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UPDATED Contract Forecast: Dez Bryant

UPDATED Contract Forecast: Dez Bryant
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UPDATED Contract Forecast: Dez Bryant

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With a fairly quiet free agent season, and a few cap-casualtly releases (WR Miles Austin, DE Demarcus Ware), the Cowboys have done well to dig themselves out from under the team-building salary cap hole they've been pinned into for the better part of 3 seasons. As we head into the "lull" season of the NFL, one of the next items on the franchise's to-do list should be the long-term signing of their breakout wide receiver Dez Bryant, whose 5 year $11.81M rookie contract is set to expire after the 2014 season.

A previous projection by our premium team (a little more than a year ago) forecasted Bryant into a 5 year, $67.2M extension in Dallas. With a healthy and productive 2013 now in the books, it's safe to assume that number has increased slightly. We'll run Bryant through our projection formula, now utilizing statistics from the 2012 & 2013 seasons, to predict what the Cowboys should be putting in front of him this offseason.

Comparable Wide Receivers
Now 25 (will be 26 in November) years old, Bryant is a bit younger in comparison to many star receivers who sign extensions with their respective teams. We've collected a new list of variable wide receivers to stack Bryant up against. 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
Calvin Johnson 7 $113,445,000 $16,207,857 26
Andre Johnson 7 $67,800,000 $9,685,714 28
Larry Fitzgerald 7 $113,000,000 $16,142,857 27
Mike Wallace 5 $60,000,000 $12,000,000 26
Averages 6.5 $88,563,750 $13,509,107 26.75

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 Wide Receivers in the NFL

Because Bryant (25) is younger than all of our variables at the times of their signings, we'll adjust the above contracts down to his age by adding to the overall years 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 $86,846,512 $14,474,418

Statistical Analyzations, Prime Percentage
Now let's analyze these players statistically in the year prior to signing their second contract by comparing Games Played, Receptions/Year, Receiving Yards/Year, Receiving Yards/Game, and Receiving TDs between our variables and Bryant.
Calvin Johnson (2010-11, DET) 15.5 86.5 1400.5 90.4 14
Andre Johnson (2008-09, HOU) 16 108 1572 98.3 8.5
Larry Fitzgerald (2009-10, ARI) 16 94 1114 69.7 9.5
Mike Wallace (2011-12, PIT) 15.5 68 987.5 65.45 8
Averages 15.75 89.125 1268.5 80.9 10
Dez Bryant (2012-13, DAL) 16 92.5 1307.5 81.7 12.5
% Difference 1.59% 3.79% 3.07% .91% 25%

Bryant not only belongs in this company, he slightly exceeds that average combined stats of our variable receivers. He'll be given positive checks across the board in terms of durability, consistency, annual improvement, and the ability to find the end zone. 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 Dez Bryant could expect.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Calvin Johnson $113,455,000 $46,755,000 41.2%
Andre Johnson $67,800,000 $15,000,000 22.1%
Mike Wallace $60,000,000 $27,000,000 45%
Larry Fitzgerald $113,000,000 $27,000,000 23.9%
Adjusted Regression: 29.1%

Length of the Contract
Our variable receiver contracts averaged out to 6.5 years. At age 25, it's fair to assume that both Bryant and the Cowboys won't want to take this contract past the age of 30 - so we'll round down to an even 5 year extension.

Value of the Contract
Bryant has overcome a few off-the-field hiccups and has settled into one of the premier receiving targets in the NFL. He broke out in 2012, and followed up with an even better and more consistent 2013. He's shown talent, durability, and the ability to score. We'll break out our MEDIAN and AVERAGE figures:

Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (3.07%), we're forecasting Bryant as the 3rd highest average paid WR:
5 years, $68,969,972 | $13,793,994 per year | $22,107,000 guaranteed
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage ( 6.87%), we're forecasting Bryant as the 3rd highest average paid WR:
5 years, $71,512,767 | $14,302,553 per year | $22,239,000 guaranteed

We'll split the difference to offer the best-value forecast for Bryant's next contract:
Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $70,241,370

Average Salary:  $14,048,274

Guaranteed Money:  $22,173,727

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