Dallas Cowboys- Tyrone Crawford, 5 years $45M, $17.4M guaranteed
I generally like when teams try to get contracts done early, but the reason I like that is because you can often get better terms. That wasn’t the case here when the Cowboys paid Crawford well above what even the free agent market would have given. Dallas often looks at the glass half full with their players so I’m sure they thought they were getting a bargain and he would develop into a $15 million pass rusher, but there was no reason to think that at the time and even less reason to think it now. Statistically Crawford tracked with the group of players in the $5 million range when they did this deal (he still does) and even two years later players better than him at the same position have struggled to reach his numbers which included $30 million over the first three years and a $10 million signing bonus.
New York Giants- Rhett Ellison, 4 years $18M, $8M guaranteed
The Giants have a tendency to do some odd contracts with specialists types that don’t really have much of a comparable (see Dwayne Harris) and this fits right in there. Ellison will be a bit of a jack of all trades for the Giants. He’ll be a safety outlet in the passing game every now and then. He’ll help block on the line. He’ll probably line up as fullback on short yardage situations. But is that really worth $4.5 million a year with $8 million guaranteed? As a receiver he has never had more than 19 receptions in a year yet he has a guarantee on par with those who are at least some factor in the passing game and double those who aren’t. He also received a $5 million signing bonus, highest among any veteran making up to $6.3 million a year and 14th overall among tight ends.
Philadelphia Eagles- Vinny Curry, 5 years, $46.3M, $18M guaranteed
When Chip Kelly got bounced from Philadelphia the team went on a spending spree locking up their own talent to very lucrative contracts, in many ways saying that any lack of performance was due to the coaching staff. This contract was inexplicable unless the Eagles thought they were going to start a trend in the market of grossly overpaying part time talent and somehow reap the benefit of that down the line. In Curry’s contract year he played in just over 35% of the team snaps and had 3.5 sacks. After signing the new deal he still barely passed 40% playtime and finished the year with 2.5 sacks. Curry is currently the 6th highest paid defensive end and one of the worst values in football on a per snap basis.
Washington Redskins- Vernon Davis, 3 years, $15.5M, $7.5M guaranteed
The Redskins had a really bad offseason and you could make an argument for a few deals they signed to be here, but this one left me scratching my head. Davis is an older player whose most productive years came in 2013. Davis was already given up on by the 49ers and Broncos and hadn’t earned $5 million in a given year since 2014. I can’t see what market would have existed to get Davis over $5 million a year on a new contract and a guarantee that extends into the second year of his contract. What made this stranger is that the team already committed over $9 million a year to Jordan Reed and if Reed is healthy (always a big if) Davis won’t even come close to being able to justify his salary. Even with Reed hurt its doubtful Davis will be worth this contract and that was money that could have been spent elsewhere like on a long term contract for their quarterback.
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.