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NFL: Why Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas’ New Deals Reset The WR Market

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Thanks to Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas both signing identical five-year $70 million deals Wednesday, both players may have also reset the entire market for wide receivers.

With Bryant $32 million guaranteed and a $20 million signing bonus in his new deal and Thomas getting $43.5 million guaranteed respectively, all other NFL teams looking to add a playmaker such as Julio Jones and A.J. Green, now face the uphill task of using the proverbial new benchmark set by both deals.

In the particular case of Jones, who caught 104 passes for 1,593 yards and six touchdowns in 2014, Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac.com states that with the Bryant and Thomas deals now done, Jones—along with longtime SEC rival and nemesis—Green are next in line for big contracts based on similar contracts for comparable star wideouts such as Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Thomas and Bryant that averaged roughly average to five years and $63.7 million signed at the age of 27 with the use of statistical analytics such as games played, receptions per game, receiving yards per game, yards of catch per game, touchdowns per year and guaranteed money in stating,

Length of the Contract:
Now 26 years old, Jones is likely looking at a 5 year deal, replacing the franchise tag he’s currently sitting on for the 2015 season. This deal should carry him through the 2019 season, at 31 years of age.

Value of the Contract
Outside a few nagging injuries, Julio has held up well to the impossible standards he was brought into the league by when the Falcons traded two first round picks to jump up and select him. He’s productively solid across the board, a Top 5 receiver in the league, and extremely valuable to the Falcons’ offense going forward. When Factoring in our previously determined Prime Percentages, we’re left with the following:

Low Value (Hometown Discount)
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (3.24%)
5 years, $66,135,700 | $13,227,140 per year | $41,665,000 guaranteed

High Value
Utilizing our Median Prime Percentage (7.28%), we’ve given a slightly bigger forecast:
5 years, $68,736,500 | $13,747,300,140 per year | $43,400,000 guaranteed

Final Thoughts
Mathematically speaking Jones is calculating at an overall and average price lower than Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas just received. While one can argue strongly for any of the three being better than the other, it’s highly likely that the price for Jones will exceed the 5 year $70M, $45M guaranteed structure that Bryant and Thomas secured.

As a Top 10 pick (#6 overall), Jones’ $10.176M 5th year option and possible $13M 2016 franchise tag allow for more than $23M in guaranteed money that the Falcons essentially owe Jones already. Toss in a $10M+ signing bonus, and a guaranteed 2017 salary, and the possibility of going north of $45M is extremely likely.”

Ginnitti would go on to summarize that based on the comparable contracts of Wallace, Bryant, Maclin and Thomas that Jones would be in line for a new contract extension—or at least use it as a proverbial baseline of five years, $67.5 million with an estimated $42.5 million guaranteed.

Obviously, as a former first-round pick, Jones is more than right to use such numbers as a starting point, but as Ginnitti stated above, due to his history of nagging injuries, how much should other wideouts such as Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, who led the league in receiving yards(1,698), receptions (129) and the diminutive and explosive T.Y. Hilton, who have both emerged into two of the most feared wideouts in the NFL today.

As third (Hilton- Florida International)and sixth round (Brown – Central Michigan) picks, have outperformed their current deals, making both Thomas and Dez look vastly overpaid by comparison.

While Thomas has blossomed into one of the premier WR’s thanks to Peyton Manning in setting a career high in receiving yards in 1,619 and Jones has marginally played up to his first-round status in being the go-to No.1 for Matty Ice, if this writer were Brown’s agent(Drew Rosenhaus), I would take a hardline with the notoriously tough Steelers front office, who never open contract negotiations until there is one year remaining on a player’s current deal, and force the Steelers to make an exception and start out asking  for a restructuring of Brown’s current five-year $41.96 million that he signed back in 2012 for five years and $85 million with $55 million guaranteed, based on the Dez and Thomas deals alone.


That way two of the vital three cogs of Pittsburgh’s suddenly-prolific offense in Big Ben and Brown are secured long-term, and would give the Steelers one less distraction—and holdout—to worry about when the time comes around to do Le’Veon Bell’s new deal.

While Thomas and Bryant got their new deals and have the likes of Manning and Tony Romo throwing to them, all they have done is raise the bar of the ever-rising market for top-flight wideouts such as Jones, Hilton and Brown.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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