A Closer Look at the Andre Johnson Financials


Per Ian Rapoport the talks surrounding Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson are heating up again. With that in mind let’s look at the salary cap and cash considerations surrounding a move.

Because we are now past June 1, Johnson’s “dead money” will split between 2014 and 2015, which makes the contract reasonable for the Texans to trade. Currently Johnson counts for $15,644,583 against the Houston Texans salary cap and $11 million against their cash payroll. If traded or released his cap charge would reduce to $4,644,583 in 2014, an $11 million savings. In 2015 his cap would drop from $16,144,583 to $7,319,583, an $8.825 million savings.

For a rebuilding team this is a no brainer decision. The Texans have a major contract extension on the horizon with JJ Watt. Watt is going to look to earn in the ballpark of the $16 million a year Mario Williams earned from the Buffalo Bills. Trading Johnson will create a total of $19.825 million in cap room over the next two seasons, which is a huge number. The payroll savings of $21.5 million (Johnson has already forfeited a $1 million roster bonus due in September that was contingent on offseason participation and likely another $250,000 also tied to workouts) would easily cover a bonus for Watt.

The difficult part of the trade is finding a trade partner. Johnson’s $33.5 million in remaining salary, regardless of how good he has been, is a high figure for a 33 year old receiver. The team trading for him would need to have enough cap space to take on a at least a $10 million cap hit in 2014 or restructure the contract to lower the cap charge. In addition that team would likely need to reinstate the lost $1 million bonus bringing the cap hit to $11 million.

Restructuring a contract (which any player will do) would mean paying Johnson a large portion of his $10 million salary in the form of a signing bonus. That would not only make Johnson more difficult to release in the future but would likely increase his cap charges in 2015 and 2016 to $14 and $15 million a season.  Teams could reduce those numbers slightly by adding voidable seasons to the contract, but that would be locking themselves into future dead money.

NFL.com speculated on a few landing spots. Here are some thoughts on a few of them

New England Patriots

The team is currently $6.4 million under the cap so they would need to create nearly $5 million in cap room to execute the trade and $8 million in cap room to just function for the year. The Patriots have already made one big move when they signed Darrelle Revis to a “buy now, pay later” type of contract, so that would likely be the way they would work with getting Johnson under the cap. The team has very few, if any, candidates for restructure to facilitate a trade.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have one of the worst group of receivers in the NFL, but they just recently let the older Steve Smith walk away and the Panthers were not very active in trying to replace him. That makes it hard for me to believe that they would be interested here. Financially it would be difficult. Carolina still has one of the worst cap situations in the NFL and just $4.8 million in cap space. The team needs to consider a longer term extension for Cam Newton and Greg Hardy. I can’t see the financial match.

Cleveland Browns

I’m not sure how Johnson can spin this as playing for a contender, but the Browns have $24 million in cap space making the contract an easy one to take on. This could be an intriguing trade and  I would wonder if Josh Gordon would be involved. Gordon is a high upside player that could be suspended for the season. Houston could consider him and a draft pick as fair compensation. If Gordon was to never play again the Texans would at least have the opportunity to recover the bonus money paid to him by the Browns.

New York Jets

The Jets have a need for a wide receiver and they have already added a few one year veteran contracts to the team in Mike Vick and Chris Johnson. Because the Jets have over $20 million in cap space they could bring Johnson in and not saddle themselves with future dead money. Having Johnson on the team would allow the Jets to quickly evaluate Geno Smith and if they think Johnson could have some trade value in 2015 if things don’t work out they might not have a lot to lose.

Oakland Raiders

This reunites Johnson with Matt Schaub and the Raiders are essentially a one or two year “for hire” program right now. Again this isnt exactly going to a contender, but they have the veteran infrastructure in place to at least consider it a possibility. Oakland has just over $10 million in cap room, so they may have to tinker slightly with the contract to give them an operating budget in September, but that would not be a dramatic departure from their current contract constructions.

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore already has receivers in place and with just $4 million in cap space it is hard to see them being able to absorb his contract. They have a number of high future cap charges in place an it’s not likely they want to add another one here.




