Possible Trade QB Candidates for the Rams

August 25th, 2014

USATSI_7476869_160074578_lowresWith franchise quarterback Sam Bradford headed to the injured reserve list for the second straight year, the focus has turned to “other options” in St. Louis. The Rams currently boast perennial backup Shaun Hill, and a 3rd year player in Austin Davis on their depth chart, and rumors have swirled about the possibility that they look elsewhere to improve the position for the upcoming season.

We’ll take a look at some of these candidates, and outline the financial impact to both teams should a deal be made.


Mark Sanchez | PHI | Traded Cap Hit: $1,500,000

Sanchez signed a 1 year $2.25 million contract with the Eagles just six days after he was released by the New York Jets. The deal included a $750,000 signing bonus that would remain on the Eagles 2014 salary cap. His $1.5M base salary would transfer to the Rams, $750,000 of which is fully guaranteed. The deal also contains $1.75M in playing time incentives that were not likely to be earned in Philadelphia, but might be achieved as the starting quarterback in St. Louis. Sanchez would carry a week one cap of $1.5M in St. Louis, leaving a $750,000 cap with the Eagles.


Ryan Mallett | NE | Traded Cap Hit: $776,976

Tom Brady’s backup is entering the final year of his rookie deal in New England and has been amidst trade rumors for the better part of the 2014 offseason. He’s struggled early on in the preseason, but could benefit from a change of scenery and a legitimate chance to win a starting job. Trading him would leave behind a $160,969 in dead hit to the Pats 2014 salary cap, carrying through his non-guaranteed $776,976 base salary to St. Louis.


Chase Daniel | KC | Traded Cap Hit: $2,350,000

With Alex Smith’s contract situation still up in the air, Daniel may be sitting in a nice spot as the backup in Kansas City. But with Tyler Bray, and newly drafted Aaron Murray in line behind him – a move to a less clouded depth chart may be in the cards for Daniel, who signed a 3 year $10 million contract in 2013. He would carry cap hits of $2,350,000 in 2014 and $3,800,000 along with him, leaving dead cap of $1,050,000 in 2014, and $1,000,000 in 2015 with the Chiefs. It should be noted that Daniel’s contract has an automatic void after any season in which he throws for 2,000+ yards and 12+ touchdowns.


Christian Ponder | MIN | Trade Cap Hit: $1,760,277

Ponder has fallen out of grace quickly in Minnesota, now the clear #3 on the depth chart behind Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater. The 2014 season is the final of his rookie contract, currently counting $3,232,313 against the Vikings cap. A trade would leave $1,472,036 with Minnesota, carrying a fully guaranteed $1,760,277 base salary through to the Rams.


Ryan Lindley | ARI | Traded Cap Hit: $570,000

It might be a long shot to assume the Cardinals would trade a QB within their division, but Lindley doesn’t appear to have a role in Arizona going forward. Entering year three of his rookie contract, the former 6th round selection from 2012 carries $52,654 in dead cap that would split $26,327 over 2014 and 2015 on the Cardinals’ cap. Lindley would carry over base salaries of $570,000 in 2014, and $660,000 in 2015, neither guaranteed.


Jake Locker | TEN | Traded Cap Hit: $2,091,273

Set to enter the seasons as the starting quarterback in Tennessee, it’s long been rumored that he’s simply “not the guy” for the Titans going forward. This would certainly be the most surprising of the noted moves, but it might be the best for both sides, as Tennessee can demand a fairly strong package from St. Louis in this deal. Locker is entering the final year of his rookie contract that currently carries a $4,004,637 cap. His $1,913,364 pro-rated signing bonus would remain with the Titans, while his fully-guaranteed $2,091,273 base salary would follow him to St. Louis.


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2014-15 NFL Fine Chart

August 24th, 2014

The NFL handed out over $3 million in on the field fines in the 2013 season. They’ve recently released their official infraction list for the 2014 season, which includes fine types, the cost for a first offense, and the cost for a second offense. All money collected through the fines are donating through the NFL foundation, which helps to assist former NFL players. Note: All fines listed are the minimum amount the NFL can collect for each infraction. Each incident is subject to a review by the league.

Related: Track all NFL Fines & Suspensions

Violation First Offense Second Offense
Fighting $27,562 $55,125
Spearing $22,050 $44,100
Impermissible use of the helmet $22,050 $44,100
Hit on defenseless player $22,050 $44,100
Blindsided block $22,050 $44,100
Horse collar tackle $16,637 $33,075
Leg whip $16,637 $33,075
Roughing the passer $16,637 $33,075
Excessive profanity; unsportsmanlike conduct $11,025 $22,020
Striking/Kicking/Kneeing $8,268 $15,539
Face Mask $8,268 $15,539
Late Hit $8,268 $15,539
Low Block $8,268 $15,539
Chop Block $8,268 $15,539
Taunting $8,268 $15,539
Unnecessarily entering fight area (active involvement) $5,512 $11,025
Football into stands $5,512 $11,025
Unnecessarily entering fight area (no active involvement) $2,756 $8,268

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Projected 2014 QB Financial Depth Charts

August 23rd, 2014

USATSI_8012815_160074578_lowresEli Manning (NYG) carries the highest cap of any NFL QB for the 2nd straight year.As teams begin to finalize rosters for the upcoming 2014 season, many are already naming their starting quarterbacks for the opening week. We’ll take a quick look at the projected starting and backup quarterbacks across the league, and the coinciding salary cap figures for each.

Notable Notes

Starting QBs have an average cap hit of $9,775,673 in 2014. While backup QBs carry an average cap of just $1,594,576. Teams are carrying an average of $8,181,097 in difference between their starter and backup.

