected Contract Value was created by Bryce Johnston and Nick Barton.

Bryce Johnston earned his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in May 2014, and currently works as a corporate M&A associate in the New York City office of an AmLaw 50 law firm.  Before becoming a contributor to overthecap.com, Bryce operated eaglescap.com for 10 NFL offseasons, appearing multiple times on 610 WIP Sports Radio in Philadelphia as an NFL salary cap expert. Bryce can be contacted via e-mail at bryce.l.johnston@gmail.com or via Twitter @NFLCapAnalytics.

Nick Barton is  a junior at the McDonough School Business at  Georgetown University.  He is majoring in Finance and Operations and Information Management. Nick currently interns with an NFL team . His prior work experience includes interning with CollegeSplits and Dynamic Sports Solutions, and working as a research assistant for the Center of Applied Research of the Apostolate.