Our second edition of Likely Extensions focuses on the Wide Receivers. Truth be told, the list of expiring receiver contracts for 2013 isn’t anything to write home about, so most of these players will be signed through 2014. In a cap-crunched league now, teams who need space will “restructure” current deals into extensions in order to save space now. For some of these receivers, that’s exactly what will happen. NOTE: Under the terms of the new CBA, players in a rookie contract cannot be restructured/extended until after their third full year.
Signed to a 1st-round tender for 2013 ($2.879M), and the recent long-term deal for Mike Wallace (MIA), Cruz has become the hot commodity in a thin WR market currently. The speedy wideout has 2,700 yards and 19 TDs in his past two seasons with the Giants, and can become a #1 weapon on just about any roster in the league.
After mediocre exposure for above-average production in his short time with the Dolphins, Marshall has once again soared to the top of the receiver charts reunited with QB Jay Cutler in Chicago. His 5 year $44.7M deal is set to expire after the 2014 season, when he turns 31 years old. Cutler himself is entering the final year of his deal with the Bears, and many think the extension of Cutler and Marshall will happen fairly close together, as the two have proven long-term success together.
He’ll be the top veteran wide receiver available in the 2014 free agent market if he gets that far
The Falcons went all in at the 2011 draft to trade up and select Jones, and he hasn’t disappointed. The tall, strong, speedy receiver has had back to back elite years to start his career, and should continue to succeed in in Atlanta’s smart, veteran offense. His 4 year $16M rookie contract expires in 2014, the same year fellow receiver Roddy White’s 6 year $42M deal ends. White will be 33 at the close of his contract, an age that probably won’t warrant another long-term deal from Atlanta.
While cap hits of $4.4M and $5.1M for Jones in the next two years aren’t alarming, he’ll be vastly underpaid for his performance thus far. It will make good business sense for all parties to extend the young wideout and spread money long-term to keep his cap reasonable through his prime years. Per the CBA, he’ll have to p lay out 2013 before talking extension, but it’s safe to assume it’s coming.
Not unlike Victor Cruz, Green has come out of the gate shining in his early years. The Bengals wideout has garnered 2,400 yards and 18 TDs in the first two seasons of his 4 year $19.6M deal. With cap figures of $5.3M and $6.2M in the next two seasons, and no other major team receiver expenditures, the time to extend Green in Cincinnati will be sooner than later.
The 2014 free agent market is full of young receivers who will be due large paychecks, and the Bengals have taken major strides in building a winning franchise around their youth. So it’s most likely that Green and the Bengals find a happy medium to keep him happy and in town. Like Jones, the CBA prohibits Green from an extension until after the 2013 season, but barring serious injury, it wont take long after.
A slow start to his career has been followed up with electric seasons in Dallas for Dez Bryant. The embattled wideout has two years remaining on his 5 year $11.8M rookie contract, and low cap figures of $2.9M and $3.1M the next two seasons.
He’ll earn just $5.3M in cash over those two seasons though – a figure that will probably spark some discussions from his agent and the Cowboys. A strong 2013 campaign will most certainly place Bryant in financial company with A.J. Green and Julio Jones.