For the second straight year, Eli Manning (NYG) holds the top cap hit of any NFL quarterback. His $20.4M cap figure is $19.6M more than the Nick Foles’ $770,880 cap hit, the lowest of any starting quarterback. In terms of cash, Jay Cutler (CHI) takes in $22.5M this season with his newly-signed extension. Geno Smith (NYJ) will earn the least amount of cash as a starting QB this season at “just” $633,164.

Matt Moore (MIA) is the league’s highest cap-allocated backup quarterback at $5.5M. Case Keenum (HOU) is currently the backup QB with the lowest cap figure at just $495,000. In terms of cash, Blake Bortles (JAC) leads all backups, reeling in $13,761,680 in 2014.

5 teams have backup QBs with higher cap hits than their starters: Cleveland, Seattle, Philadelphia, Miami, and the New York Jets. Of the, the Jets have the biggest gap with Michael Vick accounting for $2.85M more than starter Geno Smith.

2014 Cap
2014 Cap
GBAaron Rodgers$17,550,000Matt Flynn$1,068,125
CARCam Newton$7,008,113Derek Anderson$1,100,000
SDPhilip Rivers$16,666,666Kellen Clemens$1,177,500
MINMatt Cassel$5,750,000Teddy Bridgewater$1,245,364
SEARussell Wilson$817,302Tarvaris Jackson$1,250,000
CLEBrian Hoyer$1,250,000Johnny Manziel$1,499,745
CINAndy Dalton$8,959,036Jason Campbell$1,500,000
TENJake Locker$4,004,637Charlie Whitehurst$1,500,000
STLShaun Hill$1,750,000Austin Davis$570,000
PITBen Roethlisberger$18,895,000Bruce Gradkowski$1,833,333
SFColin Kaepernick$3,767,444Blaine Gabbert$2,011,587
PHINick Foles$770,880Mark Sanchez$2,250,000
ARICarson Palmer$12,000,000Drew Stanton$2,666,667
KCAlex Smith$8,000,000Chase Daniel$3,400,000
INDAndrew Luck$6,029,454Matt Hasselbeck$3,750,000
JACChad Henne$5,750,000Blake Bortles$3,755,420
NYJGeno Smith$1,140,819Michael Vick$4,000,000
MIARyan Tannehill$3,455,046Matt Moore$5,500,000
HOURyan Fitzpatrick$3,375,000Case Keenum$495,000
DALTony Romo$11,773,000Brandon Weeden$570,000
CHIJay Cutler$18,500,000Jordan Palmer$570,000
NYGEli Manning$20,400,000Curtis Painter$635,000
NODrew Brees$18,400,000Luke McCown$635,000
DETMatthew Stafford$15,820,000Dan Orlovsky$635,000
ATLMatt Ryan$17,500,000T.J. Yates$645,000
BUFE.J. Manuel$2,019,386Thaddeus Lewis$645,000
BALJoe Flacco$14,800,000Tyrod Taylor$671,327
WASRobert Griffin III$5,759,754Kirk Cousins$688,172
TBJosh McCown$4,750,000Mike Glennon$705,469
NETom Brady$14,800,000Ryan Mallett$937,945
DENPeyton Manning$17,500,000Brock Osweiler$959,096
OAKMatt Schaub$8,000,000Derek Carr$976,691


*All depth chart projections provided by Ourlads.com

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The Top Paid ThirtySomething Athletes

August 20th, 2014

As youth infuses the major american sports leagues, bringing inexpensive production to the table, it’s becoming less and less likely that athletes will have long careers in their respective sport. We’ll take a look at three players from each league who have had careers into their 30s – some with the same team, and track their earnings to date.


Top-Paid NFL Players


Peyton Manning | Age: 38 | Career Earnings: $242,732,000

The 13 time Pro Bowler, and 5 time MVP has averaged $15.17M per year since 1998, and has earned nearly $98M in cash over the past 3 seasons. Signed through 2016 in Denver, he’s still got $54M left to be earned on his 5 year $96M contract.


Tom Brady | Age: 37 | Career Earnings: $150,779,500

The former 6th round pick has earned nearly $11M per year for 13 seasons as the Patriots’ quarterback. The $33M in cash Brady earned in 2013 was 2nd only to Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers ($40M), and his current deal through 2017 has $28M remaining (just $2M guaranteed though).


Drew Brees | Age: 35 | Career Earnings: $120,455,000

The 8-time Pro Bowler and 2009 Super Bowl MVP has brought in over $120M through 13 seasons with the Chargers & Saints. He signed a 5 year $100M contract in 2012 that keeps him in New Orleans through 2016, and has $50M left to earn on the deal.


Related: Top Paid NFL PLayers in 2014


Top-Paid NBA Players


Kevin Garnett | Age: 38 | Career Earnings: $314,908,542

After 19 seasons with the T-Wolves, Celtics, and Nets Garnett is currently debating his return for a 20th NBA season. He’s earned an average of $15.9M per year since 1995, and is currently the active earnings leader in the league.


Kobe Bryant | Age: 35 | Career Earnings: $274,812,307

He’s been reeling in major awards since being a McDonald’s All-American in 1996. 18 years later the lifetime Laker has averaged $15.2M in annual earnings, including $147.5M cash since 2008. His latest 2 year $48.5M contract raised plenty of eyebrows, handing the 35 year old (coming off a majory injury) with salaries of $23.5M, and $25M over the next two seasons.


Tim Duncan | Age: 38 | Career Earnings: $220,019,604

14 All-Star Games, 5 Championships and 17 seasons later, Duncan has consistently accepted less than the top dollar to remain a Spur for life – and keep them competitive. He’s still earned an average of $13.5M per year over his career to date, and has a $10.3M salary for the upcoming season – presumably his last.

