Stock Down: Week 12


Every Monday during the season we will take a look back at three players who are entering important stages of their contract that may have hurt their stock in upcoming negotiations with their play on Sunday. In addition we will also look at one player signed in the offseason to a new contract that did not live up to the expectations that his contract sets for the player.

Stock Down

Ike Taylor– The 33 year old corner was torched by Browns receiver Josh Gordon to the tune of 169 yards on 11 targets according to Pro Football Focus. Though the Steelers playoff hopes remain alive it does not change their salary cap situation in 2014 and Taylor with an $11.9 million dollar cap charge is likely on his way out the door. I believe the Steelers would be interested in keeping him at a lower cost but its games like this that have to make them worry about matching him up against some of the young talented wideouts that have made their way into the AFC North.

Ben Tate– Injury or no injury, Tate’s stock has plummeted. 7 carries for 1 yard against the Jaguars?  Maybe the Texans have given up on the year but Tate can not afford to do the same in a contract season. Case Keenum is not the answer at QB but  teams rumored to be looking at Tate were likely thinking that he would help alleviate pressure on a below average QB. A few weeks ago Tate criticized Texans fans for not giving the Texans the support they deserve. For the last few weeks Tate’s failed to give the fans the production they expected to see.

Santonio Holmes– Holmes had one of those “who cares” games on Sunday where he seemed to be going through the motions seeing the writing on the wall for his team. Holmes had two drops and just one reception for the beleaguered Jets. Though not entirely his fault, Holmes has only caught 38% of his targets this season which is brutal, even for the Jets. The next worst receiver on the team is Stephen Hill with a 49% catch rate. If you take away his huge game against the Bills he is  averaging a 32% catch rate with 1,6 receptions and 34.4 yards per game. He’s guaranteed to be cut this year due to his cap figure and was hoping to cash in elsewhere. Between injuries, lack of effectiveness, and general perceptions about his attitude that pool of teams will be rapidly shrinking as will any offers for him.

New Contract Disappointment Of The Week

Sebastian Janikowski– In our best and worst contract series I had pegged Janikowski as the worst contract on the Raiders and that was before they inexplicably signed him to another extension in the offseason. Janikowski carries a $4.9 million base cap charge this season and over $3 million next year. The Raiders continue to make him the highest paid kicker in the NFL despite the fact that  there is no metric in the world that would rank him as the best kicker or anywhere close to it. The only thing he has going for him is that Oakland is confident in letting him try from long range knowing it will reach the goalpost. Yesterday he missed a 32 and a 48 yard field goal which proved to be the Raiders undoing in a game where they could have taken control of the Wildcard lead. Janikowski seemed to blame his holder. He now has 4 misses inside 50 yards this year. 



Best & Worst Contracts: The Oakland Raiders


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.

Charles WoodsonBest Contract: Charles Woodson

The Raiders don’t really have any good contracts on their team. There is really no long term anything in place outside of the rookies who don’t qualify for best consideration unless something out of the ordinary was done with their contract. Really it is a series of one year, low cost, band-aid type deals that make up a majority of the Raiders team.  If there was one I had to go with I’d select Charles Woodson.

Why Woodson?  In fairness it seemed very few teams were interested and the Raiders certainly did not get him for the minimum (it’s a base value of $1.8 million and the potential to increase by $2.5 million more), but the Raiders needed a player like Woodson and they were creative enough to work a deal to get him on the team this season when their salary cap nightmare is still ongoing due to the near $50 million in dead money on the books in 2013.

Whether Woodson can or can not play at a high level is immaterial as the Raiders are not likely going anywhere. But Woodson brings a professionalism to the organization that has been lacking for close to a decade. Woodson was around Oakland for the last hurrah and when things really started to get bad with Bill Callahan and Norv Turner as head coach. Woodson ended up in Green Bay, one of the best organizations in the NFL, was selected to four more Pro Bowls and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Coaches can only show players so much. They need other players to carry out a vision and get others to follow their lead. It’s why Ray Lewis was so important to the Ravens even as he declined as a player. It’s why great coaches often have “their guys” on a team that keep everyone else in check and with the program. The Raiders have not had any leadership on or off the field since 2003 and are desperate need of it if they intend to win in the future. Woodson can be that player that helps them sort things out and teach young guys how it should be done, rather than how it has been done in Oakland.

The Raiders likely would not have been able to fit Woodson under their salary cap if all things were equal between Oakland and Denver. But the Raiders came up with a little contract structure that gave Woodson some reasonable incentives that would not count against the cap this season.  Most likely he will earn at least another $1.1 million if healthy but it will not really impact the cap until 2014 at which point Oakland has so much cap space the loss of $1 million means almost nothing if Woodson can help the team grow and lay the foundation for years to come.

Sebastian JanikowskiWorst Contract: Sebastian Janikowski

The Raiders finally purged themselves of all the old bad contracts, but the one that remains is the incredible $16 million dollar contract that the Raiders awarded Janikowski in 2009. At the time it was the largest ever contract for a Kicker, and not surprisingly remains on the books as the largest deal in history.

Oakland guaranteed Janikowski $7.7 million dollars, 48% of his contract. That is nearly $3.5 million more in guarantees than any player at the position and 10% higher in percent of contract guaranteed than Adam Vinatieri, the next closest long term contract.  The $16 million doesn’t even include the fact that the Raiders gave Janikowski the potential to earn even more through yearly incentives based on items like touchbacks. If he was to max out his incentives he earned an additional $200,000 per year.

The craziness with Janikowski began years ago when he was drafted in the first round of the 2000 draft, a move that typified how out of touch Raiders owner Al Davis was with the rest of the NFL. Janikowski made 1 Pro Bowl in his career and certainly has a big leg, but he was never any more certain than any other player in the NFL, the leg just afforded him more opportunities.

For a team as bad as the Raiders to spend, and keep spending, this type of money on a kicker is really unthinkable. It’s not as if there are clutch situations where they need a player like that, even if he was the best in the NFL, which he is not despite the salary. His $4 million dollar a year average ranks 4th on Oakland and his $5.1 million dollar cap hit ranks 2nd in 2013. Maybe it’s a testament to Davis’ memory that he is still here, but there is no football reason at all for Janikowski to still be on the Raiders, let alone at that salary.

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 Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers (July 11)