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Contract Forecast: Julio Jones

Contract Forecast: Julio Jones
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UPDATED Contract Forecast: Julio Jones

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The recent signings of Dez Bryant (DAL), Demaryius Thomas (DEN), and now T.Y. Hilton (IND) have done well to pave the way for the next batch of elite receivers in need of a contract, first and foremost, Falcons Julio Jones. Jones is set to play out his $10.176M 5th year option in 2015, and could be a candidate for the franchise tag in 2016 should a new deal not be put into place. All signs point to an extension getting done, but with recent signing trends now in place, the numbers are certainly going to be inflated.

We'll do the math on just how high the figures have gotten, calculating the current value for Julio Jones based on his past two years of production, and comparing him to a variable set of receivers who have recently signed new deals.

Comparable Wide Receivers
We've selected a variable set of receivers to compare Jones to in terms of production. 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
Dez Bryant 5 $70,000,000 $14,000,000 26
Demaryius Thomas 5 $70,000,000 $14,000,000 27
T.Y. Hilton 5 $65,000,000 $13,000,000 25
Mike Wallace 5 $60,000,000 $12,000,000 26
Averages 5 $66,250,000 $13,250,000 26

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 Jones will likely be 27 years old at the time of his next contract, we'll adjust the above contracts up/down to normalize them as if they also signed their deals at age 27. 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 $66,764,706 $13,352,941
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 per Game, Receiving Yards per Game, Yards of Catch per Game and Touchdowns per Year.
Dez Bryant (13-14, DAL) 16 5.625 79.8 9.25 .906
Demaryius Thomas (13-14, DEN) 16 6.375 95.3 10.18 .78
T.Y. Hilton (13-14, IND) 15.5 5.29 78.3 8.7 .38
Mike Wallace (11-12, PIT) 15.5 4.38 65.6 7.51 .51
Averages 15.88 5.42 80.78 8.96 .71
Julio Jones (13-14, ATL) 10 7.2 108.7 11.1 .4
% Difference -36.51 32.90 36.3% 24.55% -37.89%
Jones certainly holds up against our variables, with a slight decrease in terms of games played due to injury, and touchdowns scored. We'll factor in both the Average and Median percentages to show a range projection below.
Guaranteed Money
We'll factor in our variable wide receiver's guaranteed dollars to forecast what Jones might expect.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Dez Bryant  $70,000,000 $45,000,000 64.29%
Demaryius Thomas  $70,000,000 $43,500,000 62.14%
T.Y. Hilton $65,000,000 $39,000,000 60%
Mike Wallace $60,000,000 $27,000,000 45%
Adjusted Regression: 62.14%

Length of the Contract
Now 26 years old, Jones is likely looking at a 5 year deal, replacing the 5th year option he's currently sitting on for the 2015 season. This deal should tack on 5 new years, carrying him through the 2020 season, at 31 years of age.

Value of the Contract
Outside a few nagging injuries, Julio has held up well to the impossible standards he was brought into the league by when the Falcons traded two first round picks to jump up and select him. He's productively solid across the board, a Top 5 receiver in the league, and extremely valuable to the Falcons' offense going forward. When Factoring in our previously determined Prime Percentages, we're left with the following:

Low Value (Hometown Discount)
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (3.87%)
5 years, $69,348,500 | $13,869,700 per year | $41,600,000 guaranteed
High Value
Utilizing our Median Prime Percentage (24.55%), we've given a slightly bigger forecast:
5 years, $83,155,000 | $16,631,000 per year | $49,800,000 guaranteed

We'll split the difference here and calculate the new money value for Julio Jones' extension to be:

Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $76,250,000
Average annual salary $15,250,000, estimated $48,800,000 guaranteed

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