Related: Top Paid NBA PLayers in 2014-15


Top-Paid MLB Players


Alex Rodriguez | Age: 39 | Career Earnings: $445,963,699

Clearly without controversy, A-Rod has amassed an amazing amount of money from his 19(ish) MLB seasons to date. He’s averaging $23.4M per year since 1994, and has $61M remaining on his $275M contract with the Yankees through 2017.


Carlos Beltran | Age: 37 | Career Earnings: $189,729,007

Still reaping the benefits from his $119M contract with the Mets, Beltran has maintained a consistently productive career for 15+ MLB seasons. He’ll earn another $12.5M in buyout money from the Mets through 2018, and another $30M from the Yankees through 2016.


C.C. Sabathia | Age: 34 | Career Earnings: $173,285,713

He’s battled injuries for back to back to back years now, but Sabathia has cashed in on his movement from team to team since leaving the Indians back in 2007. He’s brought in an average of $13.3M per year since 2002, and has a whopping $73M remaining on his Yankees deal through 2017.

Related: Top Paid MLB PLayers in 2014

2014 NFL Top-Cash Team

August 18th, 2014

USATSI_7463067_160074578_lowresPlenty of NFL players are earning nice paychecks this upcoming season, but the following is a look at the player earning the most cash at each position in 2014. For just the low low price of $289,400,027 you too can have this fairly elite NFL starting lineup.

Related: 2014 Top Cash Earning NFL Rankings

Jay Cutler | QB | Chicago Bears | $22,500,000

18% of Cutler’s $126.7M contract is paid in 2014 by way of a $17.5M base salary, and a $5 million restructure. This is the most he’ll be paid in a year until 2019 (if he’s still active in the contract). His $22.5M is $1 million more than the Falcons will pay Matt Ryan in 2014.


Adrian Peterson | RB | Minnesota Vikings | $12,000,000

Even four years after signing this contract, Peterson is still earning nearly $4 million more in cash than any other 2014 running back. The $12 million comes by way of an $11.75M base salary, and a $250,000 workout bonus. He’s set to earn $13M, $15M, and $17M in cash from 2015-17 respectively – quarterback like annual paychecks.


Mike Wallace | WR | Miami Dolphins | $15,050,000

Mike Wallace’s $15M base salary is tied with Peyton Manning as the 3rd highest in the NFL for 2014. Add in a $50,000 workout bonus, and he tops all wide receivers in cash earned for the upcoming season. His paychecks drop off heavily from here, with $9.9M, $11.5M, & $11.5M to be earned in the next three seasons.


Jimmy Graham | TE | New Orleans Saints | $13,000,000

Set to earn just $7.035M on his tight end franchise tag, Graham gets a $6 million raise per his new contract. The $13 million is comprised of a $1 million base salary, and a $12 million signing bonus. Graham and Ravens’ Dennis Pitta are the only tight ends earning north of $10M in cash this season.


Jason Peters | OT | Philadelphia Eagles | $12,000,000

Peters can earn $48.3 million over the next 5 seasons in Philadelphia, 25% of which he reels in this season. It comes by way of a $1.75M base salary, a $5M signing bonus, a $5M roster bonus, and a $250,000 workout bonus. The 32 year old is signed through 2018.


Eugene Monroe | OT | Baltimore Ravens | $12,000,000

Like Peters, Monroe is in year one of a new 5 year contract. His $12 million is derived from a $1M salary, and an $11M signing bonus. But unlike Peters, Monroe’s cash intake drops off heavily after 2014, set to earn just $5.5M, $6.5M, $6.75, & $6.75M over his next 4 seasons in Baltimore.


Greg Robinson | G | St. Louis Rams | $14,219,344

The #2 overall selection in this past draft brings in a $420,000 salary along with a $13,799,344 signing bonus in 2014, making him the highest earning guard in the league. It’s feasible he’ll be moved to tackle at some point in this contract, and with cash values of just $1.3M, $2.3M, and $3.3M in the next seasons respectively, he’ll be a steal.


Rodger Saffold | G | St. Louis Rams | $8,000,000

Like Robinson, Saffold is a tackle being used as a guard in St. Louis to start the year, so his $8M cash intake is high in comparison. Unlike Robinson’s rookie contract though, Saffold is set to earn between $5M-$7M cash in each of 2015-18 with the Rams.


Maurkice Pouncey | C | Pittsburgh Steelers | $14,000,000

The 25 year old brings in a $1M salary & and $13M signing bonus in 2014, before earning around $6-$7M in each of his next 5 seasons with the Steelers. The $14M earned in 2014 is $4M more than Alex Mack in Cleveland, and nearly double Jason Kelce (PHI) who ranks 3rd among active centers.


Jadeveon Clowney | DE | Houston Texans | $14,938,544

Clowney reels in nearly $15M in cash as the top pick in the 2014 draft, more than any defensive end in the NFL this season. The earning is comprised of the standard $420,000 salary and a $14.5M signing bonus from the Texans. He’ll earn just $1.43M, $2.44M, and $3.45M in the next seasons respectively.


Mario Williams | DE | Buffalo Bills | $13,400,000

Williams enters year three as a Bill having already earned $40M of the $96M allocated to his 6 year contract. He’ll tack on another $13.4M in 2014 with a $1.9M base salary, a $500,000 workout bonus, and a whopping $10.6M roster bonus. He’s the top earning Bill by about $150,000 (Sammy Watkins, $13.23M), and is signed through 2017.


Gerald McCoy | DT | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | $13,032,253

McCoy hit all his escalators, raising his 2014 salary $2.435M up to $12.7M. Coupled with a $300,000 workout bonus, and McCoy is the highest cash earning DT in football, nearly $500k more than Ndamukong Suh ( for now ). The Buccaneers exercised a $5.76M 5th year option for the 2015 season – a figure that McCoy will most certainly look to have tripled by way of a long-term extension after 2014.


