Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a trend in which the offensive linemen in NFL continue to be paid a premium in free agency, while the market for inside linebackers went through a major reset.
When the free agent signing period got opened on March 13, all the NFL teams started spending their money quite liberally…
The Stars of the Show
In a time when the contracts are commonly not fully guaranteed, like in the NBA for example, it is still refreshing to see yet another massively big contract signed!
The running back star Le’Veon Bell signed a new contract with the New York Jets, and it’s basically a four-year deal for $52.5 million. Out of the whole sum, there’s $35 million of guaranteed money (out of which there are $8 million as the signing bonus), while the whole contract with all the bonuses and incentives is worth $61 million.
If we take a moment to consider his average salary per year, we’ll come to the conclusion that he’s getting $13.13 million per 12-month period, and that puts him right at the second place on the list of top earning running backs. Number one is Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams with his average yearly salary of $14.37.
What’s With the Metrics?
Even though the total compensation and average yearly salary are the top popular metrics that always grab the headlines and get the fans pumped up, in all honesty, these are actually the least meaningful…
AND WHY IS THAT?!
Simply put, because there are much more important, key contract metrics, such as the amount of guaranteed money, especially when signing or vesting occurs early.
Another extremely important number you should be looking at is the compensation that takes place in the early years of each and every multi-year deal.
If we take this fashion into account, and get back to the contract that Le’Veon Bell signed recently, we might end up with a slightly different perspective…
Le’Veon Bell has signed his four-year deal with a three year cash flow of $39.5 million. When he’d signed the contract he set a veteran running back all-time record, at least when we’re talking about the amount of money fully guaranteed at signing. In this case that’s a whopping $27 million.
Still, the global star didn’t really make any significant changes to the market as he repeatedly claimed he will.
All things considered, the earliest realistic exit point for Le’Veon Bell is 2021, and at that point he will have earned $28 million, a full million above the amount fully guaranteed at signing.
This is still a long way from Aaron Rodgers for example, the Packers’ quarterback who has an annual salary of $33.5 million and $103 million as the guaranteed amount.