The Alex Smith Injury
The Redskins’ playoff hopes took a major hit when franchise QB Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury against the surging Houston Texans. Smith is of course in year 1 of a 5 year, $111M contract in Washington. He’s earning $40M of that this year, and is locked in for $71M over the next three seasons - all of which is guaranteed for injury. The Redskins’ have a potential out after the 2020 season ($13.5M of dead cap). There’s no timetable for Smith’s return yet, but a full comeback for an injury of this stature to a 34-year-old will be a tough road.
Related: Alex Smith’s Contract Breakdown
NBA Free Agency
As the NBA season rounds into form (though still just a blur until Christmas for many), the focus will soon shift to players with expiring contracts, or available opt-outs. Here’s a quick look at a few notable players at each position who are eyeing the open market next July.
- Kemba Walker, CHA, 29
- Ricky Rubio, UTH, 28
- Derrick Rose, MIN, 30
- Kyrie Irving, BOS, 27 (player option)
- Goran Dragic, MIA, 33, (player option)
- Klay Thompson, GSW, 29
- J.J. Redick, PHI, 35
- Wesley Matthews, DAL, 32
- Jimmy Butler, PHI, 30 (player option)
- Tobias Harris, LAC, 27
- Rudy Gay, SAS, 33
- Kevin Durant, GSW, 31 (player option)
- Kawhi Leonard, TOR, 28 (player option)
- Harrison Barnes, DAL, 27 (player option)
- Nikola Vucevic, ORL, 28
- Enes Kanter, NYK, 27
- Al Horford, BOS, 33 (player option)
- Hassan Whiteside, MIA, 30 (player option)
- Marc Gasol, MEM, 34 (player option)
Defensive Spending vs. Production
The Rams are spending $119M cash on their defense in 2018, second only to the Bears this season, but the return on investment hasn’t exactly been great. For the most part, LA is 9-1 because they can outscore the rest of the league, not shut them down. In fact, according to Football Outsiders, the Rams’ defense ranks somewhere around 20th in the league across a few of their advanced metrics, a figure that may continue to decline after a Monday night battle with the Chiefs this week.
The Saints, conversely, have spent a few years shedding a lot of expensive weight on the defensive side of the ball, investing high draft picks, cutting a few notable veterans, etc… The $67.5M cash they’re spending on their defense ranks 21st in the league.
For what it’s worth, the Baltimore Ravens are currently the “best-value” defense in football, including a payroll of just $65.3M (24th), but ranked 6th among FO figures currently.
Trade Winds in Queens
With $92.5M already allocated to just 7 players on the 2019 roster thus far, the Mets and new GM Brodie Van Wagenen are staring down a complicated offseason, with minimal dollars to spend. All signs point to one major piece of the puzzle being shopped this winter, and while the grand prize for many teams would be NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, it appears the more probable candidate could be Noah Syndergaard. Multiple teams have reportedly shown interest for the 26 year old flame thrower, who has 3 years of arbitration eligibility remaining before his big pay day is needed.
The Mets have already indicated that whomever is traded this offseason, the return they’re seeking is not a pool of prospects, rather MLB-ready players who can slot into this financial locked-in payroll, and push the Mets back up the NL East in 2019.