By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, February 11th, 2010 at 2:06 pm in Oakland Raiders.
NFL teams were able to designate franchise and transition players as of today and can do so for the next two weeks.
During that time, the Raiders can be expected to lock up defensive end Richard Seymour and place kicker Sebastian Janikowski, whether through the tagging process or long-term deals. If last season is any indication, when Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler became the highest paid players at their positions, both are feeling good about breaking the bank themselves.
However, there’s a chance both could come away disappointed _admittedly a relative term when millions of dollars are being discussed.
Oh, they’ll still be Raiders, but it’s probably unrealistic to think they’ll come away with the kind of deals Asomugha and Lechler received, contracts which stunned not only the players involved but the rest of the NFL.
Seymour is classified as an end for purposes of his tag, meaning he would earn $13,398.000 if he doesn’t come to a long-term agreement. If given the exclusive tag, it could be more, as his deal would be recalculated with the top five salaries at his position as of April 15.
But Seymour isn’t looking for a year-to-year existence, no matter the salary. He will turn 31 during the 2010 season and is looking for what could be his last big score. Given that he’s a unique player given his ability to move inside as well as play at the end, and the fact that he has five Pro Bowls under his belt and three Super Bowl rings, his agent, Eugene Parker, will be looking closely at three contracts while setting his price.
The two highest paid defensive ends are Minnesota’s Jared Allen (six years, $74 million, $31 million guaranteed) and Indianapolis’ Dwight Freeney (six years, $72 million, $30 million guaranteed) and Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (seven years, $100 million, $41 million guaranteed).
With the later years of the deal so much window dressing, the guaranteed money is the issue. Seymour, who wisely went on record saying how much he enjoyed it in Oakland, probably can’t be brought home with less than $35 million in guaranteed money. Parker could reasonably request Seymour be made the highest paid lineman in the NFL.
For all his accomplishments, that’s a huge figure for someone who had four sacks in 16 games (including two in the opener) and whose presence couldn’t prevent the Raiders from being one of the most porous teams in the NFL against the run.
After giving up a first-round draft pick in 2011, allowing Seymour to walk isn’t an option. Unless the Raiders are willing to pay him the huge guarantee, or can get back a first-round draft pick, they’ll be looking at keeping him with a franchise tag and paying the $13,398.000. Given Asomugha’s age and level of performance, it was an easier call to write the check for his three-year deal than it will be with Seymour.
In past years, franchising Seymour would have meant Janikowski would be a free man. Not so in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. With no CBA in place, teams can use both franchise and transition tags. In Janikowski’s case, the franchise tag is $2,814,000, the transition tag $2,629,000.
Janikowski knows what Lechler received _ $16 million over four years, $9 million guaranteed.
But it’s hard to make the case that Janikowski should get anything approaching what Lechler got. Lechler has been among the NFL’s premiere punters since he arrived in 2000. Janikowski, in 2009, enjoyed his first truly elite season as a place kicker.
What he does have in common with Lechler is that Al Davis is proud of the draft where he got both his kickers, getting Janikowski in the first round and Lechler in the fifth.
This year’s climate may not be conducive to long-term contracts with big money paid up front. Salaries won’t be paid in the event of a 2011 work stoppage. Bonus money is out the window.
As you may have noticed, blog postings have slowed in the absence of news but are will pick up as events warrant . . .