Ndamukong Suh | DT | Detroit Lions | $12,675,000

A $17M option bonus plus restructure bonuses of $9.71M, and $11.52M have pushed nearly $12.5M in cap over the next two seasons – even though the 2015 season voids after this coming Super Bowl. Even if Suh leave for free agency in 2015, the Lions will take a dead cap hit of $9.7M+ for the 2015 season. Couple in a $12.6M paycheck to Suh in 2014, and there are a lot of numbers floating between the two parties right now. A deal is still very likely – but boy will it be complicated.


Khalil Mack | OLB | Oakland Raider | $12,323,272

Like Clowney, Mack earns the big paycheck up front before falling off to the rookie wage salaries/roster bonuses. He’s the top cash earner on the Raiders in 2014 and should be an impact player from Week 1.


Terrell Suggs | OLB | Baltimore Ravens | $12,000,000

A restructured contract hands the 31 year old Suggs $12 million in cash, nearly $5M more than he was previously slated to earn. He’ll take in a $1 million salary, and an $11 million signing bonus in 2014, with earnings of just $4M, $4.5M, $4M, and $4M through 2018.


Donald Butler | ILB | San Diego Chargers | $11,900,000

Butler’s $11.15M signing bonus this season is 13th highest among all NFL players for 2014. The 25 year old will earn a $750,000 salary along with the bonus. He has gradually increasing salaries each year of the deal – and a sizeable $8M option bonus due in 2016.


James Laurinaitis | ILB | St. Louis Rams | $10,000,000

After reeling in $14M in 2013, the first year of his new contract, Laurinaitis bring in another $10M – all by way of base salary. This means that nearly 58% of his contract will be earned by the end of the 2014 season.


Patrick Peterson | CB | Arizona Cardinals | $16,249,114

23% of the $70.05M contract Peterson signed this offseason will be earned in 2014, by way of a base $888,114 salary, and the $15.361M signing bonus. He’ll bring in another $11.7M in 2015 before his cash earnings fall off and even out a bit through 2017. He becomes one of 5 cornerbacks earning more than $10 million in 2014, and the 5th highest earner in all of the NFL.

Sam Shields | CB | Green Bay Packers | $14,937,500

Largely overlooked this offseason amidst the Peterson/Sherman debates, Sam Shields signed a $40M contract himself this past March. The deal hands him $1.5M in base salary, a $12.5M signing bonus, and a $50,000 workout bonus in 2014. His $14.9M in cash ranks 11th among all NFL players.


Earl Thomas | S | Seattle Seahawks | $14,225,000

With all the attention on Richard Sherman’s contract, many forget that teammate Earl Thomas was handed a $40 million deal in Seattle as well, 36% of which he earns in 2014.


Jairus Byrd | S | New Orleans Saints | $12,300,000

It’s amazing the Saints were able to fit a deal of this size into their once limited cap space, but $54M later, Jairus Byrd found himself in New Orleans. He’ll bring in a $1.3M salary along with his $11M signing bonus in 2014, and will earn around $8M per season through 2019.


Dan Bailey | K | Dallas Cowboys | $4,900,000

Bailey signed a monstrous 7 year extension to stay in Dallas this past June. His $4M signing bonus plus $900,000 salary make him the highest earning kicker in football for the upcoming season.


Pat McAfee | P | Indianapolis Colts | $3,750,000

The Colts gave McAfee a $14.5 million contract this offseason, including a $2.75M salary, and $1 million signing bonus for the 2014 season, his only guaranteed money.


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Assessing the Status of the 2011 NFL Draft Class

August 7th, 2014

USATSI_7630113_160074578_lowresAs NFL contract extensions continue to finalize this offseason, we’ll take a step back and assess the 2011 draft class – the first under the latest CBA. The new terms brought forth a strict rookie wage scale, and available 5th-year options for each of those players selected in the first round, making for tough decisions for many teams prior to the May 2014 deadline. Additionally, many players drafted outside of the first round have received healthy long-term extensions to combat their expiring deals after the 2014 season. We’ll break down the first two rounds from the 2011 to show where each player currently stands.

2011 1st Round Draft Picks

Pick Player Pos. Team Status
1 Cam Newton QB CAR 5th-year option exercised ($14,666,666)
2 Von Miller LB DEN 5th-year option exercised ($9,754,000)
3 Marcell Dareus DT BUF 5th-year option exercised ($8,060,000)
4 A.J. Green WR CIN 5th-year option exercised ($10,176,000)
5 Patrick Peterson CB ARI Signed a 5 yr/$70.05M extension
6 Julio Jones WR ATL 5th-year option exercised ($10,176,000)
7 Aldon Smith LB SF 5th-year option exercised ($9,754,000)
8 Jake Locker QB TEN Contract expires after 2014
9 Tyron Smith OT DAL Signed an 8 year $98M extension
10 Blaine Gabbert QB SF Traded to SF (6th round pick)
11 J.J. Watt DE HOU 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)
12 Christian Ponder QB MIN Contract expires after 2014
13 Nick Fairley DT DET Contract expires after 2014
14 Robert Quinn DE STL 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)
15 Mike Pouncey C MIA 5th-year option exercised ($7,438,000)
16 Ryan Kerrigan LB WAS 5th-year option exercised ($7,038,000)
17 Nate Solder OT NE 5th-year option exercised ($7,438,000)
18 Corey Liuget DE SD 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)
19 Prince Amukamara CB NYG 5th-year option exercised ($6,898,000)
20 Adrian Clayborn DE TB Contract expires after 2014
21 Phil Taylor DT CLE 5th-year option exercised ($5,477,000)
22 Anthony Castonzo OT IND 5th-year option exercised ($7,438,000)
23 Danny Watkins G PHI Waived (2013), Signed w/ Miami
24 Cameron Jordan DE NO 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)
25 James Carpenter G SEA Contract expires after 2014
26 Jonathan Baldwin WR KC Traded to SF (2013), Waived (2014)
27 Jimmy Smith CB BAL 5th-year option exercised ($6,898,000)
28 Mark Ingram RB NO Contract expires after 2014
29 Gabe Carimi G CHI Traded to TB (2013), Signed w/ ATL
30 Muhammad Wilkerson DE NYJ 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)
31 Cameron Heyward DE PIT 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)
32 Derek Sherrod OT GB Contract expires after 2014


