Well things were not as active today around the League, but enough moves to discuss, so let’s jump into it.
The biggest news really came late Wednesday night when the Denver Broncos released longtime CB Champ Bailey and saved themselves $10 million in the process. Bailey was in the final year of his contract and battled injuries for most of 2014. The Broncos made no pretense about it and simply said it was time to move on and never looked to renegotiate his contract. Bailey was pretty much the standard bearer for the position between the retirement of Deion Sanders and eventual emergence of Darrelle Revis in 2009. Bailey’s last impactful games came at the end of the 2012 playoffs when the Ravens exposed his age and inability to keep up with young speed down the sidelines. He says he wants to keep playing but at 36 years old I’m not sure how big the market will be. Denver now has enough money to be a player in free agency if they would like to upgrade the defense in 2014 as they gear up for what may be Peyton Manning’s final run.
The Colts made two splashes today. The first was the signing of LB D’Qwell Jackson for $22 million over four years. We don’t have the particulars but early reports were that he would end up earning more than he would have from the Browns who released him a few days ago. It seems as if those reports may have been somewhat erroneous but this would seem to be another one of those overpriced deals signed by the Colts. They have the cap flexibility to sign these deals since they gutted the roster in 2012 but it is hard to imagine agents not approaching the Colts about clients at every step.
Following the signing of Jackson they released C Samson Satele to save $4 million. Satele was the starter and for a team with plenty of cap space this is usually the kind of move that is made after free agency or the draft. The Colts must have a free agent target in mind or trade possibility to make the move. With well over $40 million in cap room we know money will stand in the way of upgrading the position.
Minnesota made two releases in DT Letroy Guion and WR Greg Childs. Guion saves the team $4 million in cap space while Childs saves the team around $600,000. Neither move should come as much of a surprise. The Vikings now have about $41 million in cap room for next season.
I got the breakdown of S Aaron Williams now on the books for the Bills. It places him right around the top 10 at the position. He’ll have relatively low cap charges over the first two years of the contract if the team exercises his option next year. After the extension Buffalo has around $23 million in cap space to spend.
There were strong rumors that DT BJ Raji was leaning towards taking a one year $4 million deal to stay with the Packers. I got a number of question about this and basically I think this is a case where Raji overestimated his worth based on ancient history and former draft status and realized this was the best he was going to do. Nobody can deny the talent Raji has but he’s made minimal impact the last two years and anyone considering him on a long term deal needs to be worried. Im sure coming out of the Combine his side knew there was little market for him, at least at the numbers he wanted.
It is a crowded field of DT’s this year which just makes him stand out even less. I don’t think his signing has any bearing on the market as a whole since taking this is more of a futures decision than a referendum on a cheap market for the defensive tackle.
The Bears re-signed DT Jay Ratliff to a two year, $4 million contract. We’ll hopefully get the details of that in the next few days….the Jaguars re-signed a few players and the Jets re-signed two cornerbacks…Kansas City released two players neither of whom will have any impact on the cap (and one of whom I didn’t even know was under contract/tender to the club)…
We’ll try to keep things going over the weekend and if there are enough items in the news we’ll update again tomorrow. I’ll be discussing these deals and free agency in the podcast this week, but feel free to ask any specific questions before that. I’ll be recording either Friday night or sometime Saturday.
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.