Thoughts on Andre Johnson and the Lessons to be Learned from his Contract

Not unexpectedly Andre Johnson is expressing unhappiness with the Houston Texans according to Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle. In the article Johnson questions whether Houston is the place for him to finish his career and stated he will not attend offseason activities.

At 32 years of age Johnson knows that his career is no longer rising and he is going to spend the declining years on what is a rebuilding team.  He can look around at older veterans like Reggie Wayne and Steve Smith and see the way their franchises played hardball with them and the lack of interest that may be on the market for aging players. This was his last opportunity to try to get a new deal to at least make it a financially strong reason to play his career out in Houston but the Texans looked to have turned down that idea leaving him unhappy on a team that looks to be looking towards the future rather than the present.

Johnson carries a salary cap charge in 2014 of $15,644,583 and a cash contract value of $11 million. If traded before June 1, Johnson’s cap charge for the Texans would be $11,964,166 representing a savings of $3,680,417 against the cap. If traded after June 1 the Texans would take a $4.644 million cap charge in 2014 and a $7.319 million charge in 2015. In either scenario the trade would help rather than hurt the Texans salary cap.

The more difficult aspect of the trade is to find a trade partner. Johnson has $34.5 million remaining on his contract, a huge number for a player that is about to turn 33 years old. While Johnson plays at a far higher level than his peers at that age, players like Anquan Boldin and Wes Welker are working for $6 million a season. To complicate matters Johnson would likely want an extension or some type of guarantee on his contract.

Only 12 potential destinations could absorb his $11 million salary without touching the contract. Of those 13 only the Bengals, Eagles, Packers , and Colts would be considered sure fire contenders and most of those squads are set at the WR position. Fringe playoff teams with the room would include the Jets, Dolphins, and Bills. Buffalo would certainly have no interest and Miami is already overspent at the position.

Johnson does risk money in a hold out. This was not the first time that Johnson had been unhappy with the Texans. Back in 2010 Johnson made it known he was unhappy with a contract extension that had multiple years left on it as lesser players began earning more money as the salary cap and importance of the wide receiver position grew. The Texans gave in that time, but in a very minimal way, which I’ll discuss below. To further protect themselves from a holdout threat they tied $250,000 in salary escalators and another $1 million in week 1 roster bonuses to offseason attendance.

There is no arguing the fact that Johnson has always been underpaid. He had been as productive as any of the top paid receivers in the NFL but never reached those financial thresholds. For players considering representing themselves in contract negotiations Johnson’s career should be studied closely and perhaps a warning sign for either not looking for an agent or at least consulting with someone well versed in the NFL contracts and the salary cap.

Johnson represented himself in 2007 when he signed a 6 year extension with the Texans. Johnson had two years remaining on his rookie contract at the time so this extension would take him to the age of 33, meaning it would be the only big contract of his career. Johnson had been scheduled to earn $15.7 million in the 2007 and 2008 seasons of his rookie contract and would have likely increased that number to $16.7 million via escalators.

In his negotiated extension he received a raise of just $3.325 million, none of which would be paid until 2008. He was guaranteed next to nothing and the contract structure was such that he never carried a cap hit in the extension years that would exceed $8.65 million. In addition the signing bonus was so small that he could have been released very quickly had he been injured or ineffective. For that tiny guarantee and raise he was locked in at a price of $7.468 million per year for the next 8 years.

The following season Larry Fitzgerald received a contract extension from the Arizona Cardinals that was worth $10 million a year and only added another two years onto Fitzgerald’s contract. Fitzgerald received $20 million in real guarantees and millions more in injury protection. Fitzgerald played on a better team and had better numbers but the contract terms were a major difference.

After back to back 1,500 yard seasons in 2008 and 2009, Johnson made it known he needed a new deal. The problem for Johnson was that the contract he negotiated for himself in 2007 was so bad that he had destroyed any leverage possible. This go around Johnson hired an agent but there is only so much that could be done. The Texans basically eased the situation adding another two years onto his contract to make him happy. In terms of base contract value Johnson only received a small raise. Originally set to earn $13 million in 2010 and 2011, Johnson would now earn $17 million, a $4 million raise. His 2012 through 2014 seasons remained identical.

