Contract Forecast: Justin Smith

Contract Forecast: Justin Smith
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Contract Forecast: Justin Smith

He may be 33 years old (34 early in the start of the 2013 season), but San Francisco 49ers defensive end Justin Smith continues to be a major contributor to the recent success of the franchise. He's entering his 6th year in SF, and his 13th overall - the final year of his 6 year $45 million contract and will be on showcase for many teams looking to bring in a short-term, veteran presence to their d-line in 2014.

Our premium experts put Smith's recent statistics to the test, comparing him to other veterans who signed the dotted line recently. The result will show a forecast of the years, value, and estimated guaranteed money Justin Smith may garner in San Francisco, or somewhere else in the 2014 offseason.

Comparable Defensive Ends
Smith is now 33 (September 30), on the older side of average for what might be considered a "long-term deal", but it's exactly the age of Dwight Freeney, who recently signed a deal in San Diego. 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
Dwight Freeney 2 $13.35 million $6,675,000 33
Chris Clemons 3 $22 million $7,333,333 31
Osi Umenyiora 2 $8.5 million $4,250,000 31
Cory Redding 3 $10.5 million $3,500,000 31
Averages 2.5 $13,587,500 $5,439,583 31.5

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 Defensive Ends in the NFL

Because Smith (33) is older than the majorit of our variables at the times of their signings, we'll adjust the above contracts up/down to his age by subtracting from the overall years to make each variable player 33 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)
3 $12,223,529 $4,074,510
Statistical Analyzations, Prime Percentage
Now let's analyze these players statistically in the year prior to signing their second contract by showing Games Played, Sacks, Tackles, Solo Stops, and Penalites.
Player Games Sacks Tackles Solo Stops Penalties
Dwight Freeney (2011-12, IND) 15 6.75 13 36 5
Chris Clemons (2010-11, SEA) 16 11 33.5 30 6.5
Osi Umenyiora (2011-12, NYG) 12.5 7.5 23 18.5 3
Cory Redding (2010-11, BAL) 15 3.75 30 27 3
Averages 14.625 7.25 24.875 27.875 4.375
Justin Smith (2011-12, SF) 15 5.25 49.5 33.6 4
% Difference 2.56% -27.59% 98.99% 33.6% 8.57&
Our results here show that Smith is producing at a high-level in comparison to these veteran linemen. He's being asked to do a lot in the 3-4 49ers defense, as his inflated Tackles figure shows, all the more reason to place value on what may be his final contract. We'll factor his Prime Percentage of 20.62%, into our previously determined base numbers.
Guaranteed Money
At 33, guaranteed money is a sore subject as the likelhood for injury or drop in performance is apparent. But in 5 seasons with the 49ers Smith has averaged 15.6 games per year - a remarkable stat for an older player in such a physical role. We'll factor the Prime Percentage above into the determined average below to account for this, and give him his due credit.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Dwight Freeney $13.35 million $4,750,000 35.6%
Chris Clemons $22 million $10,000,000 45.5%
Osi Umenyiora $8.5 million $3,750,000 44.1%
Cory Redding $10.5 million $2,675,000 25.5%
Adjusted Regression 45.43%

Length of the Contract
At 33, the going length of a deal for a defensive player seems to be 2 years (quickly assessing our archives). This is also what our age-adjusted formula provides us - so we'll use it for this forecast. Note: It may take a 3rd year to keep Smith in San Francisc, not to mention to reduce the annual cap figure.

Value of the Contract
Smiths' statistical percentages, even against players younger than him, turned out to be fantastic numbers in terms of negotiating leverage. He's still playing at a very high level entering his 13th season in the NFL and should be considered for the maximum value we can pulll from this formula. When adding in the prime percentage of 20.62%, the following forecast was determined:

Spotrac's Prediction: 2 years, $13,101,188
  •  Average annual salary: $6,550,594
  •  Guaranteed: $5,951,869 (45.43%)