Contract Year Series, Jared Allen

Jared Allen #69 DE, Minnesota Vikings



Johnny Manziel should take some pointers about alcohol consumption from Jared Allen. Allen’s two DUIs in 2007 nearly derailed his eventual Hall of Fame career. Although the Kansas City Chiefs truly wanted to offer a contract extension commensurate with his talent, the team had to take into account that off the field, Allen was spiraling out of control. The Chiefs eventually used the highest RFA tender to retain him for the 2007 season.

After serving a league mandated two game suspension-reduced from four- Allen went on an absolute tear, recording 15.5 sacks in only 14 games. Chiefs GM at the time was Carl Peterson who vowed “We will not lose Jared Allen”. Instead of offering a long term contract to their reformed superstar, the Chiefs decided to play hardball and slapped the Franchise Tag on him. Obviously Allen did not take kindly to this and demanded a trade out of Kansas City which was granted. On April 23, 2008 Allen was traded to the Minnesota Vikings and received a then record-breaking (for a defensive player) 6 year, $73.5 million contract.

This bring us to today. Allen has honored not only his contract but also staying away from drinking. Over the past six years he has built upon his Hall of Fame resume. At 31 years old, my assumption is he will be awarded an extension by the Vikings commensurate to the one Cameron Wake signed lasted year.

Estimated New Contract: Minnesota Vikings extention 5 years, $38 million

Best & Worst Contracts: The Minnesota Vikings


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.

John SullivanBest Contract: John Sullivan

Though he does not have the name recognition of Nick Mangold of the Jets or Ryan Kalil of the Panthers, Sullivan is every bit as good if not better than the biggest name Centers in the NFL. Sullivan is one of the terrific run blockers that helps Adrian Peterson be one of the few Running Back’s in the NFL that actually can carry a team with a subpar passing offense. On top of that when you play with an inconsistent QB like Christian Ponder it puts even greater pressure on the Center to get the line prepared for what may lie ahead.

The Vikings wisely locked Sullivan up in 2011 when he still had one season remaining on his rookie contract rather than allowing him to test free agency in 2012. The Center market had become somewhat overpaid with the emergence of Mangold and Kalil following the wild $37.5 million dollar contract the Rams gave Jason Brown in 2009.  Despite the top end prices the Vikings were able to lock Sullivan up at $4.9 million a season, around a 40% discount from the top of the market. The Vikings decision would look even better in light of more expensive contracts given to Chris Myers and Max Unger, both very good players, which may have represented what the market would have been for Sullivan had he hit free agency.

The money saved on Sullivan has allowed the Vikings to overpay to retain the services of Peterson, one of the most important players in the NFL last season. Sullivan’s cap hits will never crack top 5 in a single season and for the next two years he will be outside the top 10. The Vikings cost to cut in 2015, when he will be 30, is only $1 million and the 2016 season contains no dead money. That makes those two years very easy extension years to keep him at a bargain price as he makes the turn past 30 and into the final phase of his career.

John CarlsonWorst Contract: John Carlson

For a bit I considered LB Chad Greenway for the worst deal simply because he falls into that category where he is a decent player but paid to be a difference maker, which he is not. But Greenway has a pulse and is around the football enough to have been awarded a trip to the Pro Bowl last year. Carlson, on the other hand, didn’t even produce 10 receptions.

There was no reason for the Vikings to sign Carlson to the type of contract they signed him to in 2012. Carlson had two years of declining performance and importance in Seattle, before missing the entire 2011 season with a shoulder injury.  The Seahawks had already decided before the injury that he was not going to be there for the long term and felt a better option was necessary. Somehow the Vikings convinced themselves that he was worth a 5 year contract for $25 million with $9.1 million in guarantees. The decision looks even worse in light of Dustin Keller having to settle for a one year $4.25 million dollar contract this year following a season of injury and Anthony Fasano only grabbing $4 million a year and just a touch more in guarantees on a four year deal.  At worst one could argue those players are equivalent to Carlson.

