According to Fox Sports Mike Garofolo, the New Orleans Saints have extended the contract of defensive end Cameron Jordan for five years and up to $60 million in new money. The base value of the contract looks to be in the $55 million range, which would essentially match the last big contract signed by a 34 defensive end when Calais Campbell signed a new contract in 2012 with the Cardinals. This is an important contract because the 34 defensive end market really didn’t exist and there were a large number of players at the position looking for big pay days.
When I looked at the 34 defensive ends a few weeks ago, Jordan graded out as the best pass rusher not named Watt. Jordan’s deal should now become the model for discussing contracts at the position and it is likely that Muhmmad Wilkerson, Cameron Heyward, Fletcher Cox, etc…will simply work up from here when negotiating a contract. The other players I would think are more complete but the pass rush is almost always the most viable commodity.
The contract should be beneficial for the group since it discounts any argument that Jurrell Casey’s contract, signed a as a defensive tackle before he converted positions, for $9 million is something to quarrel over. It also illustrates the large separation between JJ Watt and the rest of the group, which may squash the dreams of players searching for $14 million at the position, but it is fair to assume that one of the players will end up close to $13 million per year by the time all are signed.
The Saints only had $750,000 or so in cap room, but Jordan made up nearly $7 million of that number. Jordan’s cap number should come down in any extension, especially since the Saints typically rely on signing bonus money in their contracts. To match the cash flows of the Campbell contract, Jordan would need to earn $24 million in the next two years and just over $37 million through 2017.
One way to do that would be to use a $1 million base this year with a $14 million signing bonus. That would reduce his cap charge to $3.8 million for 2015. That would leave them with cap numbers around $12.8 and $14.8 million in the next two years. If they have other options with the roster for cap room then they could use a similar deal to Junior Galette’s last season which was essentially cap neutral in the year it was signed. Whenever we find out more details I’ll update Jordan’s pages accordingly.