Seahawks Insider

McIntyre: A closer look at Hawks’ contracts

Post by Eric Williams on Aug. 26, 2011 at 9:39 am with 24 Comments »
August 26, 2011 10:24 am
Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson throws to Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice at the start of practice at the Seahawks practice facility in Renton, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011.

Editor’s note: Brian McIntyre regularly covers the Seattle Seahawks and the rest of the NFL on his own football blog, and has graciously agreed to provide his weekly personnel files and analysis on player contracts on the Seahawks here on a semi-regular basis. McIntyre also is a staff writer for Football Outsiders.

Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac’s Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you’d like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.

By Brian McIntyre
The first unrestricted free agent the Seahawks added was quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who agreed to a two-year, $8 million contract that immediately drew comparisons to Charlie Whitehurst’s deal from last March. While Whitehurst’s contract was technically a one-year, $6.8 million extension – Whitehurst had signed a one-year restricted free agent tender worth $1.176 million before the trade – the structures of the deals for the two quarterbacks are nearly identical.

Whitehurst received a $2 million roster bonus and $2 million base salary in 2010, with a $4 million base salary in 2011 and $1 million in incentives in each year of the contract. Jackson received a $1.5 million signing bonus and will receive a $500,000 roster bonus if he’s on the 53-man roster for Week One. Jackson has base salaries of $2 million in 2011 and $4 million in 2012, with $2.05 million in individual and team performance incentives available between the two years ($1 million in 2011, $1.05 million in 2012).

Jackson’s former teammate Sidney Rice struck it big with a five-year, $41 million contract that includes $15 million in fully guaranteed money at the time of signing. Rice received a $6 million signing bonus and $2 million guaranteed base salary in 2011, and his $7 million base salary in 2012 is also fully guaranteed – $3.5 million of Rice’s $8.5 million base salary in 2013 is guaranteed for injury only.

Rice is scheduled to receive $23.5 million over the all-important first three years of the deal, which includes an additional $3 million in base salary escalators tied to Pro Bowls, an event no Seahawks receiver has participated in since 1989. (When Rice was two years old)

Seattle hopes to have another Pro Bowl pass-catcher in tight end Zach Miller, who signed a five-year, $34 million contract that includes $13 million in fully guaranteed money at the time of signing. Miller received $5 million to sign, and his $2 million 2011 and $6 million 2012 salaries are fully guaranteed.

Miller is due $6.8 million in base salary in 2013, of which $4 million is guaranteed for injury only. If Miller is on the roster on the 5th day of the 2012 league year – and it’s highly unlikely that he won’t be – the $4 million becomes fully guaranteed. Miller also has $6 million in roster bonuses from 2013-15, with cascading base salaries on the back end of the deal. ($4.8 million in 2014, $2.8 million in 2015)

Left guard Robert Gallery signed a three-year, $15 million contract that included a $1 million signing bonus and a fully guaranteed $4 million base salary in 2011. Gallery has $5 million base salaries in both 2012 and 2013. If Gallery is named to a Pro Bowl in 2011 and 2012, he will earn a $1.5 million roster bonus on the second day of the following league year.

On the defensive side of the ball, the big-ticket free agent item was the base salary-heavy re-signing of defensive tackle Brandon Mebane. The five-year, $25 million extension includes a $1 million signing bonus and $4 million in fully guaranteed base salaries in 2011 and 2012. Mebane’s base salaries in the final three seasons are $5 million (2013) and $5.5 million (2014-15).

Defensive lineman Alan Branch received a two-year, $7 million contract that included a $500,000 signing bonus and a fully guaranteed base salary of $2.5 million in 2011 and $3 million in 2012. $1 million of Branch’s base salary in 2012 is fully guaranteed, bringing the total guarantee of the deal to $4 million. Branch also has a $500,000 roster bonus and $500,000 workout bonus in 2012 and can earn up to $1 million in playing-time incentives over the duration of the contract.

Defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson received a $100,000 signing bonus to go with his $1 million base salary, with an additional $400,000 available in playing-time and sacks incentives. Linebacker Leroy Hill’s one-year deal includes a $100,000 signing bonus, $685,000 base salary, and $50,000 in per game ($3,125) roster bonuses along with $165,000 in playing-time incentives. Cornerback Kelly Jennings received a $200,000 signing bonus and a $1.8 million base salary.

Rookie Breakdown

Had the NFL and NFL Players Association not revamped the rookie compensation system this offseason, the Seahawks and representatives for 25th overall pick James Carpenter would have been negotiating off of the deal that last year’s 25th pick, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, received. The base value of that contract was $11.25 million over five seasons, but with $8.7 million in guaranteed money, with Tebow received a mini “quarterback premium” in terms of base salary escalation that pumped the total maximum value of the deal to $33 million.

With the process simplified to four-year contracts for all draft picks (with a fifth-year option for first-round picks), the Seahawks got Carpenter under contract in a matter of days. Carpenter’s four-year contract is worth $7.641 million and includes a $4.057 million signing bonus.

The base salaries in the first three years – $375,000 in 2011, $722,341 in 2012, and $1,069,682 in 2013 – are fully guaranteed, bringing the total guarantee to $6.224 million. Carpenter has a non-guaranteed base salary of $1.417 million in 2014.

Third-round offensive lineman John Moffitt received a $637,500 signing bonus as part of his four-year, $2.895 million contract. Moffitt will play for the league minimum base salary in 2011 ($375,000) before earning $505,000 (2012), $625,000 (2013), and $752,500 (2014) in the outer years.

From there, the rookie contracts get very basic. Each draft choice is slated to play for the league minimum base salary – $375,000 in 2011, $465,000 in 2012, $555,000 in 2013, and $645,000 in 2014 – with the only noteworthy difference in each contract being the signing bonus.

Fourth-round linebacker K.J. Wright received $486,000, while wide receiver Kris Durham, who was chosen eight selections after Wright, signed for $464,260.

Fifth-round cornerback Richard Sherman signed for $182,424, and two picks later safety Mark LeGree received $178,532 to sign.

Sixth-round cornerback Byron Maxwell signed for $113,452. In round seven, defensive lineman Pep Levingston received a $68,900 signing bonus and linebacker Malcolm Smith was one of 17 compensatory draft choices this year to sign for $45,900.

In the new collective bargaining agreement, undrafted free agents are signed to three-year contracts, with teams limited to spending $75,000 in signing bonuses and amounts treated as signing bonuses on those players each year.

For the Seahawks, the highest signing bonuses were paid to wide receiver Doug Baldwin ($17,500), safety Jeron Johnson ($15,000), and defensive end Pierre Allen ($10,000).

Contract analysis
Leave a comment Comments → 24
  1. Poor babys will they have to go on ADC also?

  2. LeePridemore says:

    The Seahawks are going to start the season four and one. Buy a Jackson jersey now, before they are sold out. Buy Eric Williams a Jackson jersey, too.

  3. Boy, that’s a huge drop-off from the fourth round to the fifth. Durham signed for more than twice as much as Sherman.

    Baldwin got a $17,500 signing bonus? That’s CFL money! Of course, if he makes the team, he gets $375,000, which is what the top players in the CFL make.

    Looks like the team allocated the signing bonus money for undrafted players wisely. Baldwin and Johnson should make the roster.

  4. Both QB’s are making backup money. This tells me that PC & JS aren’t sold on either one being the QB of the future and probably just a placeholder until they find someone better. Which also tells me that all the moaning and worry about which one starts is wasted energy, as the staff seems to be focused on getting the O-Line and Defense in shape first with younger players developing together.

  5. It was funny watching the pre game on ESPN last night when they were talkin’ about how the Colts were paying Collins 4 mil as a back up and that was expensive for a back up and they couldn’t think of another team doing that and we are sitting here with two back ups getting 4 mil each, crazy.

