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NFL WR1 CONTRACTS AND HOW IT COULD AFFECT THE LIONS


Karnage84
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We're seeing major contracts being dished out at the top end of the WR market. 

- Davante Adams - 5 years at $141M ($28M apy)

- Tyreek Hill - 4 years at$120M ($30M apy)

We're now seeing guys like AJ Brown, Deebo Samuel and Terry McLaurin looking to get paid. 

ARSB broke out in a big way and could be one of these guys down the road. However, it begs the question on what the Lions should do moving forward. 

1) Should we draft WR's in the 1st round in order to guarantee a 5 year contract at a team friendly figure, allowing us to spend at other areas of need?

2) Should we continue the drafting of WR's in rounds 2, 3, 4 on a regular basis and treat the position like teams have been treating RB's?

3) Should we be grateful if we were to draft someone at the Adams/Hill/Brown/Samuel/McLaurin level and just pay them?

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The answer to this question lies in our Regime's general roster construction strategy, which is building through the draft for your core, then paying those guys. It doesn't matter which round we draft them in really. If we do take one in the first, you get the 5th as you pointed out, but if you take them later, you are paying them less per year due to later draft positioning and thus have more financial flexibility during that 4 years of contract length. If they become a star under your watch, you pay them if it makes sense to do so. 

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2 hours ago, BarryTheBest said:

The answer to this question lies in our Regime's general roster construction strategy, which is building through the draft for your core, then paying those guys. It doesn't matter which round we draft them in really. If we do take one in the first, you get the 5th as you pointed out, but if you take them later, you are paying them less per year due to later draft positioning and thus have more financial flexibility during that 4 years of contract length. If they become a star under your watch, you pay them if it makes sense to do so. 

If we look at DJ Moore, a 1st round WR (24th overall) that was re-signed and had a 5th year option. You're looking at $11M in earnings over the first 4 years with the ability to exercise a 5th year option or re-sign them. The Panthers opted to re-sign him to an extension instead. Moore has a $6.8M Cap Hit in 2022 which then jumps to $25M, $20M, $20M. For Moore, you're looking at about $31M in actual cash (with guaranteed money, bonus, etc.). 

Ja'Marr Chase drafted at #5 overall has roughly about the same money tied up in his first 4 years. 5th year options for the 2019 WR class are $12.4M to $18.4M. 

If we assume that Chase's going to be at the top end of things:

  • Chase: Year 1 - Year 5 = $51M +/-
  • Moore: Year 1 - Year 5 = $51M+/-
  • Brown: Year 1 - Year 5 = $8.22M + $25M (Estimated) = $33.22

 

 

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The contracts going to WRs this year are pretty crazy.  In the short-term, it won't change much.  It will minimize our pursuit of free agent WRs and push the Lions to draft two WRs this year.  That is what they would have done regardless.  In the long-run, we will have to draft WRs pretty much every year.  If I had to guess, we will probably see more trades like we did this year going forward.

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I think that the really interesting thing is going to be if we start seeing more and more holdouts and players demanding a raise/trade. I just saw that guys like Mclaurin and AJ Brown are holding out from offseason stuff because they want more money. 

If players on rookie contracts are going to start doing that more often then it throws off the whole system - you can no longer draft guys cheaply and supplement them for four years with expensive veterans. 

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1 hour ago, Lions017 said:

I think that the really interesting thing is going to be if we start seeing more and more holdouts and players demanding a raise/trade. I just saw that guys like Mclaurin and AJ Brown are holding out from offseason stuff because they want more money. 

If players on rookie contracts are going to start doing that more often then it throws off the whole system - you can no longer draft guys cheaply and supplement them for four years with expensive veterans. 

For me, we've been seeing the depth of talent at the position continuing to grow. It feels like every year we keep hearing about a deep draft class. However, the superstars at the position are being paid HUGE money. 

It feels like (to me), that we're going to start to see teams consistently adding guys in the draft and signing veterans to short term contracts. ARSB was drafted in the 4th round and has a 4 year contract. We'll see teams add a guy (or two) every year to try and hit on finding the next Davante or Scary Terry without having to spend big money. As much as I like ARSB, is he worth $25M/year? How will that impact the rest of our roster?

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59 minutes ago, Karnage84 said:

For me, we've been seeing the depth of talent at the position continuing to grow. It feels like every year we keep hearing about a deep draft class. However, the superstars at the position are being paid HUGE money. 

It feels like (to me), that we're going to start to see teams consistently adding guys in the draft and signing veterans to short term contracts. ARSB was drafted in the 4th round and has a 4 year contract. We'll see teams add a guy (or two) every year to try and hit on finding the next Davante or Scary Terry without having to spend big money. As much as I like ARSB, is he worth $25M/year? How will that impact the rest of our roster?

The goal is to find a guy worth that much and trade him for a haul of picks and let someone else pay them.  WR is important, but very rarely if ever has a teams best player been a WR that won a SB.  Each team has room for 1 or 2 contracts like that and I just don't see the value in spending that much cap on a WR.  I think GB and KC got lucky in that someone else was dumb enough to pay them but also give up a bunch of picks for the opportunity to do so.  

Ideally, we will see someone like ARSB play well for a couple more years and sign a Cooper Kupp type deal and then truly blow up after getting his contract.  

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1 minute ago, Sllim Pickens said:

The goal is to find a guy worth that much and trade him for a haul of picks and let someone else pay them.  WR is important, but very rarely if ever has a teams best player been a WR that won a SB.  Each team has room for 1 or 2 contracts like that and I just don't see the value in spending that much cap on a WR.  I think GB and KC got lucky in that someone else was dumb enough to pay them but also give up a bunch of picks for the opportunity to do so.  

Ideally, we will see someone like ARSB play well for a couple more years and sign a Cooper Kupp type deal and then truly blow up after getting his contract.  

This is what I'm thinking too. I just think we'll have to actively attack the position and collect WR's like we're building the Georgia defense. 

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