For those who have paid attention to actual news and not just casual banter about contracts and player valuation over the past few weeks took notice of the Philadelphia Eagles contract activity and deals.
Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs especially should take noticed of the contracts and the money being handed out, as it will have a massive impact on the Chiefs immediate and future plans.
The first contract we’ll take a look at is the deal done for Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson. Johnson was the fourth-overall pick in the 2013 draft, the same draft that saw Eric Fisher go first and Luke Joeckel go second. While Joeckel has struggled since the day he entered the league, and Fisher has seen his play gradually (some would say very gradually) improve, Johnson has been the most consistent of the bunch. He’s also the only tackle that as of yet has played only right tackle. This is an important piece of information to keep in mind when looking at the contract.
Johnson agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Eagles that averages right at $11.25 million per season ($56.25 million in total salary) and carries a total of $35 million in guaranteed money (Should be noted the contract is actually a six-year deal as it includes the upcoming season salary as part of the deal. The total value is roughly $63 million, but includes the 2016 number he was already due to make).
The reason this is relevant to the Chiefs is rather obvious; they will have a decision to make with Fisher. The organization is almost assured to pick up his fifth-year option that comes with all first-round contracts, which is expected to carry a cap number in 2017 of roughly $11.5 million (Kansas City must make the decision on the fifth-year option by the March deadline). The market has been laid out what it would cost, right or wrong, to keep Fisher.
The Chiefs are likely to evaluate Fisher one more season at left tackle, knowing they have the option year picked up which is not fully guaranteed. After the 2016 season, if the Chiefs decide they like Fisher, they are likely at that point to work out an extension.
The next player we’ll take a look at is Dontari Poe, the defensive tackle for the Chiefs. Again, while it has not been confirmed, the Eagles and Fletcher Cox are said to be closing in on a contract extension that would run six years at over $100 million and roughly half of that being guaranteed, per media reports in Philadelphia.
While that is a huge number, another comparison is Marcell Darus at six years and $96 million with $60 million in guarantees. For those counting at home, Dareus’s contract pays just north of $16 million/year. If Cox agrees to a deal with the Eagles in that ballpark, you can be certain Poe will need a similar contract to stay in KC.
One caveat, and we will go into greater detail next week, the Chiefs would be unable to use the franchise tag on Poe. Kansas City is currently eighth in the league in cap commitments for the 2017 season without any of the much-discussed 2016 free-agent class, and also does not include the Kelce extension, a potential Poe deal or the fifth-year option of Fisher’s contract. The 2017 franchise tag number for a defensive tackle will be close to $16 million.
It should be noted the Eagles are able to lock up so many of these free agents because they don’t have an expensive quarterback to pay for. The Eagles contracts strongly indicate they will address the quarterback position very early (they don’t have a second-round pick due to the ill-fated Sam Bradford trade from last year).
The Chiefs currently have Alex Smith under contract for a big-money deal. Kansas City is currently approaching the point where they will need to decide if they want to cut bait with Smith (in which case they will need to address the position early) or they need to work on an extension for Smith, that will likely include a pay raise.
It will be an interesting offseason to be sure.