  6. I love information like this!

  7. AaronCurryIsBUST says:

    Thank god for the new rookie wage system! Imagine if Aaron Curry weren’t the highest paid player on the team, we could have cut him by now.

  8. ACIB,
    They conveniently left out Curry’s new contract!

    1. He has a Guaranteed salary of $28,250,000.00 for the first 2 1/2 years of his NEW contract.

    2. His 2009 salary was $ 2,725,000.00
    3. His 2010 salary was $ 5,076,250.00

    4. Which= $ 7,801,250.00

    5. The Seahawks owe Curry $ 20,449,750.00 BEFORE the 8th game of the 2011 Season.

    6. That is $ 2,562,500.00 A GAME !

  9. Spencer, Curry, Jennings… any wonder Ruskell was fired? No wonder he traded a #1 for Branch… he would have screwed up the 1st rounder anyways (not that Branch was actually any good for us either).

  10. How could I forget the dominant 1st round force known as LoJack. Maybe NoSack (most games) would have been more like it.

  11. SandpointHawk says:

    Lord how I wanted to believe in Lo Jack, Jennings,Spencer, Branch & Curry to name a few….Teddy was an idiot,,,,

  12. Osbrey: We didn’t leave out Curry’s contract. We’ve written about it ad nauseum. This post by Brian, which is awesome, is on free agent and rookie contracts for this season.

  13. ’05… Luis Castillo, DT… Chris Spencer, C
    ’06… Winston Justice, OT… Kelly Jennings, CB
    ’07… Ben Grubbs, OG… Branch Trade
    ’08… Phillip Merling, DE… Lawrence Jackson, DE
    ’09… Michael Oher, OT… Aaron Curry, OLB

    It’s easy to criticize someone after the fact, but I went through our 1st round Ruskell “BUST” picks and thought of my own picks, had I been GM at the time, and I wondered how we would be different.

    We’d have a better player in ’05 (Castillo over Spencer), there are two busts to choose from in ’06 (Justice/Jennings), Grubbs would clearly have been better than Branch in ’07, I like Merling as a better player than Jackson in ’08, and Oher (as has been debated as a LT, but clearly good at RT) in ’09 would have been considered a reach, but a heck of a lot better than most of the players that went before him.

    Of course, there are always variables. Had I drafted the team in ’05, I probably wouldn’t have ended up with Tatupu. However, I remember thinking that DeMeco Ryans was better than Justice so we would have probably gotten him instead in ’06, but we didn’t need the help at LB b/c of Tatupu/Hill the year before. And if I would have had the insider information and thought Castillo was too much of a character risk in ’05 (he smoked weed and wrote a letter to every team saying he wasn’t a risk like some thought), I would have taken my Nebraska boy, Barrett Ruud (no need for Lofa or Ryans later on… so back to Justice the bust, perhaps, in ’06). Merling is more of an anchor at the strong side and would have different responsibilities in our 4-3 than the 3-4 in Miami, but he’s a good, solid player (with a healthy achilles – but would one suffer an injury for one team and not another?). The ’09 pick has been gone over a million times and I’ll take my guy any day of the day, week, month, etc. over what we got. All-in-all, I’ll take that over what Ruskell did anyday. However, that really isn’t saying much.

    Looking at all those picks, however, makes it pretty clear that I really like good play in the trenches. Oh well, there are worse habits:)

    In comparison to the current regime:
    ’10… Derrick Morgan, DE… Russell Okung, OT
    ’10… Bryan Bulaga, OT… Earl Thomas, FS
    ’11… Gabe Carimi, OT… James Carpenter, OT
    Injuries have really screwed with Okung and Morgan (torn ACL). Okung is the real deal, however, when healthy. The jury is still out on Morgan. We probably won’t know about him for sure until ’12, as he’s still not 100% this year. Even though I thought Iupati was better than Bulaga, we could not leave last years draft without a replacement for Walt. For the record, Morgan was also available with that pick, but wouldn’t have with me taking him at #6. And in all honesty, I’ve said this before, I wouldn’t have had a pick at #6. I would have passed until our #14 pick and then taken two players, so it’s more likely that we would have taken Morgan and Bulaga at #13 and #14 (and not paid a stupid salary for #6, and paid #13 a much more reasonable one). It’s too early for Carimi/Carpenter to be compared, as neither has played in a real NFL game.