Carlson dealt with injury again in 2012 and, when he played, was completely ineffective in an offense desperate for help in the passing game.  43 yards is about as bad as it gets for a player earning what he earned. Because the Vikings sunk a $5 million dollar signing bonus into Carlson in 2012, his dead money in 2013 was going to be $4 million which made releasing him a tough pill to swallow. The best they could do was reduce his salary by $1.45 million and roll that into an incentive that he can earn by performing better than last season. If released next season Carlson will still count $3 million against the salary cap.

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 TexansIndianapolis ColtsJacksonville JaguarsTennessee Titans

AFC West: Denver BroncosKansas City ChiefsOakland RaidersSan Diego Chargers

NFC East: Dallas CowboysNew York GiantsPhiladelphia EaglesWashington Redskins

NFC North: Chicago BearsDetroit LionsGreen Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons (July 22)



Steve Hutchinson: Career Cap Hits and the “Poison Pill” Contract


A little while ago, Jay Glazer reported that Steve Hutchinson of the Tennessee Titans will announce his retirement tomorrow. Hutchinson was a seven-time All Pro guard and seven-time Pro Bowler among his time with the Seahawks and Vikings, and played the final year of his stellar career last season in Tennessee. Of course, what many fans will remember Hutchinson for is the famous “Poison Pill” contract that Minnesota used to lure him away from Seattle.

The poison pill contract worked essentially like this. After the 2005 season, Hutchinson was an unrestricted free agent but was slapped with the transition tag by the Seahawks which gave the team the right of first refusal on any offer sheet Hutchinson may sign. The Vikings subsequently signed Hutchinson to an offer sheet for seven years and $49 million. The controversial part, however, was a provision included in the offer sheet that stated Hutchinson’s entire salary over the life of the contract would be guaranteed if he was not the highest paid offensive lineman on the team. In a normal scenario, this likely wouldn’t be a tough issue for a team to handle when the player is one of Steve Hutchinson’s caliber. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, this was not a normal scenario. In the previous offseason, Seattle had resigned Walter Jones, one of the greatest left tackles of all-time, to a contract that would pay him more than what the Vikings offered Hutchinson. Thus, if the Seahawks had matched the Vikings’ offer sheet, the poison pill would have automatically kicked in from the very beginning and Hutchinson’s entire seven-year deal would be guaranteed. This would have given Seattle incredible salary cap issues as two extremely high-paid offensive lineman would be on the roster, one of which would have every dollar guaranteed. The Seahawks obviously did not match this deal, but gained a bit of retribution against Minnesota by signing Vikings receiver Nate Burleson to a similarly structured poison pill contract that same offseason.

I wasn’t going to get into the famous poison pill contract in Hutchinson’s career, but seeing as this is a site designed to explain contract and salary cap issues, once I started I figured it was a necessity. The original reason I started writing this post was to recap Hutchinson’s career cap hits. Usually when a player retires, an article here and there will recap how much money that player has made over the course of his career. When an NFL player retires, it’s a little more fun not to look at how much total money they pulled in, but instead to see just what that player’s cap hits were every year. As such, as best as I could find, here are Hutchinson’s cap hits over the course of his amazing career:

Seattle Seahawks

2001: $1.2 million

2002: $1.310 million

2003: $1.399 million

2004: $1.465 million

2005: $3.510 million

Minnesota Vikings

2006: $13.335 million

2007: $7.135 million

2008: $6.5 million

2009: $7.5 million

2010: $8.6 million

2011: $6.730 million

Tennessee Titans

2012: $3.5 million

2013 (if he didn’t retire): $6.75 million (Titans save $3.75 million against cap this year).

Over 12 seasons, Hutchinson’s cap hits totaled $62.184 million. This averages out to a charge of $5.182 million per year. Not bad for a potential Hall of Famer.