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While big numbers are easily tossed around when a new NFL contract is announced, there are a few specific metrics that we make note of on a regular basis that should become the most important figures to look out for these days. We’ll take a look at two of those below.

Percent of League Cap

One of the more common metrics noted when discussing contracts across all major sports is the Average Annual Salary (AAV). While this is an easy number to get to, because of the lack of fully guaranteed money in the NFL, it’s not the best metric to factor. 

But when we compare a contract’s AAV to the league salary cap in the year it was signed, we’re given a nice look at just how “impactful” the total contract might be. We’ve assessed contracts signed over the last three seasons by position to show where each stands in terms of Percent of League Cap.

QB M. Ryan (16.93%) M. Stafford (16.17%) A. Luck (15.84%)
RB J. McKinnon (4.23%) D. Freeman (4.94%) L. Miller (4.19%)
WR M. Evans (9.31%) A. Brown (10.18%) D. Baldwin (7.41%)
TE J. Graham (5.64%) J. Gresham (4.19%) T. Kelce (6.03%)
OT N. Solder (8.75%) R. Okung (7.93%) T. Armstead (8.37%)
OG A. Norwell (7.51%) K. Zeitler (7.19%) K. Osemele (7.54%)
OC R. Jensen (5.93%) B. Linder (6.1%) T. Frederick (6%)
DT S. Lotulelei (5.64%) K. Short (9.64%) F. Cox (11.01%)
EDGE N. Bradham (4.51%) C. Jones (9.8%) V. Miller (12.2%)
ILB E. Kendricks (5.64%) A. Ogletree (6.4%) M. Barron (5.8%)
CB T. Johnson (8.18%) X. Rhodes (8.4%) J. Norman (9.6%)
S T. Mathieu (3.95%) E. Berry (7.78%) H. Smith (6.6%)
K G. Gano (2.4%) M. Prater (2.2%) J. Tucker (2.7%)
P T. Morstead (2.2%) J. Hekker (2.1%) S. Martin (2.2%)


Percent Guaranteed at Signing

Kirk Cousins broke the mold this past free agency by penning a fully guaranteed 3 year contract in Minnesota. But the most important factor to note is that the guarantees all come upfront - no matter the outcome. His $84M is locked in stone (barring a suspension or sudden retirement of course). 

This level of financial stability is one of the most important items to note when looking at new NFL contracts. Not just the dollars guaranteed, but the percent of the contract that is guaranteed at signing. We’ve broken out the leaders by position over the past few years, for contracts of at least 3 years in length. View the Top Guaranteed Money

QB K. Cousins (100%) M. Stafford (44.8%) J. Flacco (66.2%)
RB R. Burkhead (56.4%) D. Freeman (42%) L. Miller (53.85%)
WR S. Watkins (62.5%) D. Jackson (59.7%) C. Hogan (62.5%)
TE T. Burton (56.25%) V. Davis (50%) V. McDonald (46.3%)
OT N. Solder (56.13%) K. Beachum (50%) J. Barksdale (47.3%)
OG P. Omameh (67%) TJ Lang (66.6%) K. Long (45%)
OC R. Jensen (52.3%) S. Wisniewski (43.9%) M. Unger (47.5%)
DT J. Ellis (46.3%) B. Williams (46.6%) M. Brockers (54.5%)
EDGE D. Jones (66.6%) A. Branch (70%) B. Irvin (51.3%)
ILB A. Williamson (71.1%) A. Ogletree (49.9%) B. Marshall (47.04%)
CB P. Amukamara (66.6%) C. Munnerlyn (50.29%) J. Norman (48.6%)
S B. McDougald (40.7%) T. Jefferson (55.8%) D. Stewart (46.4%)
K C. Parkey (60%) B. McManus (53.3%) J. Tucker (64.2%)
P T. Morstead (55.95%) C. Jones (51.72%) R. Allen (49.18%)

» Track all NFL Contract Breakdowns