2011 2nd Round Draft Picks

Pick Player Pos. Team Status
33 Ras-I Dowling CB NE Waived (2013), Signed w/ NYJ
34 Aaron Williams CB BUF Signed a 4 year $26M extension
35 Andy Dalton QB CIN Signed a 6 year $96M extension
36 Colin Kaepernick QB SF Signed a 6 year $126M extension
37 Jabaal Sheard LB CLE Contract expires after 2014
38 Ryan Williams RB ARI Waived (2014), Signed w/ DAL
39 Akeem Ayers LB TEN Contract expires after 2014
40 Bruce Carter LB DAL Contract expires after 2014
41 Jarvis Jenkins DE WAS Contract expires after 2014
42 Brooks Reed LB HOU Contract expires after 2014
43 Kyle Rudolph TE MIN Signed a 5 year $36M extension
44 Titus Young WR DET Waived (2013)
45 Rahim Moore S DEN Contract expires after 2014
46 Orlando Franklin OT DEN Contract expires after 2014
47 Lance Kendricks TE STL Contract expires after 2014
48 Stefen Wisniewski C OAK Contract expires after 2014
49 Benjamin Ijalana OT IND Waived (2013, Signed w/ NYJ
50 Marcus Gilchrist S SD Contract expires after 2014
51 Da’Quan Bowers DE TB Contract expires after 2014
52 Marvin Austin DT NYG Waived (2013)
53 Stephen Paea DT CHI Contract expires in 2014
54 Jaiquawn Jarrett S PHI Waived (2012)
55 Rodney Hudson C KC Contract expires after 2014
56 Shane Vereen RB NE Contract expires after 2014
57 Mikel Leshoure RB DET Contract expires after 2014
58 Torrey Smith WR BAL Contract expires after 2014
59 Greg Little WR OAK Waived (2014), Signed w/ OAK
60 Brandon Harris CB HOU Contract expires after 2014
61 Jonas Mouton LB SD Waived 2014
62 Daniel Thomas RB MIA Contract expires after 2014
63 Marcus Gilbert OT PIT Contract expires after 2014
64 Randall Cobb WR GB Contract expires after 2014

Related: 2011 NFL Draft Contracts

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8 NFL Veterans Likely Elsewhere in 2015

August 6th, 2014


Sam Bradford | QB | St. Louis Rams

With two first picks in the prior draft, many speculated if the time to take a QB and work to get out from under Bradford was upon us. That didn’t happen, so speculation shifts even strong to the 2015 season, his contract year. His $16.58M cap figure next year isn’t infeasible for the Rams to work with (11th most among active QBs), but they can clear $12.985M of it per his trade or release next offseason. Clearly the decision here is pinned on how they build their roster in the next 12 months.

Larry Fitzgerald | WR | Arizona Cardinals

The 10 year veteran has amassed nearly 900 catches for 12,000 yards and 90 touchdowns in the Cardinals’ red. But now 30 and with growing cap figures and a decent crop of young receivers behind him in the depth chart, the end may be drawing near. Fitzgerald is set to count $23.6M against the Cardinals’ 2015 salary cap, 4th most in the NFL as of today. Arizona would need to eat $14.4M in dead cap to let him walk (split at $7.35M, $7.05M over 2015/2016 if traded before 6/1/15). Signed through 2018, it’s possible the two sides work out a restructured extension, tacking on a year to maximize pro-ration, but just as likely the two sides part ways after the 2014 season.

Andre Johnson | WR | Houston Texans

Already reportedly miserable about being a part of the slight re-build that the Texans are currently pushing through in 2014, the 33-year-old All-Pro WR will most likely get the walking papers he’s been wishing for after this upcoming season. If he’s traded before 6/1/15 he’ll count just $4.64M against the Texans’ 2015 cap, and $2.675M in 2016. These figures clear plenty of space from Johnson’s $16.1M, $14.675M cap hits in those years respectively, the final two on his contract.

Steven Jackson | RB | Atlanta Falcons

Some have a sense that Jackson is a bit of a roster bubble in 2014. While the move would clear $1.8M in cap, it’s more likely he plays out the season in Atlanta alongside Jacquizz Rodgers, Antoine Smith, and newcomer Devonta Freeman. The 31-year-old is set to count nearly $5M toward the Falcons’ 2015 cap, and would clear $3.78M in space per his release next offseason.

Frank Gore | RB | San Francisco 49ers

The 31-year-old has amassed nearly 10,000 yards over 9 NFL seasons with the 49ers, and heads into a contract season counting $6.45M against their 2014 cap. The Niners have built up a fairly loaded stockpile of running backs in recent years, including Marcus Lattimore, Kendall Hunter, and Carlos Hyde, making Gore’s long-term security a bit of a question mark. It’s possible the two agree on a set of short term, low-value deals to keep the marriage intact (i.e. Fred Jackson in Buffalo), but it shouldn’t come as a surprise should Gore hit the free agent market next offseason.

