Six-Pack: Re-evaluating the market for free agent cornerbacks

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Instead of a normal six-pack, I wanted to discuss the CB position and what recent signings could mean for the Broncos in their negotiations with DRC. There are two deals that have been finalized so far in regards to free agent corners and both have some implications on the Broncos resigning Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

1. Brent Grimes (#2 graded CB according to PFF)

Signed a four year 32-million dollar extension with 16 million fully guaranteed.

Contract via overthecap.com

Year Base
Salary
Prorated
Bonus
Roster
Bonus
Workout
Bonus
Other
Bonus
Cap
Number
Dead
Money
Cap
Savings
2013 $2,725,000 $2,250,000 $437,500 $25,000 $0 $5,437,500 $3,000,000 $2,437,500
2014 $2,725,000 $1,500,000 $25,000 $0 $0 $4,000,000 $16,000,000 ($12,000,000)
2015 $8,475,000 $1,500,000 $25,000 $0 $0 $10,000,000 $12,025,000 ($2,025,000)
2016 $7,975,000 $1,500,000 $25,000 $0 $0 $9,500,000 $3,000,000 $6,500,000
2017 $6,975,000 $1,500,000 $25,000 $0 $0 $8,500,000 $1,500,000 $7,000,000

This is more or less a front loaded deal that is team friendly the first couple of years. Looking at it from this perspective, it reads more like a 3-year deal with the team likely to cut, extend, or alter the existing contract heading into 2016. The first two years of the deal give the Dolphins a very team friendly cap number, and the dead money in year three makes it likely that Grimes plays out that season as well.

The folks from over the cap dot com also point out that the Dolphins break up the guaranteed money into different categories:

The contract contains $16 million in fully guaranteed salary which consists of a $6 million signing bonus, fully guaranteed base salary in 2014 and partially �guaranteed base salary in 2015.

Lets think about it for a moment, and take a look at an old contract that Elway has done.

In 2011 Champ Bailey was extended 4-years for 43 million with about 16 million guaranteed.

How it ended up working out, is that Champ was given no signing bonus, but had his base salary of 6.5 million and a roster bonus of 4.5 million that first year. He also received a 3 million roster bonus in 2012 to go along with bonuses for offseason workouts and escalators for performance.

This is pretty much the hallmark of the Elway FO. They do not give out giant signing bonuses and portion them out via other means in order to control the cap hit. Another good example to follow is that of Louis Vasquez:

Louis Vasquez signed a four year $23 million contract on March 14, 2014 with the Broncos. The contract contained a $5 million signing bonus and a fully guaranteed base salary of $2 million in 2013. Vasquez will receive a $3 million roster bonus in 2014.

On a four year deal, Vasquez is going to get 10 million (or so) guaranteed with half of that coming through the signing bonus.

This brings us to the latest update:

2. Sam Shields (#52 graded CB according to PFF)

Signed a four 39-million extension 12.5 million signing bonus, other guarantees.

Though things are not "official" yet here is a look at what the OTC.com guys project:

Year Base
Salary
Prorated
Bonus
Roster
Bonus
Workout
Bonus
Other
Bonus
Cap
Number
Dead
Money
Cap
Savings
2013 $2,023,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 $2,023,000 $0 $2,023,000
2014 $2,500,000 $3,125,000 $0 $0 $0 $5,625,000 $12,500,000 ($6,875,000)
2015 $6,000,000 $3,125,000 $0 $0 $0 $9,125,000 $9,375,000 ($250,000)
2016 $9,000,000 $3,125,000 $0 $0 $0 $12,125,000 $6,250,000 $5,875,000
2017 $9,000,000 $3,125,000 $0 $0 $0 $12,125,000 $3,125,000 $9,000,000

Knowing the Packers a good deal of the money is tied up in gameday active roster bonuses and potential escalators, so the cap charges may be overstated.

I'm pretty sure his figures are incorrect because Breer reported that he would make 15 million after year 1, 21 million after year 2 and 30 million after year 3. In essence that sounds like a 3-year deal worth about 10 milllion per year with about half of that guaranteed.

Earlier on I was much angrier at the thought of a 52nd ranked player getting a bigger contract than the #2 player, especially when the Broncos are looking at retaining the #5 guy on the list....but looking it differently, these two guys were paid as top tier players at their respective positions.

Whereas the market for these guys were 1 and 2 year deals worth half of value last year, this year the jump in the cap is to be blamed for the inflated value.

Regardless, if the Broncos want to resign DRC to a multiyear deal, it will be in the neighborhood of 10 million per season with about 50-60% of all the contracts money coming in some form of guaranteed money. When you look at it that way, the Broncos are likely to only sign two blue chip players with over 35 million in cap room.

If the Broncos want to go with some B-list guys and bolster their defensive roster at other blue chip positions, they may want to look at Captain Munnerlyn, Brandon Browner, Will Blackmon, or Walter Thurmond.

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