Unlike other high end receivers Johnson’s contract contained escalator clauses that, if earned, would push his average contract value over the first five years of the deal to $50 million, thus matching Fitzgerald’s annual value of $10 million a season.  To reach the full numbers Johnson would be required to finish in the top 5 in any of a number of receiving categories. Johnson ended up earning all but $2.2 million of the escalators. In addition Johnson stood to lose at least $1 million a season in the 2012 to 2014 seasons if he held out his services.

While the contract did earn Johnson some added guarantees they paled in comparison to other players and Johnson could still have easily been released after the 2011 or 2012 seasons.  He was one of the best bargains in the NFL- a top quality player with almost no ability to hold out and playing under reasonable salary cap allocations. The Texans would make a mess of his contract over the years with constant restructures (his contract was reworked every year for cap relief), but the base deal was extremely team friendly.

While the deal would be a slight victory for Johnson it was short lived. Fitzgerald would put about 100 less receiving yards than Johnson in 2010 and 500 less yards than Johnson’s 2009 season he used as leverage for his contract, but would be rewarded with a monster contract in 2011 that averaged over $16 million a season with $45 million in various guarantees. Since that time Johnson has caught 21 more passes for 334 more yards than Fitzgerald. On a per game basis it’s no contest as Johnson averages 89.5 yards a game to just 66 yards a game for Fitzgerald. Despite that Johnson was paid just $36.8 million compared to $51.65 million for Fitzgerald from 2010 to 2013.

Since that time Johnson’s contract has been surpassed by the likes of Percy Harvin, Mike Wallace, and Dwayne Bowe, who have a total of five 1,000 yard seasons between the three of them. Johnson has seven. Of those seven, four are for more than 1,400 yards. It’s a travesty that Johnson has been paid the way he has, but these were mistakes or miscalculations that were made back in 2007 and more or less compromised his entire earning potential. Now he is left staring at a rebuilding team with no QB to throw him the ball. He knows odds are he’ll be released following the season but with the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him the football his stats stand to suffer and as a 34 year old free agent teams are going to say that it was age related more than team related and he’ll finish his career as a bargain player for some other organization. He probably deserved better but the NFL is a tough business and players should beware of what one bad decision can do to your financial future.


Looking At the Houston Texans Salary Cap and Coaching Vacancy


Driving home from work the other day I heard a discussion between Jay Glazer of Fox and Mike Francesa of WFAN where they felt as if the Texans head coaching job was “one of the best openings in the last 10 years”.  While some of their talk focused on ownership that doesn’t meddle most of it was centered around the strength of the roster and flexibility they have. Glazer compared it to the Chiefs of 2012. I admit I was surprised when I heard that so I wanted to look deeper at the team.

Going into the season I had felt the Texans were a team that likely was going to trend downward.  We see it all the time in the NFL. You are pretty good for a long period of time and eventually the wheels come off. The 2011 Houston Texans were an excellent football team. Everything clicked on defense and their offense was potent. Unfortunately QB Matt Schaub was injured and that killed any hopes for real playoff success. The 2012 team was much more inconsistent than the 2011 team.  They were up at times and down at others. Schaub returned but faded in critical situations. The wheels fell off for him and the Texans this year.

In terms of salary cap the Texans are not in a position to be active in the way the Chiefs were this past offseason. Kansas City had the cap room to trade for a mid grade QB, extend a franchise tender to a left tackle, extend a wide receiver on a top of the market contract, and then go out and sign a number of players to add to the poorly coached team. The Chiefs had millions upon millions to spend.

The Texans have been tight on cap space all season and will carry over just about $1.1 million to the 2014 NFL season. Based on their current cap commitments the team will have just slightly more than $9 million in cap space to spend on improving their team, a number that does not include tenders (though they have no RFAs of note) or escalators.  Considering one of those improvements will come with the number 1 pick in the draft, whose cap charge will be just over $4 million, the team has essentially no money to spend with the roster as currently constructed.

