Houston Texans- Jeff Allen, 4 years $28M, $12M guaranteed
I went back and forth with this one between Allen and Kareem Jackson, but opted for Allen since his was one of the first more questionable contracts at guard. Allen had missed 19 games in the two years prior to signing a contract with the Texans and only started 8 games in his final year in Kansas City It should have come as no surprise when he missed two games and was not the guy they thought he would be. The first year salary, at $10 million, is high for the APY and given his history I would have liked to have seen no signing bonus and just two year P5 guarantees. I think the odds were against him seeing year 3 from day 1 and I’d prefer no reminder on the cap if he had to be cut. They do have some money allocated to per game bonuses, which was smart, buts it’s just hard to see where they came up with the value here other than putting too much stock is his being a 2nd round draft pick.
Indianapolis Colts- Jabaal Sheard, 3 years $25.5M, $9.5M guaranteed
The trade of Dwayne Allen made me lose an easy lay up since it’s the worst contract in the NFL. The Colts purged themselves of some of the terrible deals in recent years- Allen and Arthur Jones among the worst in the entire league- so they don’t have a lot to choose from here. I opted for Sheard because I thought that made more of a market jump than necessary over the second tier pass rushers like Pernell McPhee, Brian Orakpo, Lamarr Houston, etc…when they signed him. They also guaranteed him nearly $13 million for injury along with his $9.5 million full guarantee despite the fact that this is only a three year contract, which essentially gives him the best of both worlds; he gets the same guarantee as players who signed 4 and 5 year deals but will get free agency after just 3 years if he does well. That’s not a great reward for an organization who will pay him between $2 and 4 million more over the first three years of his contract than any other comp at the position.
Jacksonville Jaguars- Chris Ivory, 4 years, $32M, $10M guaranteed
The Jaguars are a minefield of bad contracts but none, not even the recent Brandon Linder deal, made less sense in my mind than the contract for Ivory. Ivory had almost every box checked off for why you would not want to sign him. Older than 28? Check. Doesn’t play receiver? Check. Often banged up? Check. Career high in carries the prior year? Check. Somehow the Jaguars saw fit to make him, at the time, the fifth highest paid running back in the NFL. They got nothing right with this one. His $5M signing bonus is the highest veteran bonus other than Devonta Freeman and LeSean McCoy. His per game bonuses were of the 53 man variety rather than 46. Ivory looked completely broken down last year and they already drafted a player to replace him just one season into the contract. Not good at all.
Tennessee Titans- Logan Ryan, 3 years, $30M, $12M guaranteed
The Titans don’t get involved with big contracts and in the past used to do a pretty bad job on the smaller ones but those days are more or less over. My choice of Ryan is similar to the same reason I went with Sheard for the Colts. The team is overvaluing a decent but not great player and has also taken almost all the upside out of the contract by going to 3 years and still paying more over three seasons than other teams are on 4 or 5 year contracts with similar players. The Titans did do a better job with the injury guaranteed portion of the contract reflecting the years of the deal than the Colts with Sheard, but it was surprising to see Ryan land a $10M a year deal and even more stunning that it came from the Titans. If history is any indication their investing $10M in Ryan means their internal expectations have to be through the roof to go that high.
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.