  14. Aside from his first round failures, Ruskell averaged fewer than two good players every draft.

    2005: Two good players, Lofa and Leroy Hill.
    2006: No standouts, though Obomanu was a good seventh rounder and Tapp was decent.
    2007: Two good players: Josh Wilson, Brandon Mebane
    2008: Three good players: Carlson, Red Bryant, Forsett
    2009: The draft that gave us NICK REED!!! Curry, Unger, Morrah, Butler could still turn into good players, but none have produced instant dividends.

    Too early to judge the first JS draft, but he hopefully has found four good players: Okung, Thomas, Thurmond and Chancellor.

  15. And Ruskell released Forsett in favor of Coutu. lol

  16. Of course, there is MUCH more than just the 1st round stuff (free agency, later round picks, etc.).

  17. raymaines says:

    In 2005 Oakland picked one slot ahead of the Packers with a pick they got from Seattle. I don’t remember details from that trade, but I’d rather have Arron Rodgers than Chris Spencer

  18. Soggybuc says:

    Good lord who gave Bobby the Espresso?

    TR is long gone so lets give him credit where it’s due, his 1st’s are terrible but he did give us some nice players despite that. his FA stuff was indeed epic fail but remember he was tasked with trying to keep a SB roster going and in that yea he sucked badly. but was he worse than Behring and Flores? Erikson? they were pretty bad too but it was far better than what lions fan had to endure during the Millen era. perspective is everything!

    Think of it like Baseball batting averages where .300 is considered a solid year. Politicians aside do you know of any other profession that considers a 70% failure rate as a good job kid? GM is really the same. if you can grab 3 solid players every off season your very good but unlike Baseball, NFL GM’s are expected to always knock it out of the park on the first at bat.
    Over expectation is the fans epic fail.

  19. As GMs go, Ruskell is probably average or slightly above average. We, of course, want terrific. We want Pro Bowl players and Hall of Famers in the first round, not average starters or near busts. We want players like Shaun Alexander and Steve Hutchinson in consecutive drafts, not Lawrence Jackson and Aaron Curry.

  20. AaronCurryIsBUST says:

    It’s not a matter of what we want as fans, it’s a matter of being competent enough to pick the best players to win in the cutthroat NFL. Ruskell was catastrophic.

    He literally lost us a Hall of Fame guard in the prime of his career. He traded a 1st round pick for an injury prone midget without even ONE 1,000 yard season. Every single 1st round pick of his tenure was a bust. Even his best picks were flashes in the pan: scouts were right about Tatupu and Hill, good but too undersized to have long careers in the NFL. His long contracts to Tatupu, Hill, Trufant, Cole, Grant, Kerney, Russell, and Curry were all useless albatrosses after only a couple seasons unworthy of their huge cap figures.

    The dude was straight awful, from his asinine drafting philosophy to his awful use of money,to his arrogance in dealing with Mike Holmgren, who had more personnel evaluating talent in his mustache than Ruskell did.

  21. As an aside, Ruskell drafted two players named Courtney. I thought both were busts, but apparently Courtney Greene, drafted in the 7th round in 2009, is now the starting SS for the Jags.

  22. It’s hard to defend Ruskell, but you can’t blame him for drafting Tatupu, who was well-worth that second round pick. If you could find a Tatupu in every draft, you’d be doing well.

  23. GeorgiaHawk says:

    There wouldn’t have been a Ruskell if Holmgren had done his job right as GM!

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