Contract Forecast: Eric Decker

Contract Forecast: Eric Decker
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Contract Forecast: Eric Decker

One of the more compelling contracts set to expire after the 2013 NFL season is that of Denver Broncos breakout wide receiver Eric Decker. In a recent report by our premium team, we determined that Decker is a 50/50 candidate to be extended with the Broncos, as financially they may have better options to pursue.

In light of this, and some great feedback from our Spotrac community, we'll put Decker through our forecasting tool to predict what a value deal might look like, either as an extension with Denver, or once he hits free agency.

Comparable Wide Receivers
Decker just turned 26 (March 15), the standard age for sophomore contracts to be signed, and the identical age of Brian Hartline, our best target receiver for this prediction. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Age When Signed
Brian Hartline 5 $30.7 million $6,155,000 26
Miles Austin 7 $54.1 million $7,728,571 25
Stevie Johnson 5 $36.25 million $7,250,000 25
Pierre Garcon 5 $42.5 million $8,500,000 25
Averages 5.5 $40,906,250 $7,408,393 25.25

Note: A linear regression is a formula that plots the provided points of data for Length and Value of the contracts, and then generates the best-fit line for those points, resulting in a "slope" value that translates to an average annual salary.

View the list of Top Average Paid Wide Receivers in the NFL

Because Decker (26) is older than a few of our variables at the times of their signings, we'll adjust the above contracts up to his age by subtracting from the overall years to make each variable player 26 years old. Once a linear regression is performed on these new numbers we're given the following terms to begin with:

Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
5 $36,269,325 $7,253,865
Statistical Analyzations, Prime Percentage
Now let's analyze these players statistically in the year prior to signing their second contract by showing Games Played, Receptions, Receiving Yards, Receiving Yards/Game, and Receiving TD.
Player Games Receptions Rec Yards REC Yards/Game REC TD
Brian Hartline (2011-12, MIA) 16 54.5 816 51 1
Pierre Garcon (2010-11, IND) 15 68.5 865.6 57.5 6
Stevie Johson (2010-11, BUF) 16 79 1038.5 64.59 8.5
Miles Austin (2011-12, PIT) 13 54.5 761 58.4 6.5
Averages 15 64.125 870.275 57.8725 5.5
Eric Decker (2011-12, DEN) 16 64.5 838 52.4 10.5
% Difference 6.67% .58% -3.71% -9.46% 90.91%
Our results here show that Decker toes the line with these variable receivers. The glaring exception -to his credit - has been Decker's ability to get into the endzone. The 90+% increase from his touchdown performance alone provides us with a Prime Percentage of 17.00%, a figure we'll factor into our previously determined base numbers.
Guaranteed Money
Decker only has a little over two years of true "starting" experience in the league, but he's maintained a healthy and reliable stance thus far. He'll do better with guaranteed money if he elects to test the free agent market, but we'll use our variable receivers to determine an average to work with.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Brian Hartline $30,775,000 $12,500,000 40.6%
Pierre Garcon $42,500,000 $13,100,000 30.8%
Stevie Johnson $36,250,000 $11,100,000 30.6%
Miles Austin $54,100,000 $17,078,000 31.6%
Adjusted Regression 33.4%

Length of the Contract
The going length of a sophomore wide receiver contract age 26 or greater has been 5 years. There's no reason to believe Decker will get a 6th. We'll use 5 years for our forecast.

Value of the Contract
Decker matched up evenly in statistical comparisons, with the exception of Touchdowns, where he much-exceeded the field.Our base regression of contracts for receivers in his age/talent class left us with an $7.4M/year starting point. With a 17% statistical prime number to factor in the following forecast can be determined:

Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $42,435,110
  •  Average annual salary: $8,487,022
  •  Guaranteed: $14,173,326 (33.4%)