Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Redskins have signed tight end Jordan Reed to a 5 year, $50 million contract extension. If that is indeed the base value of the contract and not an incentivized amount, Reed will now become tied with Jimmy Graham for highest paid tight end in the NFL with a $10 million per year average and a significantly higher number than the recent extensions for the Travis Kelce’s and Zach Ertz’ of the world who came in around $9 million a season.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this contract is the fact that it represents the Redskins second large contract for a player with a limited track history. Reed was terrific in 2015 with nearly 1,000 yards and he score 11 touchdowns, but prior to that had battled injuries and never played in more than 11 games in a season. Though efficient in his play his career averages on a per game basis were well below his 2015 production. The other player signed of course was Josh Norman.
The reason I bring this up is because when negotiating contracts with a team one of the most important things for an agent to do is not just benchmark against the market but against the team itself. Kirk Cousins, currently on the franchise tag, is looking for a massive contract extension despite having the label of being a potential “one season wonder”. The Redskins, thus far, have wisely held off on meeting his asking price but after seeing them make Reed the highest paid tight end and Norman the highest paid cornerback it gives Washington little to fall back on when Cousins looks for over $21 million a season.
The Redskins have around $5 million in cap space and likely will use most of that up with Reed’s extension. They will gain significant cap relief on June 2 when Chris Culliver’s $8 milion salary comes off the books so they can run right on the cap until that date. Because Reed was under contract already for the year for $1.671 million the effective cap cost for the Redskins will be $8.61 million a year and, unless they used some type of option bonus, wont carry any dead money for the final year of the contract. Those are all benefits of extending a player early, even if its to a high priced deal like this one.