Matt Ryan- 22/29 for 262 yards in a dominating win against the Eagles in Philadelphia has made him just keep rolling along. Ryan has one more season remaining on his rookie contract at a modest salary of $10 million. The way he has established himself he is going to get that extension much sooner than later as the Falcons can not risk losing him. He is certainly in the same class as Phillip Rivers, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger at the time they all received their first extensions. The ballpark number for those players was $15-$16 million per year and well over $30 million in guaranteed money. The market has moved upward since then and Ryan is set to move that market for young players.
Jason Witten- 18 receptions for 167 yards is an insane day for a tight end. Witten is locked into a long term contract which is not going to change anytime soon. That said his contract contains no real guarantees from this point onward, but with Dallas always in precarious cap position his play makes him a prime candidate for a restructure for cap relief next season which will guarantee him more money in the form of a signing bonus and give him some added job security on the backend of his contract, which would now be protected by some dead money. As it stands now Witten has no dead money charges beyond 2015.
Josh Freeman- 262 yards in a big win on the road against the Minnesota Vikings. Freeman has quietly put together a solid season in Tampa Bay this year and rebounded nicely from his poor third season. Freeman is somehow lost in the shuffle when discussing the QB class from 2009. People rave about Matthew Stafford because he led the Lions to a 10 win season in 2011, but people seem to forget that Freeman did the same for Tampa in 2010, the team just failed to make it as a Wildcard despite the 10 wins. Freeman has established himself as a solid, if unspectacular QB, that should have a long term future as a starter. The Jets already rewarded Mark Sanchez with an extension and Freeman is a better player. Freeman is under contract with the Bucs through 2013, but they may lock him up ahead of time. He isnt in the same class as Ryan above, but he should earn a deal in the Tony Romo/Kevin Kolb range, between $11 and $12 million a year with $18-20 million guaranteed.
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.