Thursday, March 12, 2009

Breaking down the contracts of Bell, Carey and Crowder

Sorry for the delay in this content. I've had a busy Spring Break between recreation and school work. But I want you to know that I am committed to posting content more consistently and more frequently from now on.

Just like I did with Gibril Wilson and Joe Berger, I thought it'd be a good idea to take a closer look at the new contracts signed by safety Yeremiah Bell, offensive tackle Vernon Carey and linebacker Channing Crowder. I personally find these types of articles quite interesting and I hope you do as well.

I forgot to mention in the Berger/Wilson article that when talking about Wilson's cap hits, that only applies if the Collective Bargaining Agreement is extended beyond 2010 and the salary cap remains in place. Obviously if there is no cap, none of the cap hit talk applies.

Yeremiah Bell

Miami's leading tackler in 2008, Bell signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the Dolphins on the eve of free agency. The deal included $10 million in guaranteed money. Here are the base salaries:
  • 2009: $2.55 million
  • 2010: $1.85 million
  • 2011: $3.7 million
  • 2012: $4.3 million
  • Total: $12.4 million
That leaves $7.6 million outside of base salary money. It's kind of funny that his second year base salary drops significantly from the first year, but it's nothing that out of the ordinary.

As for the contract itself, it's a fair amount of money but not enormous. I wouldn't say Miami overpaid for Bell, because while he is somewhat one-dimensional as a safety he's a strong contributor on defense and is a key member of the secondary. This is a manageable contract that he could quite possibly play out without a restructuring or release, barring a steep drop in play or long-term injury.

(Note: A Dolphins fan recently pointed out this CBS Sports article, which states Bell received a $6 million signing bonus and will have a $14 million roster bonus due next offseason. The latter would obviously make this deal essentially a one-year pact, since the team would either renegotiate to avoid the bonus or release him outright.

Considering the deal is reportedly worth $20 million total and contains over $12 million in base salaries, I'm skeptical about this reported $20 million in bonus money. I'll let you know if I can clear this up, but for now I'm inclined to believe he is mistaken.)

Vernon Carey

A first-round pick in 2004, Carey was locked up by the Dolphins to a six-year, $42 million extension on Feb. 20 with $14 million guaranteed. He will continue to start for the Dolphins at right tackle opposite Jake Long.

While I wanted to re-sign Carey because he's a solid right tackle and he keeps some consistency on the line, I was hoping the Dolphins wouldn't overpay him and it seems they somewhat did. Carey's only a decent tackle and this is pretty significant money.

Truth be told, I think Carey might be a great NFL guard but this contract would be pretty large for that position. Plus, the Dolphins have no one to take his spot at right tackle so he's not going anywhere any time soon.

Anyway, as you might recall, I was initially perplexed at the reports of it being a six-year deal when the NFLPA had it only as a five-year contract. I asked the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero to look into it, and while he initially said he couldn't get anyone to give him a straight answer, he did recently post base salaries for Carey's contract for all six years. They are:
  • 2009: $800,000
  • 2010: $950,000
  • 2011: $4.15 million
  • 2012: $5.05 million
  • 2013: $5.65 million
  • 2014: $4.95 million
  • Total: $21.55 million
According to Salguero, Carey will also receive a $12 million signing bonus and $2 million roster bonus. There is also apparently a $200,000 workout bonus in 2009.

If you add up the base salaries, $14 million guaranteed and $200,000 workout bonus, you get a sum of $35.75 million. This is of course $6.25 million short of the reported $42 million total contract value. The remaining money is probably found in the form of bonuses/incentives throughout the contract.

Channing Crowder

If you've read this site at all, you know what I think about Crowder. He's a good tackler and a solid player, but he's not a play-maker and he's not irreplaceable either. When it came to Crowder entering free agency, I wasn't against re-signing him but I didn't want him gone either. I just didn't way to overpay for him.

Well as it turns out, the Dolphins didn't over pay at all. Here are Crowder's base salaries over the next three seasons:
  • 2009: $1.5 million
  • 2010: $2.1 million
  • 2011: $2.5 million
This is nothing! Not for a starting middle linebacker who racked up over 100 tackles last season. Regardless of what kind of bonus money Crowder received, this contract is very favorable for the Dolphins. This deal pales in comparison to ones the team gave out to Vernon Carey, Yeremiah Bell, Gibril Wilson and Jake Grove! Heck, it's closer on average to Joe Berger's deal than it is to Wilson's!

My guess? Crowder's agent spoke to some teams before free agency began to gauge the market for his client (not allowed, but happens all the time) and he didn't like what he heard. So they decide to re-sign with Miami for a few more years and hopefully build up his stock a little bit before he re-enters the market at the age of 28.

I suppose other teams felt the same way as I do about Crowder. He's not a Bart Scott that's worth huge money in free agency. He's just a decent linebacker who makes a lot of tackles. The thing is, those aren't terribly hard to find and thus teams aren't willing to pay a lot for them. All in all, things worked out well for Miami here because they keep a good linebacker at a cheap price.