The Texans will go into the offseason with nine free agents that are considered contributors to the team. Houston will need to create some cap space in order to re-sign some of these starters and rotational players. The list is as follows:



% Snaps

Wade Smith



Antonio Smith



Garrett Graham



Darryl Sharpton



Joe Mays



Earl Mitchell



Ben Tate



Ryan Harris



Greg Jones



The question becomes where do they go to create cap space?  It would seem to be a foregone conclusion that the team releases Schaub, but that move only saves the team $4 million, essentially the room it needs to sign his replacement, which will be expected to be their top draft pick. But beyond Schaub where is there to go for cap relief?

The Texans need to restructure contracts in the past or sign players in a manner to fit short term within the cap has them with very limited options. They are not a team that has one or two players making large sums of money with no realistic chance of being on the team in 2014. The Texans highest cap savings are TE Owen Daniels and S Danieal Manning at $4.5 million each. Both were injured in 2013, but would be penciled in as starters in 2014. Both are also free agents following the 2014 season so there is no restructure relief available and extending two players on the wrong side of 30 coming off injury would not seem to be beneficial. Both could take paycuts but the team is not going to get major relief through just these two players.

CB Johnathan Joseph would be a logical candidate for restructure as he has an $11.25 million hit and they could push a portion of it to 2015, which is the final year of Joseph’s contract. Again that is only going to save around $4 million with the bill coming due in 2015, so it doesn’t make a huge dent in the Texans salary cap.

The two big questions will be what the team does with WR Andre Johnson and RB Arian Foster. Both are big ticket players, but Johnson will be 33 years old and Foster’s body already seems to be breaking down. The Texans have restructured Johnson’s contract so many times that going there again is going to cause damage in the future. Johnson is still a great player but he is nearing that age where the Wide Receiver numbers begin to decline and if you bring a rookie QB into the mix you never know what can happen.  His cap in 2015 is already over $16 million and the team has over $7 million in dead money there if they had to release him. Adding more money to those totals seems like a bad idea.

Foster has an $8.5 million hit and release saves just $1 million in cap, but there at least has to be a discussion about his future. Tate is a younger and likely cheaper option at this time and it would seem unlikely that the team can afford both players. With Foster’s injuries it’s a situation that needs to be watched carefully.  Foster would more likely be a June 1 cut candidate so that his salary cap savings can be applied to signing draft picks.

Houston also needs to be concerned with the future of LB Brian Cushing. When he plays Cushing is one of the better inside linebackers in the NFL, and the Texans are paying him accordingly, but he has only played 12 games in the last two years. This could turn into a Jon Beason situation where constant injuries lead to wasted cap room.

Now I’m painting a bleaker picture than this really is- The Texans do have really young talent ranging from JJ Watt, arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, to DeAndre Hopkins, who could very well be one of the next stud receivers in the NFL. The team this year just never recovered from some early losses and things spiraled out of control as injuries piled up.  They also play in one of the worst divisions in the NFL making a quick turnaround that much easier.

But I don’t see how the Texans are a new coach away from greatness. This is a team that probably underachieved for some time in part due to coaching and then peaked in 2011. Now its time to begin turning parts of the roster over again.  The Texans had 7 starters this year over the age of 30 and 8 over the age of 29, so turnover is a necessity. The short term cap position does not really lend itself to adding significantly to the team in free agency. The team does not have a Quarterback on the roster. There are just as many questions with this team as there are with most teams searching for a head coach. .

I don’t think that in terms of readiness that this job compares with some of the more recent coaching hires that included Mike Tomlin to the Steelers, Jim Harbaugh to the  49ers, or Rex Ryan to the Jets. The Steelers were set at the QB position when Tomlin took charge and did not really have a roster overhaul to consider. The other two coaches did not have Quarterbacks (though Ryan did end up with a top draft choice to play the position) but both had tremendous roster flexibility due to better managed salary caps and teams that had not yet peaked. At the time all three were highly desirable jobs.