Antonio Gates | TE | San Diego Chargers

The 34-year-old has spent all 11 of his NFL seasons in San Diego, accounting for 9,200 yards and 87 touchdowns on 719 receptions. He’s consistently been a touchdown threat for the Chargers, and had a bit of a bounce-back year in the 2013 campaign, but age and exceptional improvement from Ladarius Green will put Gates’ roster spot in jeopardy for 2015, his contract year. He’s set to count $8.2M against the Chargers’ 2015 cap, 4th most among tight ends, and can be let go with just $2.3M in dead cap to account for.

Troy Polamalu | S | Pittsburgh Steelers

He had a bounce-back year in 2013, accounting for 50 tackles, 5 forced fumbles, 11 pass deflections, and 3 interceptions. He’s spent all 11 seasons with the Steelers, and is currently signed through the 2016 season. His $8.25M cap figure for 2015 ranks 5th among active safeties, and could place Polamalu on the roster bubble next offseason. Moving him would clear at least $3.75M from the Steelers cap (more if moved prior to 6/1).

A.J. Hawk | LB | Green Bay Packers

Now 30-years-old, Hawk has shown up and down production in all 8 of his NFL seasons with Green Bay. He’s averaging 72 tackles, 2 sacks, and an INT per season and can still contribute at a high-level. Signed through 2016, the Packers can clear $3.5M in 2015 cap space with his release or trade next offseason.

Related: 2016 NFL Free Agents

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Projecting the 2014 NFL Best-Value Team

August 4th, 2014

USATSI_7632385_160074578_lowresWith preseason now underway, the 2014 NFL season is all but upon us. As rosters continue to flex, bend, and fold down to the 53 man final cuts, we’ll take a look at each position and formulate our projection for who may be the best value (in terms of cap dollars) at each in the coming season.


Nick Foles (PHI)

Foles carries a $770,880 cap figure into the 2014-15, the 54th highest among active quarterbacks. He’s currently projected as the 5th best QB according to Pro Football Focus. He loses a key weapon on DeSean Jackson, pushing Riley Cooper into a much bigger role alongside Jeremy Maclin. Add to that two great tight ends in Celek & Ertz, and two elite weapons out of the backfield in McCoy & Sproles, and Foles should have plenty of options as he scans the field in 2014. His four year contract with the Eagles is set to expire after the 2015 season.

Running Back

Eddie Lacy (GB)

Currently projected as the 5th best running back for 2014 by PFF, Lacy carries a $771,003 cap hit with the Packers in 2014, the 56th highest among active RBs. He compiled 1180 yards and 11 TDs in 15 2013 games, along with 35 catches (another 250 yards) through the air. The four running backs projected ahead of Lacy(McCoy, Charles, Peterson, Forte) carry an average 2014 cap figure of $10.4M.

Wide Receiver

Alshon Jeffery (CHI)

The 2012 2nd round pick carries a $1.24M cap hit with the Bears in 2014 (ranked 76th among WRs), and is projected as a Top 7 WR. He’ll be a top candidate for an extension early in 2015 if he produces anywhere close to what he did in 2013, compiling 1400+ yards over 89 receptions and 7 touchdowns alongside veteran Brandon Marshall and with much of the Bears offense still intact, the sky’s the limit going forward.

Tight End

Julius Thomas (DEN)

A breakout year in 2013 led to much discussion of a long-term extension this offseason. Thomas put together 65 catches for 788 yards and 12 TDs in his 2013 campaign, and carries a $741,000 cap figure with the Broncos into 2014 (ranked 54th among TEs). Entering a contract year, he’ll look to match his production in hopes of a big second contract, through the franchise tag may be in store for 2015.

Off. Tackle

Nate Solder (NE)

Solder had a quietly GREAT 2013 in New England, both in terms of protecting the honorable Tom Brady, and clearing the way for a solid, versatile Patriots rushing attack. The line (and entire offense) remains intact for 2014, leading to even more expectations. Solder’s $2.7M cap figure ranks 37 among all NFL tackles. The Patriots exercised his $7.438M 5th year option for 2015 this summer, but a long-term deal may be in order to replace that soon.


Larry Warford (DET)

A third round selection in the 2013 draft, Larry Warford has quickly become a key piece to the Lions’ offensive attack, projected as a Top 5 guard heading into 2014. He’ll count just $714,250 against the Detroit cap this year, 69th most among active guards. Signed through 2016 in the rookie wage scale, he should continue to be a great value for the next few years.


Jason Kelce (PHI)

Kelce carries one of the higher cap figures among our “best-value team”, a testament to teams locking in their franchise centers at a decent pay-grade. His $2.6M cap ranks 14th among all centers, and should be a great value for a projected Top 3 center for 2014.

Defensive Tackle

Jurrell Casey (TEN)

Casey mans an underrated Titans defensive line, and enters a contract year in 2014. He’ll count $1.585M agains the Tennessee cap, 23rd highest on the Titans, and 47th most among NFL defensive tackles. The 2011 3rd round pick should be looking toward a nice extension next offseason.

Defensive End

Chandler Jones (NE)

Jones is set to become the “next great value” at this position behind JJ Watt (HOU), and Robert Quinn (STL). He’s primed for a breakout season with the Patriots and counts just $2.22M against the cap (ranks 61st among NFL DEs). He’ll likely have his 5th-year option exercised next offseason to keep him around at a decent value through 2016.


Alec Ogletree (STL)

Ogletree may be a bit of a reach here, but multiple outlets feel he’s primed to be a Top 15 linebacker in 2014. Set to count just $1.5M against the Rams cap (87th among NFL LBs), he’s setup to be a great value in St. Louis for the next 3 seasons (plus a 5th-year option in 2017). He recorded 95 tackles, 1.5 sacks, an interception, and a touchdown in 2013.


Desmond Trufant (ATL)

The poor 2013 for the Falcons overshadowed a budding star in their secondary in Trufant. His 55 tackles, foreced fumble, and 2 interceptions didn’t top the charts, but for a rookie season they were well above the norm. He’ll count just $1.85M against the Falcons 2014 cap (ranked 61st among NFL CBs), and is primed to be a long-term value in Atlanta, signed through 2016 (with a 5th-year option available for 2017).


