With a front office finally in place (for now), the Cleveland Browns can finally turn their attention to addressing their current roster going forward into the 2014 league year. One of the top priorities appears to be finalizing an extension with cornerback Joe Haden, whose 5 year $40 million rookie contract is set to expire after the 2014 season.
Haden was named to the All-Pro Second Team, as well as his 1st Pro Bowl in 2013. He's been a Top 20 rated cornerback according to Pro Football Focus in each of his 4 NFL seasonsThe projected franchise tag value for cornerbacks in 2014 is $11.25M, a figure that will rise slightly in 2015 when Haden would become taggable. But the Browns have the right mix of ingredients right now to get this deal done - potentially at an average value less than the projected tag number.
We'll evaluate Joe Haden against the top cornerbacks in football in order to provide a mathematical forecast for what an extension in Cleveland might look like.
To generate a prediction the Spotrac team determined that the following cornerbacks were viable targets to use in comparing with Haden. The key was to locate players with similar numbers, who signed a contract around the current age (almost 25). Here's a look at the contracts signed by each. 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|
Haden will turn 25 in early April of 2014 - a likely starting point for negotiations, and a relatively young age in terms of cornerbacks signing big contracts/. We'll adjust the above contracts down to reflect each as if it were signed at the age of 25 to provide a better scope for our base prediction.
|Length||Value||Avg. Salary (slope)|
Now let's analyze these players statistically over their careers by showing the averages for Games/Season, Intercetpions/Season, Tackles/Season, and Completion % Against/Season.
Then, to assess how well the player was performing prior to signing their respective contract, we'll show the averages of these statistics two years prior to their signing date. This will give us a "Prime Percentage" for each player, providing us with a snapshot for how well that player was performing when the contract was signed in relation to his overall career.
|Darrelle Revis (2008-09, NYJ)||16||5.5||46||47.6|
|Brandon Carr (2010-11, KC)||16||2.5||51||47.45|
|Brandon Flowers (2009-10, KC)||15||3.5||57||52.4|
|Johnathan Joseph (2009-10, CIN)||14||4.5||56||61.65|
|Joe Haden (2012-13, CLE)||13||3.5||41.5||49.4|
|MEDIAN PRIME %||-13.63%|
|AVERAGE PRIME %||-11%|
Haden's numbers aren't too far off from our variable cornerbacks. His 4 game suspension in 2012 (Adderall) certainly hurt his game totals. But his real downfall has been his play against the run - evident both in his low tackle percentage, and his average Run defense rating from PFF (+1). In terms of shutdown coverage, Haden is right in step with Revis over his prime years, and should be considered accordingly.
We'll factor both his Median and Average prime numbers into our base terms to provide a low and high bar for our forecast.
Haden's reliability has been somewhat challenged, combining his substance abuse suspension in 2012 with a bit of wear and tear (hip) in 2013. We'll incprorate the median prime percentage (-13.63) in lei of this, to determine the projected guaranteed dollars for this forecast.
Length of the Contract
With 2014 remaining on his current contract, the likely term for a maximum extension will be 5 years for a player in the secondary such as Haden. But with the Browns in a bit of a rebuilding flux, and Haden's reliability somewhat questionable, we'll drop our projection down to 4 years.
Value of the Contract
Better run-stop numbers and a few more games played may have placed Haden over the $10M/years mark in terms of value. Our initial base terms brought forth an average annual salary just under $10 million ($9,624,599), a figure that would make him the seventh highest average paid cornerback in football. But with 11-13 percent being knocked off from our prime percentage forumlas, the average annual salary looks a lot closer to what he's earning now.
It's important to remember that our projections are simply a mathematical output of average dollars combined with average statistics over recent years. The goal here is to look closely at a player's "value" at the time of his signing. But simple logic and a look at the market in the past calendar year suggests that Haden will receive nothing less than $10 million per year with his new deal. Even if statistically, to some degree, he might not have reached that level of value.