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Financially Assessing the 2017 NFL Trade Deadline

Financially Assessing the 2017 NFL Trade Deadline


The Bills and Panthers offered a surprise finish to the 2017 NFL Trade Deadline, as Carolina sent their former #1 pick Kelvin Benjamin north to Buffalo. Benjamin brings with him a modest $529,411 salary for the remainder of 2017, and an $8.459M 5th-year option in 2018. He leaves behind $1.9M in dead cap to the Panthers, who clearly had no intentions of extending the #28 overall selection in 2014. The Bills now have 6 wide receivers on their active roster for a combined $5.3M in cap; incredible value as they push toward the playoffs for the first time since cellphones had color screens.



In what will certainly go down as the surprise move of the week, the Patriots shipped backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo to the winless 49ers in return for a 2nd round pick in 2018. Garoppolo will likely take the starting reigns in the next few weeks, hoping to establish himself as the QB of the future in SF. His rookie contract will expire after 2017, meaning the 49ers will need to extend or franchise tag Garoppolo to keep him in the fold.

Garoppolo brings over just $434,158 in salary for the remainder of the 2017 season, which barely puts a dent in the $60M+ cap space the Niners have built up in the past few months. A 2018 franchise tag is likely to represent a salary north of $23M based on current salary cap projections. In terms of a long-term extension, it’s always tough to evaluate players with such small resumes (225 snaps, 94 pass attempts), but there have been two backup quarterbacks in recent term who were signed via free agency to compete for a starting role elsewhere:

 Including projected rollover from this year, the 49ers appear inline to own more than $100M in salary cap space for the 2018 season.



With Russell Wilson and co. finally breaking out of their funk and the defense as stout as ever, the Seahawks addressed their one glaring need in acquiring Duane Brown from the Houston Texans. Seattle takes on a $4,976,471 salary for the remainder of 2017, and for now, a $9.75M salary in 2018 – though reports have come out that a new deal is forthcoming. Because of his holdout, the Texans are only on the hook for one week of pay, or $552,941 in dead cap.

Houston was set to receive CB  Jeremy Lane, a 2018 5th round pick, and a 2019 2nd round pick - but Lane failed his physically, voiding the compensation. When finalized, Houston sent a 5th round pick next year to Seattle, receiving a 3rd round pick in 2018, and a 2nd round pick in 2019 in return. 

So the Seahawks add $4.9M in new that will be offset by a salary restructure from QB Russell Wilson - and a move still to come.



The Jaguars made a clear statement to the NFL world that they are all in with their 4-3 start for the 2017. The Bills signed Dareus to a 6 year, $96.5M contract back in 2015, which including a $25M signing bonus, a $7M 2nd-year bonus, and $26M in guaranteed salaries through the 2018 season. The trade leaves Buffalo with dead cap hits of $10.6M in 2017, and $14.2M in 2018, which represents cap savings of $5.7M/$2.375M respectively.

Dareus brings salaries of $5.7M, $10.1M, $11.5M, $14.6M, and $14.65M with him to Jacksonville. It’s important to note that the $7.35M guaranteed to him in 2018 are the last guarantees on the deal, meaning the Jaguars can cut ties with Marcell after 2018 for $0 in dead cap.

Including rollovers, he Bills currently stand with just north of $40M in 2018, while the Jaguars sit with around $33M.



The Eagles solidified their stance atop the NFC by acquiring RB Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins in return for a 4th round pick in 2018. The former 5th-rounder was playing on a mininmum $615,000 salary. He brings $325,588 of that with him to Philly, leaving dead cap hits of $344,614 & $55,204 to the Dolphins in 2017/2018. His $705,000 salary/cap figure for 2018 should be great value for the Eagles.



In one of the quieter moves, the New York Jets brought in cornerback Rashard Robinson from the 49ers. San Francisco drafted him in the 4th round back in 2016, and they’ll gain a 5th round selection next year for the trade. Robinson brings salaries of $285k, $630,000, & $720,000 to New York, with 0 dead cap to go with it.



The Cardinals got the trade season off to a fast start when they acquiring Peterson from the Saints, who had little to no role through the first few weeks of 2017. New Orleans takes on dead cap hits of $1.5M in 2017, & $1.25M in 2018 for Peterson’s 5 weeks with the club, while the Cardinals acquire salaries of $705,882 in 2017, & $3.5M in 2018.
Should the Cardinals want to move on from Peterson after 2017, they’ll have to do so before the 3rd league day of 2018, when a $750,000 roster bonus is due. Until then, Peterson holds no dead cap for 2018. Arizona may be in for a major rebuild next season.