Barry Church (DAL)

One of the few bright spots on a horrible Cowboys‘ defense in 2013, Church recorded 107 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and an INT. The 4 year extension he signed in 2012 averages just $2.2M per year, and he carries an even $2 million cap figure for the 2014 season, 34th most among active NFL safeties. Signed through 2016, his cap hits don’t exceed $3.25M, making him a rare financial steal in Dallas.


Justin Tucker (BAL)

Tucker’s put together back to back nice seasons in Baltimore, connecting on nearly 93% of his 41 attempted field goals in 2013. The undrafted free agent out of Texas enters the final year of his 3 year contract, counting just $570k against the Ravens cap (28th among K) before becoming eligible for restricted free agency. It’s likely a consistent start to 2014 leads to a nice extension for the 24 year old.


Brad Nortman (CAR)

Nortman had a strong 2013 in Carolina, averaging nearly 48 yards per punt – maxing out at an impressive 72 yards. The former 6th round pick is entering year three of his 4 year $2.1M contract with the Panthers, set to count just $589,670 against their 2014 cap (21st among punters). He’s a likely candidate for an extension next offseason to remain the franchise punter in Carolina.

Related: The Top 100 NFL Cap Hits for 2014

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The 2014 NFL Hall of Fame Class, Financially

August 3rd, 2014

The Class of 2014 NFL Hall of Famers feature players who spent long, successful careers almost entirely with one franchise. We’ll take a closer look at the financial path these players took from day 1, straight through to retirement.

Michael Strahan |DE| NYG

USA TodayStrahan earned more than $76M over 15 seasons with the NYG.

The now popular morning show host spent 15 seasons with the New York Giants, collecting 141.5 sacks, 7 Pro Bowls, and 2 Super Bowl rings. He was selected #40 overall back in 1993, after which he signed a 3 year $1.0875 million contract to join the Giants. In 1996 he signed a 4 year $12.2 million extension to stay in New York, including a $3.5M signing bonus. After 3 more highly productive seasons, the Giants rewarded Strahan with a 4 year $32 million contract in 1999, followed up by a 7 year $46.8 million extension after the 2001 season. He retired in 2008 with one year remaining on his contract, choosing to walk away a winner after the Giants Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
Career Earnings
Strahan earned an estimated $76.335M on the field over 15 NFL seasons with the Giants.
In Comparison


Andre Reed |WR| BUF

USA TodayAndre Reed earned $11.5M over 16 NFL seasons, 15 with the Buffalo Bills.

Reed spent 15 seasons making catches across the grain of the field in Buffalo before spending his final season with the Washington Redskins. He owns every major receiving record with the Bills, by a long-shot, and was selected to 7 consecutive Pro Bowls. The former 4th round pick (#86 overall), signed a 4 year $552,750 contract back in 1985. He would go on to sign 5 more contracts with the Bills, including a 4 year $1.48M deal in 1988, a 6 year $7 million deal in 1990, a 3 year $4.05 million deal in 1993, a 4 year $4.1M deal in 1996, and a 3 year $6.275M deal in 1999. He was released by the Bills in February of 2000, and signed on with the Broncos who had little room on their depth chart for the veteran WR. He was granted his release in September, caught on with the Washington Redskins, and retired after the 2000 season.
Career Earnings
Reed earned an estimated $11.5 million over 16 NFL seasons with the Bills & Redskins.
In Comparison

  • New Bills WR Sammy Watkins received a signing bonus of $12.8M, $1.3M more than Reed earned his entire 16 year career.
  • 14 Buffalo Bills have current contracts valued more than Reed’s career earnings.
  • At his most, Reed averaged $2.1M per seasons from 1999-2001. This would rank 58th among active wide receivers.


Derrick Brooks |LB| TB

USA TodayDerrick Brooks cashed in $37.3M over 14 seasons in Tampa Bay.

A former #28 overall draft pick in 1995, Brooks started just 3 games his first season, then never missed a start/game for the rest of his 14 year career in Tampa Bay. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 11 times, the 2002 Defensive Player of the Year, and won a Super Bowl in the same year. He signed a 4 year $3.255 million contract with the Bucs in 1995, but just two years in received a 4 year $13.6M extension. The Bucs restructured Brooks 3 times in his career to manage his increasing salary cap figures. In 2001 this led to a 6 year $36 million extension. 3 years later another major restructure turned into a 6 year $52 million extension. In 2006 Brooks agreed to a slimmed down version of this contract, accepting a 4 year $12.3 million contract with remain in Tampa Bay for the remainder of his career. He’d retire in 2009 with $3 million remaining on his deal.
Career Earnings
Brooks earned an estimated $37.375M over 14 NFL seasons with the Buccaneers.
In Comparison


Walter Jones |OT| SEA

USA TodayJones was franchise tagged 3 consecutive years (2002-04) by the Seahawks.

The #6 overall selection in the 1997 draft, Jones signed a 5 year $11.5 million contract with the Seahawks. He wouldn’t see another long-term deal for 8 seasons, receiving franchise tags in 2002, 2003, and 2004. He was rewarded in a big way in 2005 with a 7 year $52.5 million extension to stay in Seattle for the remainder of his career. The deal included a $16 million signing bonus, a $2 million 2006 roster bonus, and a $3 million 2007 roster bonus. He walked away from the game in 2010 after back to back IR seasons, leaving $14.6M in salary on the table.
Career Earnings
Jones earned an estimated $65.4M over 12 NFL seasons in Seattle.
In Comparison


Aeneas Williams |CB/S| ARI,STL

USA TodayWilliams brought in $33.3M along with his 55 interceptions.

