The news of Ryan Kerrigan’s extension with Washington kind of got lost in the shuffle of all the Seahawks news last week, but today we got the details of Kerrigan’s extension and can give the contract a bit of a closer look. It’s an important contract because it helps fill a void for the 34 pass rusher market that never developed this offseason the way people like myself expected it to. So let’s look at the particulars of the contract.
The contract is officially worth $57.5 million, which ranks third in the NFL at the position behind Justin Houston and Clay Matthews. The $23.788 million guaranteed ranks only behind Houston. These are big numbers for Kerrigan who had 22 sacks over the last two seasons. It surpasses the contract signed by Jerry Hughes in Buffalo which averages $9 million a season with just over $17 million in guarantees. Kerrigan is the more accomplished player of the two and the two sides seemingly split the difference between Hughes and Matthews. Kerrigan does have $250,000 per year tied to being active.
Washington decided to go the route of the large signing bonus and created $800,000 in cap room for this season in doing so. The contract is somewhat backloaded in terms of cap charges, with the numbers jumping from $8.45 million in 2016 to $11.7 million in 2017 and continuing to slowly grow from there. This may have been a necessity given the teams cap situation next year, which will rank in the bottom third of the NFL with extensions due for left tackle Trent Williams, running back Alfred Morris, and possibly linebacker Junior Galette while likely carrying quarterback Ribert Griffin III on a relatively cap expensive option year. Things loosen up after that season especially if they go back in the draft for a QB, which is why Kerrigan’s cap charges increase when they do.
The $16 million signing bonus should virtually guarantee the 2017 season for Kerrigan, but he would be fair game anytime after that for a release or restructure. I should look more into it, but I feel that this season teams are beginning to hand out larger signing bonuses in part because the dead money won’t be as much of a detriment three years down the line given the rising salary cap and relatively flat contracts at most positions.
I think this was an important deal to get done for the position after the disappointment in free agency of many players. Expected to be a hot market, teams seemed to cool off on the Jerry Hughes’, Brian Orakpo’s and Brandon Graham’s of the world and that mid market for the young player didnt seem to exist. Kerrigan should create that market. Here is how his yearly cash flow compares to Hughes and Matthews.
As you can see he fits in nicely in between both players and this deal will likely be used as a baseline for many players upcoming at the position. Finally here is the yearly salary cap breakdown for Kerrigan:
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.