Let me start this off by saying that I don't usually write FanPosts, but it's quiet at work and I figured I'd give it a shot. I am also not even close to an expert on contracts, cap situations, or what is considered reasonable from a value stand point. I'll leave the cap talk to zen_bills.
I wanted to right this FanPost because there has been so much back and forth about Jairus Byrd and what he and agent Eugene Parker demanded from the Bills, as well as what the Bills offered Byrd. From what I am aware, nothing has been made public about official numbers, and everything has been pure speculation.
What we know:
We know from numerous reports that Byrd and Parker wanted Byrd to be the top paid safety in the league. We know that the Bills offered top five, maybe even top three, money for the safety position. But as we all know, they couldn't reach an agreement. Why? We may never actually know.
I want this fan post to create a discussion for what you would offer Byrd if you were the decision maker at OBD. How many years would you offer? How much would you offer? And how much guaranteed money would you pay out? For discussions sake, I'm not going to worry about incentives in the contract or how the cap hit will be spread out. We are just talking possible money that is paid out to Byrd.
I did a little googling and research to give you all some ideas about what the other top safety contracts currently look like and when they were signed. This can give you some perspective on when the offers were made, the length of the contract, and the guaranteed portion of the contract. You should assume that contracts signed now are going to be more than they were a few years ago (this is just how the system works; just look at the contracts QBs are signing now compared to just a couple years ago).
I got all contract info from spotrac.com and I got the actual full numbers and year they signed from just googling the players name + contract.
Troy Polamalu - Polamalu signed a 4 year extension in the fall of 2011. He was given a $36.5 mil contract with $10.55 mil guaranteed. His contract is basically $9.125 mil per year. He signed the contract when he was 30 years old.
Eric Weddle - Weddle signed a 5 year contract in the summer or 2011. He was given a $40 mil contract with $19 mil guaranteed. His contract comes out to $8 mil per year. He signed the contract when he was 26 years old.
Dashon Goldson - Goldson signed a 5 year contract in the spring of 2013. He was given a $41.25 mil contract with $18 mil guaranteed. His contract comes out to $8.25 mil per year. He signed the contract when he was 28 years old.
I am going to ignore the Eric Berry contract as he is still playing on his rookie contract and this was back in the day when there was no rookie wage scale at the draft like there is today. Just so people don't rag on me that I'm leaving it out, he got a 6 year $50 mil ($25.7 guaranteed) contract.
These are the top safety contracts in the NFL, and I felt this was more than enough info to put together my own offer.
What would I offer Byrd?
Given all the information above and knowing the supposed demands from Byrd and his agent, I wanted to come up with a contract that I thought was both fair to Byrd (who has easily outplayed his rookie contract) and the Bills.
Jarius Byrd is 26 years old about to be 27 in the fall. As far as age and heading into his prime, he is right in the middle of when Weddle and Goldson signed their contracts. We all know Buddy Nix's famous line of scouting and drafting from within and then signing and keeping the drafted talent. Because I want the Bills to make sure they lock up elite talent that was drafted by the team, I would offer Byrd a 6 year contract. This would take him to his 32nd birthday and it would lock up an elite safety for a time period in which I believe the Bills are hoping to make their run at a Super Bowl.
Using the other three safeties contracts, I would offer Byrd a 6 year deal for $51 mil with $23 mil guaranteed. This would put Byrd at $8.5 mil a year, which is higher than both Weddle and Goldson, but less than Polamalu. Polamalu's contract is only for 4 years and he signed the contract when he was 30. I don't think the his per year amount should be heavily weighed in when comparing numbers. Byrd's guaranteed portion of $23 mil seems high, but when you compare it to Weddle and Goldson it comes to just about the same percentage of the total contract.
Weddle - 19/40 = 47.5%
Goldson - 18/41.25 = 43.6%
Byrd - 23/51 = 45.1%
I believe a contract like this is more than fair to a player like Byrd, who he is entering his prime. He is getting more money than Goldson, who just signed his contract this year. His guaranteed portion is the top of all safeties. When you look at his per year cost, he is below Polamalu, but above both Weddle and Goldson. For the Bills, you have just locked in your star safety for 6 years, and you are doing it for only $1.6 mil more than the franchise tender ($6.9 mil) you tagged Byrd with. When it comes to managing your money and how previous contracts have been paid out to other players (Kelsey, Merriman, and Anderson come to mind), paying $1.6 million more to one of your franchise players is something I could deal with this year to keep one of my own rising stars.
How would you feel about this contract? What would you do differently? This is my first ever go at doing something like this. I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback.
- Stay classy San Diego