Williams came out of the gates shining, registering his first INT in his NFL debut. He’d go on to pull in 55 inteceptions, including 9 pick-sixes, in 211 games over 14 seasons. The former 3rd round pick signed a 3 year $960k contract with the Cardinals in 1991, followed by a basic 2 year $3 million extension in 1994. After earning his keep, Arizona rewarded Williams with a 5 year $17 million contract in 1996, including a $6 million signing bonus. He was traded to the St. Louis Rams in 2001 for a 2nd and 4th round pick, then signed a 3 year $14.7 million contract. In 2003, at the tail end of his career, Williams accepted a restructured 2 year $6.5 million contract, including just $1 million guaranteed.
Career Earnings
Williams earned an estimated $33.31M over 12 NFL seasons.
In Comparison


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The Rising Value of Cornerbacks

July 31st, 2014

The “self-promoted” announcement of Patrick Peterson’s 5 year $70 million extension not only makes him the highest paid cornerback in football, but it further establishes the recent trend of increasing dollars being award to players in the secondary. We’ll take a look at the last three major contracts signed among NFL cornerbacks, breaking down the numbers to assess the trend.
Since the first of the year, 5 cornerbacks have signed extensions with their respective teams for a total of $220.3M dollars. These extensions average just north of 4 years a piece, meaning the average veteran cornerback is receiving a contract extension of 4 years, $55 million in 2014. The 48 cornerbacks who signed via free agency this offseason averaged an annual salary of $3.6 million, a total of $277.14 million in contracts. All in all we’re talking about $447.4M in contracts doled out to 53 veteran cornerbacks this offseason, or nearly $8.5M per player.
These figures are up considerably from the 2013 offseason, where just 2 extensions were signed for a total of $20M, and 49 free agent cornerbacks signed for $229M – an average annual salary of just $2.84M.
We’ll take a closer look at some of the bigger cornerback extensions recently signed:

Patrick Peterson | ARZ | 5 year, $70.05M extension

Peterson’s deal contains just enough to make him the highest average paid cornerback in league at $14.001M per year. The reported $48 million guaranteed is somewhat jaded, as the deal contains rolling guarantees (similar to Colin Kaepernick’s recent extension with the 49ers). In a recent projection, Peterson valued out mathematically at around $10.5M per season when comparing him to the other top cornerbacks in the league.

USA TodayPeterson now becomes the highest average paid cornerback in the NFL.

Originally set to earn $2.88M in 2014 cash, with a $5.8 million cap hit, Peterson will now cash in $16.25 million in 2014, and another $11.7 million in 2015.
His 2014 cap raises slightly to $6.9M, then increases rapidly to figures of $14.79, $13, $13, $14.3, and $11.25 in the following seasons.

Guaranteed Money
The deal contains $16.25M in initial guaranteed money, his $15.361M signing bonus + his $888k 2014 salary. Each of Peterson’s 2015-2017 base salaries initially guarantee for injury only. They become fully guaranteed on the 5th day of their subsquent league waiver period. This gives Arizona a bit of an out after this season, though the large signing bonus makes for significant dead cap until the 2017 season.


Richard Sherman | SEA | 4 year, $56M extension

Prior to Peterson’s signing, Richard Sherman was the highest average paid CB in the NFL at $14M per season. His deal contains $40 million in practical guarantees, but structured similar to Peterson in that the Peterson’s deal in that the 2015-17 base salaries don’t guarantee until 5 days after the previous Super Bowl.

USA TodayRichard Sherman’s $14M per season now ranks behind Peterson.

Originally set to earn $1.431M in 2014 cash, with a $1.476 million cap hit, Sherman will now cash in $12.431 million in 2014, and another $10 million in 2015. His 2014 cap raises slightly to $3.6M, then increases rapidly to figures of $12.2, $14.7 $13.6, & $13.2 in the following seasons.

Guaranteed Money
The deal contains $12.431 million in initial guarantees, his $11 million signing bonus and $1.431 million 2014 salary. Sherman’s 2015 $10 million salary becomes fully guaranteed 5 days after this year’s Super Bowl. His $12.569 million 2016 salary + $5 million of his $11.431 million 2017 salary fully guarantee 5 days after next year’s Super Bowl. Like Peterson, the contract contains significant dead cap through the 2017 season, making Sherman fairly safe for another 4 years in Seattle.


Joe Haden | CLE | 5 year, $67.5M extension

Haden’s deal in Cleveland is structured a little bit different than the recent contracts to Sherman and Peterson in that the 2014 salary needed to be much higher in value. His $6.678M base salary is the same figure he was scheduled to make from his rookie contract. As a 2010 draft pick, Haden was not subjected to the rookie wage scale, so his first contract with the Browns was to the likes of 5 years $40 million

USA TodayHaden will earn $22.8M in cash in 2014 with the Browns.

The higher initial payment comes with a $12.1M cap hit for 2014 (2nd most among CBs), but just $11.6M in 2015. The caps jump to $13.4, $14.4, $14.4, and then down to $10.5M in the following seasons. He’ll earn a whopping $22.87M in 2014 cash, nearly double what Sherman receives.

Guaranteed Money
The deal contains $22.6 million in initial guarantees, his $16 million signing bonus and $6.67 million 2014 salary. Hadens $8.3M 2015 salary becomes fully guaranteed prior to the start of next year, as does his $10.1M 2016 salary prior to that season. There are reports that $4 million of his 2017 salary also becomes fully guaranteed prior to the 2016 season, but we’ve yet to confirm that. While Peterson and Sherman are fairly safe through the 2017 season in their contracts, Haden could be traded or released following the 2016 with just a $6.4M dead cap hit to the Browns.

» Top Average Paid Cornerbacks of 2014

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