The Texans are not a bad job like the Raiders, but to me they are a rebuilding team that must first navigate the breaking down of a team following successful period of football before they make the turn to returning deeper into the playoffs. Any coach that takes the team over should be expected to improve off this seasons dreadful performance but most likely it will take two to three years to drive home the results that many seem to think are just going to happen overnight.




Best & Worst Contracts: The Houston Texans


A few weeks ago Jason LaCanfora published a list of best and worst contracts in the NFL so I thought it might make a good idea for us to do the same here at OTC, with a team by team approach. I’ll try to be a bit more analytical in terms of why money was paid and how it fits in the market, but the general premise is the same. The one key difference is outside of restructured rookie contracts under the old CBA we will only use veteran contracts as there is a big difference between best draft picks and best contracts.  Please note that there is a difference between a bad player and a bad contract when discussing some of the selections. Clicking on a players name will take you to his salary cap page.

Andre JohnsonBest Contract: Andre Johnson

It’s a pretty rare occurrence to say a player with a $14 million dollar cap hit is the best contract on the team, but cap charges can be a strange thing and this just happens to be the one year where he has a high charge. Johnson has been spectacular in his time with the Texans. He has produced nearly 1600 yards in two of his last 4 seasons and he does this without the great QB and or the decent 2nd target to help to draw the coverage away from him.

Why do I like this contract so much?  Because the Texans more or less played hardball with Johnson who realized he signed a long term below market contract back in 2007 that he desperately wanted to get out of by 2010. The Texans really didn’t blink, throwing a token two years onto his contract to bump up the perceived value and giving him a base increase of just $4.2 million in his original contract years.

For Johnson to really earn his money the contract was heavily incentive with rewards for finishing near the top of the NFL in key receiving categories each season. He could earn an additional $10.8 million to bump the 5 year value of the contact to $10 million a year, still a steal in a market where Percy Harvin makes over $12 million and Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are paid as if they are Quarterbacks.

The Texans built all kind of holdout protection in Johnson’s contract tying large roster bonus to almost 100% workout participation and no missing of mandatory offseason team activities. The bonuses are not paid until the start of the regular season. Johnson’s salary currently barely cracks the top 10 at the position and could be released by 2015, the first of his “new” seasons with the Texans, with a charge around $4 million, giving them enough leverage to threaten to cut Johnson if his play begins to deteriorate.

Matt SchaubWorst Contract: Matt Schaub

Schaub probably gets beat up a little too much by people like myself.  By no means is he great, but he’s also not awful either. He is a low upside QB that benefits from the system he plays in, but when you make the type of financial commitment the Texans made to Schaub you are going to be scrutinized much more.

The whole process was a bit questionable. Schaub was coming off injury in 2011, the third time in five seasons in which he failed to complete more than 11 games, when the Texans made the decision to extend him in 2012. Salary cap considerations were not really a concern as the extension came long after free agency was complete. Both points should have been leverage for the Texans, but they may have overreacted to a disappointing finish to the 2011 season when backup TJ Yates was clearly a weak point in the playoffs.  It is also possible that the team panicked following a monster extension given to Drew Brees and the fear of what could happen if Schaub was to go on and win a Super Bowl.

It resulted in a contract for Schaub that was loaded with prorated money and large guarantees. Schaub’s $7.29 million per year guarantee upon signing was the second largest veteran guarantee at the time only to Brees. His $17.5 million dollar signing bonus was second to Brees at the position.  The tradeoff to the large guarantees was some injury protection in the last three years of the extension, but with Schaub’s injury history no tradeoff really should have been required. With $10.5 million in dead money for Schaub in 2014, the Texans are likely stuck with him through at least that year. Considering there were questions about his future with the team at the end of 2012 he will need a tremendous 2013 to avoid a real backlash against him.

