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Contract Forecast: Marcell Dareus

Contract Forecast: Marcell Dareus
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Contract Forecast: Marcell Dareus

He's found himself in trouble off the field more than once in his four seasons with the Bills, but the fact of the matter is, Marcell Dareus is a talented player entering the final year of his rookie contract. Buffalo exercised his 5th year option last spring, which accounts for $8.06M against their cap currently. Dareus will find himself on the sidelines for week 1 of the 2015 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy last May. He was also charged with reckless driving in a separate incident that month, though it appears this will be his only discipline.

Nonetheless, it appears the Bills and Dareus' camp are slowly making their way toward officially negotiating a long-term deal to keep him in Buffalo for the next few years. We'll assess Dareus' current value, comparing his statistical production over the past two seasons against players of similar performance and age, to assess what his extension might look like going forward.
Comparable Defensive Tackles

We've located four defensive tackles of similar age and production who signed contracts in recent years. 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
Geno Atkins 5 $53,327,000 $10,665,400 25
Ndamukong Suh 6 $114,375,000 $19,062,500 28
Jurrell Casey 4 $36,000,000 $9,000,000 24
Gerald McCoy 6 $95,200,000 $15,866,667 26
Averages 5.25 $74,725,500 $14,233,428 25.75

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 Tackles in the NFL

Because Dareus (25) is both younger and older than our variables at the time of their signings, we'll adjust the above contracts up/down to make each variable player 25 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)
6 $97,652,348 $16,275,391

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/G, Tackles/G, QB Hurries/G, and Stops/G.

Player Games SAcks Tackles QB Hurries Stops
Geno Atkins (12-13, CIN) 12.5 .74 1.92 2.76 2.24
Ndamukong Suh (13-14, DET) 16 .44 2.5 2.84 2.22
Jurrell Casey (13-14, TEN) 15.5 .5 2.68 2.16 2.81
Gerald McCoy (13-14, TB) 14.5 .6 2.17 2.86 2
Averages 14.63 .57 2.32 2.66 2.32
Marcell Dareus (13-14, BUF) 15.5 .52 2.58 2.16 2.81
% Difference 5.95% -8.77% 11.21% -18.8% 21.12%

Dareus is right on par here for the most part, down a bit in terms of sacks, but more efficient in terms of his run stop ability (a role he's asked much more from in a dynamic Bills defense). He's shown over the past few years that he can be utilized both in the pass rush and the run stop formation, and he's excelled in both areas. We'll carry through his Median and Average Prime Percentages into our formula below.

Guaranteed Money

Dareus has been both troublesome off the field, including a pending 1-game suspension to start 2015, so red flags do exist when it comes to guaranteeing dollars in full.

Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Geno Atkins $53,327,000 $15,000,000 28.1%
Ndamukong Suh $114,375,000 $59,955,000 52.4%
Gerald McCoy $95,200,000 $51,500,000 54.1%
Jurrell Casey $36,000,000 $20,500,000 57%
Adjusted Regression 48%


Length of the Contract
Our base figures average out to a 6 year deal, and at 25 years old (and with a lot of money to spread out here), that seems appropriate. We'll assume a 6 year extension, tacked on to his current 5th year option for 2015.

Value of the Contract
Our base contract figures provided a deal averaging just above $16.2M per season, a number that would rank him 2nd among all NFL defensive tackles. When including our prime percentages (both of which he achieved positive values for), we're given the following:

Low Value (Hometown Discount)
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (+2.1%), we're provided with a contract averaging $16.6M per year,.
6 years, $99,744,061  | $16,624,010  per year | $47,000,000 guaranteed
Maximum Value
Utilizing our Median Prime Percentage (5.95%), we're provided with a contract averaging more than $17.2M per year - halfway between Suh and McCoy.
6 years, $103,462,663  | $17,243,777  per year | $50,000,000 guaranteed

In Comparison & Final Thoughts
Our projection at the beginning of the offseason saw an AAV of just over $15.5M per year. In waiting, and letting the market around him improve, Dareus' value has increase nearly $1.5M per year on average. It should also be noted that the franchise tag value for DTs in 2016 is projecting at around $12M right, so the Bills do have a bit of leverage here in terms of this mechanism. Neither side should be concerned too much with the AAV of this contract. The tougher variable for the Bills will be squeezing about $50M of this deal into the 1st three years (Suh got $60M, McCoy received $40M). And from there, the toughest element to this contract should be the fully guaranteed portion. With off-the-field antics piling up, the Bills should have enough leverage to dial back from the recent slew of 50-55% guarantees.

Spotrac's Calculated Projection: 6 years, $101,400,000
  •  Average annual salary: $16,900,000
  •  Guaranteed: $48,675,000 (48%)