According to NFL.com Houston Texans Running Back Arian Foster is headed to Injured Reserve, which will end his 2013 season. Foster, who earns $31,250 for each game his is active, will lose out on $250,000 in compensation for the year due to the injury. His 2014 salary cap number will also reduce by $250,000 due to half of his 2014 roster bonus now considers not likely to be earned.
For Foster the injury could be a long term consideration for his contractual future. Running backs in the NFL are traditionally only effective for a short period and with the Texans failing badly this year there will naturally be questions about paying $5.75 million in base salary to a player who will have essentially missed 13 games (he barely played in two games this year because of injuries) in the last three seasons. Foster will only be 28 next year so he is not at the age where teams really begin to shy away from the runners, but it could be a consideration. Releasing Foster would save the team $1 million in cap space in 2014.
Foster has some added protection because Fantex has pledged a ridiculous $10 million dollars for a low percentage of his future “brand income”. This money should be contingent on Fantex raising the money through a Foster IPO and I wonder if an injury now damages their chances of raising the money. Provided they raise it, and I would imagine enough fans want to “own” a part of a player, Foster will have little to worry about.
The injury to Foster now opens the door for backup Ben Tate to prove that he is worth a starting position in the NFL. Tate will be a free agent following the season. There have been questions about Tate’s ability to handle a full load and he will get to answer those questions now. While I doubt he will get the kind of contract some have speculated about (upwards of $7 million a season) a strong showing should be able to get him in the Reggie Bush area of $3.5 to $4 million a season. A poor showing and he may have to settle for being a secondary back in the future.
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.