This is the really busy time of year for contract modifications and signings so please bear with us the next few days while we do our best to verify and upload contracts as they come in. You’ll notice that I am starting to add notes to everyone’s pages to better explain the contract details and if its a situation where I am unsure of a detail or we are using an estimate we’ll let you guys know. If you see someone missing or a mistake please email me so I can correct it.
Anyway since today was so busy I thought it would be a good time to recap some of what went on today.
The Washington Redskins used the Franchise tag on LB Brain Orakpo, who will now cost $11.45 million on the Redskins salary cap until a new deal is reached. There were rumors over the weekend that Orakpo would become a free agent but that would have seemed a bit short-sighted as this is the type of player you usually do not let go unless he is asking for the moon in a new contract.
The Cleveland Browns went and used the rarely used Transition tag on C Alex Mack, costing them $10.039 million in cap space. The salary cap is not an issue for Cleveland, but this would be a haul for a center. Usually the Center position is tag proof because of the cost and this move likely backs the Browns into a corner with his contract. This one year number is essentially 20% higher than the highest paid Centers in the NFL and as it stood those were out of date contracts to begin with. We saw this happen in 2011 when teams planned on locking out players and unlikely candidates were tagged to preserve their rights. Most of those players quickly signed their guaranteed tenders. It ended up driving up their overall costs when long term deals were struck following the lockout. I would expect the same to happen here as Mack would be wise to just sign this deal and get it worked into his new long term contract.
The Steelers then used the Transition tag (maybe its not so rare anymore) on LB Jason Worilds, adding another $9,754,000 to their already tight salary cap situation. Earlier in the day they had lowered the cap number for TE Heath Miller, presumably through an extension (we dont have those numbers yet), which perhaps played a role in the decision to keep Worilds. With their cap as tight as it is one would think that the increase in cap space plus promising talks with Miller and potentially S Troy Polamalu and CB Ike Taylor allowed them to keep Worilds. Worilds could be a one year wonder type player so I would almost think they are better off letting him play the year at the high cap figure and seeing what they do with him next season.
The Miami Dolphins signed CB Brent Grimes to a four year, $32 million deal, half of which is reportedly guaranteed. Grimes is coming off a terrific season but is 31 years old, so this deal most likely represents a two year deal with a three year max life. I would not expect the Dolphins to give a large signing bonus in order to maintain future cap flexibility. Between Grimes $8 million and Tim Jennings $5.6 million deal with the Bears this should now be the lower and upper limit for the plus 30 cornerback. I would think that for the Jets’ Antonio Cromartie(30) there are now some values to set an extension price.
San Francisco locked up WR Anquan Boldin to a two year, $12 million deal. Boldin has earned $6 million a year in cash for some time so the money was likely not too difficult for the sides to agree on. The 49ers did defer some cap charges to 2015 so there is a strong chance that this could be a one year contract. Overall this may have built somewhat on the Wes Welker deal with Denver.
With the Franchise/Transition period officially over there were also some moves that did not happen. The Bills are allowing S Jairus Byrd to enter free agency as it seems clear he would like to field offers from other teams. Still if the Bills needed to make a good faith gesture to keep him this would be the way to do it. Byrd should become the highest paid Safety in the NFL and have a number of suitors…By opting to tag Mack the Browns will allow S TJ Ward to potentially hit free agency if a deal is not reached. Ward would have been the more economical choice to tag…The Raiders did not use any tag on LT Jared Veldheer. This surprised me as Veldheer is a good player and the Raiders are flush with cap room and also need to make up cash spending from last year. I had looked at him last season and thought I came up with a fair price for him, which would be much lower than the tag value, and maybe that played a role since they did not want to have a $10 million plus year rolled into a new deal like the Browns will have with Mack.
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.