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Valuing our Free Agents- Offense

Since the talk has begun about what it would cost to retain some of our players this year I thought it would be fun to do a full blown post with some estimates. These are not as in depth as I would usually go, but I think it at least presents a ballpark figure based on market vales and my perceived values of the players. Ill start with the offense today. Enjoy.

Dustin Keller- While Kellerís injury eliminated his hopes for a big season to up his contractual value I donít think the injury will actually impact his contract too much. This was not a devastating injury it was just one of those long term deals that he probably did not give enough rest early in the year. I did some more thorough work on Keller that can be viewed here and here that give explanations for the numbers, but I think they hold true even post injury. I think the injury will cut down on his list of suitors, but there will be some team willing to pay him that number. I think the Jets best option, if they want to keep him short term is to franchise him, which will cost less than $6 million in 2013, and then allow him to walk in 2014.

Estimated terms: 5 years, $34.25 million, $12 million in firm guarantees

Shonn Greene- Greene is going to push the fact that he ran for over 1000 yards, two years in a row. The only players in the NFL to do that the last two years are Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, Ray Rice, and Steven Jackson. These are all mega money players with Gore making the least of the group around $6.4 million a year. Everyone knows thatís a tough sell though. Greene;s 1000 yards are about as unimpressive a set of yards as you will find. In those two years Greene averaged 4 yards per carry. The next closest of that group was Foster at 4.21. When you change the category to total yardage a larger subset of players is considered. If we make the cutoff 950 yards through rushing and receiving the list grows from 6 to 13 names. He ranks 11th out of 13 in total yards over the last two years and dead last in yards per touch, at 3.97, the only player under 4.

When you look at big plays Greene has 6 runs over 20 yards in the last two years. The next closest is Matt Forte and Ryan Matthews with 10. When you break it down to percent carries over 20 yards Greeneís two year average is 1.13%. The next worst would be Steven Jackson at 2.13%. Leaguewide his 2 plays of over 20 yards ranked 40th in the NFL.

I think the above numbers make it tough to gauge a contract for Greene. Reggie Bush had more pedigree when the Dolphins gave him a 2 year $9 million dollar deal. Ahmad Bradshaw came off a 1200 yard season at 4.5 yards a pop when he got his money. But the next tier of player which is Darren Sproles and Michael Bush cant compare statistically to Greene when they received their money, though I think they felt that those were players who would do more with more opportunity. The only other player that comes to mind is BenJarvus Green Ellis who like Greene is a pretty average type runner with limited upside, specifically out of the backfield. He had minimal interest in free agency before coming to terms with the Bengals for $3 million a year. He also came off a bad season in New England when he signed so I have to think Greene gets much more interest than him, though that would be the rock bottom he would sign for. I tend to think the limited upside neutralizes the consistency aspect so Ill take the easy way out and split the difference.

Estimated Terms: 3 years, $11.25 million, about $5 million in firm guarantees.

Brandon Moore- I think it is generally acknowledged around the league that Moore is a solid player that is going to do a very good job at the right guard position. He has grown to be very good at pass protection and run blocking. He is as dependable as they come. The negative is his age. Moore will be 33 years old next season and this season it did seem as if he slipped a bit. I think you have to look at contracts in the current market that similar players have signed to begin to get an idea, but unfortunately those are limited. Steve Hutchinson signed a contract worth just under $17 million as he was about to make the turn to 35, though the reality will be a 1 year deal for $6.5 million. Cooper Carlisle had signed a deal worth around $3 million a year when he turned 33 a few years back though that contract is no longer valid. Brian Waters signed a 2 year deal at age 34 for around $5.5 million with the Patriots and walked out on the last year of the contract.

The lack of comparables makes this difficult. Moore is better than Hutchinson, but Hutchinson has more name value which I think counts for something to certain teams. He is better than Carlisle was. I think its arguable with Waters, who also had that name value. Waters seemed to take an under market deal because he was such a late release and wanted a chance to win. New England supposedly was willing to tear up his contract and give him $4 million to come back, which he turned down. While I donít think a team will go to the Hutchinson level I think they will come in well above the Carlisle level. I would think that he would max out at 3 years, unless he lands on a team with cap trouble where they have to push the years to bring his 2013 cap hit down. He is currently on a deal paying him $4 million a year and he will get a raise over that.

Estimated Terms: 3 years, $13.2 million, $5.2 million in firm guarantees.

Matt Slauson- I cant see a future for him with the Jets as they were pulling him off the field last year for Vlad Ducasse, which makes you think he is not a favorite of the organization. Slauson can probably be effective in the right system. I think he really came along well in pass protection this year. In my own pass protection rankings I had him 11th in the NFL, which is a big jump for him and continues his upward trend since getting the starting job 3 years ago. But in the run game he is not strong and below average. So if he finds a finesse pass style team I think he can be a good piece, but he may not be a fit for this squad.

The Bills Kraig Urbik I think is somewhat similar but has more of a track record and is better in pass protection. He probably set the upper tier for the market for players like Slauson with his 4 year, $13.75 million dollar deal. Id consider others in his range to be Mackenzy Bernadeau, Leroy Harris, and Stephen Peterman. Throwing out a guess Id say he comes in a bit closer to Bernadeau because of the draft status.

Estimated Terms: 4 years, $11.4 million, $3.6 million in firm guarantees.

Braylon Edwards- Yes everyone loves that Braylon came back, myself included, but lets not kid ourselves. He is not the same player and has no other destinations in the NFL. He is a minimum salary benefit player at this stage of his career, which means he can receive at most $65,000 in bonus money, though he might get a small amount of his base salary guaranteed. I would think a team might also consider an injury waiver since his last two teams have had problems with him in that regard.

Estimated Terms: 1 year, $905,000, $65,000 in firm guarantees

The other players who are free agents are Chaz Schilens and Lex Hilliard. In my mind both are minimum salary players with no guarantees. Both may have a hard time finding homes next year and would likely be emergency regular season fill ins.

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