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Contract Forecast: Josh Freeman

Contract Forecast: Josh Freeman
Untitled Document

Contract Forecast: Josh Freeman

The start of the 2013 NFL season hasn't exactly gone according to plan in Tampa Bay. And the root of the turmoil most certainly falls on the unreliability, immaturity, and considerable underperformance from their young quarterback Josh Freeman. Freeman entered the season as one of the "players to watch", with his 5 year $26 million rookie contract set to expire. But a slow start, and multiple on and off field incidents have driven the Freeman nearly out of town, with rumors of trades, benchings, etc flying around the wires.

We'll put dramatics aside and run Freeman through our projection tool to forecast his value as a quarterback, and what numbers could and should look like if a new contract were to be in the picture.

Comparable Quarterbacks
To generate a prediction the Spotrac team determined that the following quarterbacks were viable targets to use in comparing with Freeman. The key was to locate players with similar numbers, who signed their second contract around the current age of Freeman. 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
Mark Sanchez 5 $58,250,000 $11,650,000 25
Jay Cutler 5 $50,370,000 $10,074,000 26
Matt Schaub 6 $48,000,000 $8,000,000 26
Matthew Stafford 5 $76,500,000 $15,300,000 25
Averages 5 $62,817,500 $12,563,500 25.5
Freeman is just 25 years old, the standard age for a sophomore contract extension in the modern era. 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.

View the list of Top Average Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL
Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
4 $49,789,538 $12,446,384
Statistical Analyzations
Now let's analyze these players statistically over their careers by showing the averages for Games/Season, Passing Yards/Season, Passing TD/Season, Passing INT/Season, and Completion %/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.
Player Games Yards Comp% TD INT
Mark Sanchez (2010-11, NYJ) 16 3382.5 55.8 21.6 15.5
Matt Schaub (2010-11, HOU) 13 3424 62.3 19.5 9
Jay Cutler (2007-08, DEN) 16 4011.5 62.95 22.5 16
Matthew Stafford (2011-12, DET) 16 5002.5 61.65 30.5 16.5
Averages 15.25 3955 60.675 23.5 14.25
Josh Freeman (2011-12, TB) 15.5 3828 58.8 21.5 19.5
% Difference 2% -3% -3% -9% -27%
There's really no way around the numbers here. Freeman is slightly to greatly underperforming in all major statistical quarterback categories - even when comparing to 3rd-tier players in the league as we're doing for the most part here. We stack him up against Stafford as a way to guage his comparisons with a modern "above-average" QB, but clearly he doesn't belong in this category. The -40% is the lowest prime percentage we've assessed to date in our projection series. We'll apply it across the board below.
Guaranteed Money
Freeman has been durable in his tenure in Tampa, averaging 15.5 games per season thus far. But in terms of wins and improvement the numbers aren't behind him. We'll find the average guaranteed dollars from our variable QBs, and factor in his prime percentage to adjust accordingly.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Mark Sanchez $58,250,000 $20,500000 35.19%
Matt Schaub $66,150,000 $29,150,000 44.07%
Jay Cutler $50,370,000 $20,000,000 39.71%
Matthew Staffford $76,500,000 $33,500,000 43.79%
Average Guaranteed 41.05%
Adjusted Regression (x -40%) 24.63%
Length of the Contract
He may only be 25 years old, but Freeman won't be in the discussion for any of the maximum long-term deals being signed by some of his colleagues in recent. From a regression standpoint the recommended length of contract for this deal should be 3.25 years. We'll be fair and round it up to 4.

Value of the Contract
Our base/unadjusted contract ($12,446,384 per year) is probably fairly close to where many saw him headed this offseason. But the stats don't nearly hold up to that merit. An efficient finish to 2013 can certainly help him climb back into that kind of discussion but for now our projections find him well short.
Spotrac's Prediction: 4 years, $30,381,994
Average annual salary $7,595,498, estimated $7.48 million guaranteed

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