Cowboys Restructure Smith and Frederick Contracts
From the news that will shock nobody department the Cowboys pulled the trigger on the restructures of left tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick according to ESPN’s Todd Archer. Dallas was estimated to be nearly $13 million over a projected $168 million salary cap, a number that could grow when further adjustments are made. Dallas really had no choice but to convert salary to bonus money from these two contracts.
As far as restructure candidates go these are both good ones. Smith’s contract runs a long time, doesn’t have excessive prorated money, and is likely to be a reasonable cost contract for the duration. Dallas is starting to run the prorated money into the higher end now for Smith, but it is still reasonable. If Dallas had a way to avoid redoing the Frederick contract they would have likely been in very good shape moving forward but really had no other option.
We should get the full numbers on this in a few days but based on Archer’s tweet I’d guesstimate that the Cowboys converted $9M of Smith’s salary and $12.6M of Fredericks for a total savings of $17.28M which should put the Cowboys somewhere around $4.5M in cap space. I’ll probably hold off on updating until the official numbers come out.
Jaguars Release Jared Odrick
The Jaguars have seemingly been trying to fix many of the contract missteps they have made in the previous few years and today they added to the list with the release of defensive end Jared Odrick. Odrick was signed in 2015 to a surprising $8.5 million a year contract that contained $17 million in guarantees.
Odrick had a decent first season notching 5.5 sacks but was injured for most of 2016 and there likely wasn’t a spot for him on a rebuilding club that has other players at the position. Odrick is a pretty versatile player and should be able to land a job with another team probably in the $4-5M range. He was the 4th most likely DE to be released in our potential cut series and will save the team $8.5 million this year.
Dolphins Finalizing Trade for Julius Thomas
Per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins and Jaguars have finalized a trade for disappointing Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas for a late round draft pick. Thomas signed a $9.2 million a year contract with the Jaguars back in 2015, that immediately was one of the most optimistic signed contracts in the NFL. Thomas had had problems with injuries in the past was not ultra productive outside of the touchdown stat, which never materialized in Jacksonville.
Give the Jaguars some credit for getting anything in return for Thomas. They could have released him right after the Super Bowl rather than allowing $3 million of his salary to guarantee for the year. It was a bit of a gamble but one that paid off. Thomas was number one on my list of tight ends likely to be cut so it was surprising when he was not released. The Jaguars will save $4.7M in cap room with the trade.
The question is whether or not Thomas reworked his deal to go to Miami. Thomas was due $7.1 million this year which is definitely on the higher end for his production, but last year the Dolphins agreed to pay a similar disappointing player in Jordan Cameron $6 million so the Dolphins would not have a big leg to stand on to hope for a deep pay cut unless Thomas just wanted out of Jacksonville that badly.
Technically no trade can occur until the official start of the new league year so the Jaguars will carry Thomas on their roster until March 9. There is always a chance that the Dolphins could back out of the deal in the interim.
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.