Check out Our Other Best & Worst Contract Articles

AFC East: Buffalo BillsMiami DolphinsNew England PatriotsNew York Jets

AFC North: Baltimore RavensCincinnati BengalsCleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers

AFC South: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts (July 3)

Estimating the Value of WR Dwayne Bowe

One of the things that I have always liked to do is to take a stab at valuing players’ contracts in the context of the market. While I think this is a poor season overall for free agents there are a few positions that have a healthy group of above average players and one is the wide receiver position. To start things off with some free agent valuations that maybe I’ll get to over the next few weeks we will look at Dwayne Bowe of the Kansas City Chiefs. Bowe was a franchise player last year and is now rumored to be in negotiations to stay in Kansas City.

Basic Stats

I usually like to start off by looking at the past three years for a player and just examining their basic output. For a WR that is going to be games played, receptions, catch rate, yards, average, and touchdowns. Here we have Bowes stats:

GRecYdsAvgTDCatch Rate





























Obviously there are a few warning signs here. Bowe’s YPR has fallen every year and his last two years are actually below his three year average. His TD totals are completely inflated by the 2010 season. Considering the typical volatility at the position these numbers would make me a little nervous about breaking the bank for this player, so I want to look a little deeper.

Comparative Performance

Football is a unique game in that its really the only sport where 11 moving parts are responsible for the end result. Of all the positions in the NFL my own feeling is that the Wide Receiver is the most dependent of all. First they need a QB to get the ball to them on target. For that to happen the QB needs protection from his line to throw. Having a running game to draw a safety off playaction is a tremendous benefit for a receiver. If things aren’t right around him he is not going to perform. So I want to compare the performance of the player to those on the team around him. Here is Bowe’s contribution to the offense over the last three seasons in comparison to the other WRs on the team:

Team TgtsTeam RecTeam YdsTeam TDsTeam Ints

























Now looking at the numbers this way I feel much more comfortable with Bowes declining numbers this past season. While I don’t think he can reach the high point of 2010 again we have numbers between 2011 and 2012 that are very consistent. Despite the low TD totals in both years and the declining yardage total the reality is that this has as much to do with a poor team as it does a decline in the player. What is also interesting to note is that interceptions on passes intended to Bowe are lower than his percentage of targets, which indicates Bowe is at least helping his QB in some manner beyond just pitch and catch.

Comparable Players

Most likely Bowe has two players in mind when looking for a new deal- Vincent Jackson and DeSean Jackson, who both signed new contracts in 2012. I also want to look at the performance of two older players, Brandon Marshall and Andre Johnson, who both signed new contracts back in 2010. The table below compares the 3 year averages of each player prior to their extension:

Dwayne Bowe








Vincent Jackson








DeSean Jackson








Brandon Marshall








Andre Johnson








The one thing that really stands out to me is how bad of a deal Andre Johnson received. While I haven’t touched on APY or anything else lets just say that Johnson is the lowest of the group despite the fact that there is no comparison in performance. I’d say part of that is the changing marketplace except Marshall signed a contract in the same year Johnson received his token two year extension that I factored in here. Johnson fell victim of signing a new contract too early in his career for too many years which severely limited his negotiating leverage. To say that his decision in 2007 to sign what was effectively an 8 year contract cost him millions and millions of dollars may be the understatement of the year. It is a lesson to be learned when signing a deal and I believe Johnson repped himself at the time.

Outside of Johnson, Bowe compares favorably to the group. Marshall’s numbers were grossly inflated by being the focal point of an offense that saw a ton of passes come his way. He is a different receiver than the others here who are more big play threats while Marshall was really a possession guy that didn’t have great hands which may be why the Dolphins were more than happy to send him to Chicago this past season.

Jackson is clearly the home run hitter of the group with the ultra high YPR but low receptions and catch rates. What is surprising is that despite the big yardage numbers his touchdowns were low. That likely paints a picture of a player that is not very useful once inside a certain zone on the field where his speed becomes less of a factor. Jackson was more unique in that he could be the home run threat but is also terrific deep inside the opponents territory where he put up great touchdown numbers on a per game basis.

Market Value

All of that being said about the negatives of D. Jackson his numbers are close enough to where he should have earned a similar contract to V. Jackson, but there is a large discrepancy between the two. Here is the pertinent breakdown of the two players deals:

APYGuarantee% Guar3 Year Pay
V. Jackson





D. Jackson





There has to be some type of reasoning beyond how V. Jackson did such a great job in earning his contract compared to D. Jackson who did not really get a push the market type of value from the Eagles. This is important for Bowe’s negotiations because his numbers track nearly identical over a 3 year period as his peers. You can bet that there are teams that are going to look at DeSean’s deal and say that is Bowe’s market value while Bowe’s team is going to want to push the value beyond Vincent’s deal.

To try to get an idea I want to again look at their performance in the context of the overall WR performance on the teams the players played for. These are 3 year averages for D. Jackson and Bowe but only 2 year averages for V. Jackson since he held out all but 5 games of the 2010 season. The numbers are adjusted for games missed to not inflate the performance of the others on the team when the player in question was injured.

Bowe vs Jackson vs Jackson

When we look at the numbers in this context we get a better idea of why the discrepancy in salary exists between the Jacksons. In terms of team value you can not compare the two players. DeSean was pretty much part of a team that spread the ball around. He wasn’t a player that was demanding the ball based on his play or overall superiority to everyone else on the field. As you look at the numbers Vincent comes across as a true number 1 target while DeSean is more of a 1A or high level 2. Financially you can’t compensate the players the same way.

Now we can see how favorably Bowe compares to Jackson. Bowe was a more valuable player to the Chiefs than Jackson was to the Chargers and perhaps that is why the Chiefs are rumored to now want to keep him in the fold. I think the most striking stat is the interception rate which pointed to Jackson seeing a lot of passes attempted for him getting picked off compared to Bowe. These numbers tell me that Bowe is a clear number 1 and was doing some pretty impressive things in Kansas City with almost no talent around him.

Another reason why I like these numbers is because they held up for Jackson in Tampa Bay. Most will say he had a far better year in Tampa than in San Diego, but in terms of being a cog in the wheel he was the same in both spots with the exception of Touchdowns and Interceptions which both declined.

Vincent Jackson Tampa vs San Diego Stats

These are great selling points for Bowe because he compares favorably to Jackson and now I have some numbers to say that the same effect from Bowe is going to translate to a new team or within a new system on his current team. While that doesn’t mean it will happen I can argue effectively that it will. Based on the comparative performance I am going to push and say on average Bowe is worth about 9.5% more than Jackson, which is pretty much the upper bound of his deal. That would equate to a deal worth a little below $12.2 million a year.

Now I don’t think that will happen. Based on the same analysis Vincent was about 33% more valuable than DeSean but overall his deal ended up 14.5% higher in APY. Using the same adjustment Bowe should earn a realistic deal worth 4.2% more than Jackson, equating to about $11.58 million a season.

Now in terms of structure I think V. Jacksons deal was unique because he received no signing bonus money, which is really an added layer of protection for that third and fourth year salary of the contract. I think that is one of the reasons why his guarantee was so high. In a sense Jackson rolled the dice because at any point after year two he could be cut with no penalty. That said he played so well that the Buccaneers prorated his 2013 salary a year early thus giving him the best of the both worlds. He now has proration protection plus the incredible guarantee. While I think the Bucs decision to do that with Jackson helps Bowes case for a high guarantee I don’t think he will actually earn as high a guarantee as Jackson because he will get signing bonus protection up front. In terms of three year pay I would expect him to pass Jackson. V. Jackson earns 65% of his contract within 3 years. D. Jackson earns 59% in the first 3 years.

The Final Verdict

If you made it this far Im pretty impressed! Summing it all up we get 5 years, $57.9 million, $38 million in the first three years, $20.3 million fully guaranteed upon signing. Not a bad chunk of change for a young WR that some team is going to try to build their passing game around. Whether he earns this or not remains to be seen but it is a fair value based on his relative worth to similar players within the current market.