At What Cost?: A Breakdown of What Potential Free Agents Ben Grubbs and Matt Flynn Could Cost:

This week Hogs Haven writers UKRedskin and Ronnie Adkins took a look at Ben Grubbs and Matt Flynn, a couple potential free agents for the Washington Redskins this offseason. While they made the case for why they should be signed, I'm going to look at the how. I will look at how these two free agents can fit under the Redskins cap, so we can evaluate whether or not they are worth it.

Now of course the first thing to look at in determining if we can afford these free agents is where are we in relation to the salary cap. Now I did a full breakdown on my blog that you can read here! The gist of it is that in relation to the projected $125 million salary cap we have just over $40 million to spend, but with some cuts and restructuring some deals the Redskins could have about $60 million. That $40-60 million is a wide margin, but there are obviously a number of determining factors. Even if we do make all the necessary cuts and moves, it is important to remember that the $60 million cap space is before we begin to sign our own guys, or the money set aside for the draft picks. Now just perusing a number of other teams, I can tell you that the Redskins are in a strong position in relation to the rest of the league (easily top 10 in terms of cap room). On the other hand though the Redskins obviously have a number of holes to fill, unlike some teams that are pretty well set.

One final point before breaking down both Grubbs and Flynn is that while looking at a yearly average for a player is important and interesting, the real things to look at are their cap number and guaranteed money. For example Barry Cofield signed a 6 year $36 million deal, but counted just $4.2 million against the cap this past year (well under his $6 million yearly average).

Ben Grubbs:

Chance that he resigns: 25%, The Ravens are in a tough spot. They like Grubbs, but they have a number of key free agents (and one year after having to dole out big money for a couple of players). If Grubbs takes a slight discount and back loads the deal he could be back, but beyond that he is gone.

Chance that he is Franchised: under 5%, The Ravens have to ensure Ray Rice is in the fold over Grubbs. And franchising Grubbs, goes against the whole 'backloading' idea. It would be extremely hard on Baltimore to franchise him.

What will he cost: Now the two most recent mega deals for top guards (Jahri Evans and Logan Mankins) both averaged over $8 million a year for at least 6 years. Now while Grubbs is a very good guard, he's not on that level. In fact he probably won't even get the same level contract as his current teammate RG Marshall Yanda (5 yrs, $32 million). Though the Yanda deal is a good starting point, I would look to lock him up for just under the $6.4 million yearly average of Yanda. I think a 6 year deal at $6.2 million a year ($37.2 total) would be enough to land him, with about $15 million of that guaranteed.

How does that affect the cap: Now you don't want to backload the deal too much, or he might not sign, but I think a very fair breakdown would be the following: $12 million signing bonus (this counts in equal $2 million installments each year against the cap. I'd also guarantee his entire first year salary, and $1 million of his 2nd year salary:

Year by Year breakdown: Sal=salary for that year, SB=signing bonus allotment, OB= any other bonuses, Cap hit=what he costs vs the cap, REL=what it would cost to cut a player in a given year

2012: Sal: $2 mil; SB: $2 mil; OB:$0; Cap hit: $4 million, REL: $15 million

2013: Sal: $3 mil; SB: $2 mil; OB: $0: Cap hit: $5 million; REL: $11 million

2014: Sal: $4.5 mil; SB: $2 mil; OB: $0; Cap hit: $6.5 million; REL: $8 million

2015: Sal: $6 mil, SB: $2 mil; OB: $0, Cap hit: $8 million, REL: $6 million

2016: Sal: $ 3 mil, SB: $2 mil; OB $0, Cap Hit: $5 million, REL: $4 million

2017: Sal: $ 6.7 mil; SB: $2 mil; OB $0; Cap Hit: $8.7 million; REL: $2 million

Matt Flynn:

Chance that he resigns: 0%- The Packers seem to love Flynn, but with Aaron Rodgers in the fold, they will let Flynn move on to greener pastures.

Chance that he is franchised: 10%- Even 10% might be high. I know it is a popular media story, but the Packers don't have that much cap room and would be taking a huge risk in franchising Flynn, in the hopes to get a draft pick or two. Also by franchising him they would be essentially allowing Jermichael Finley and Scott Wells hit the market. I can't see them risk losing two starters just so they can trade one backup.

What he will cost: Let's be honest this is going to be more expensive than most people hope, but that being said it can likely be structured in a way that it isn't too cost prohibitive. The Redskins could attempt to bring the annual value down somewhat, by offering more guaranteed money. Or like in the case of the Cardinals and Kevin Kolb, they could offer a higher annual value, but a lower guarantee. Now if you look at recent extensions of QB's with limited starting experience you see some distinct similarities. When the Packers extended Aaron Rodgers (he only had 7 starts at the time), Chiefs extended Matt Cassel, Cards with Kevin Kolb, and Bills with Ryan Fitzpatrick, they all recognized the risk they were taking and ensured that they essentially had an 'out' clause. Essentially they structured it so the majority of the guaranteed money was paid out in the first 3 years, meaning that they could be easily cut after that.

Now I know one counter-argument people make is that guys like Kolb and Cassel didn't have leverage since they were only negotiating with one team, but on the flip side those players had leverage since their new teams just made major trades. The last thing the Chiefs or Cards wanted to happen was allow these guys hit free agency the following season (or be forced to franchise them).

Given all of that I think it is fair to predict that a strong market for Matt Flynn will net him a 6 year $64.5 million deal ($10.75 per year), with $25 million guaranteed. Of that $15 million would be in the signing bonus, and the first two year's base salary would be guaranteed, plus $1 million in 2014.

Year by Year breakdown: Sal=salary for that year, SB=signing bonus allotment, OB= any other bonuses, Cap hit=what he costs vs the cap, REL=what it would cost to cut a player in a given year

2012: Sal: $3.5 mil; SB: $2.5 mil; OB:$0; Cap hit: $6 million, REL: $25 million

2013: Sal: $5 mil; SB: $2.5 mil; OB: $1 mil: Cap hit: $8.5 million; REL: $19 million

2014: Sal: $5 mil; SB: $2.5 mil; OB: $2 mil; Cap hit: $9.5 million; REL: $11.5 million

2015: Sal: $8.5 mil, SB: $2.5 mil; OB: $5 mil, Cap hit: $16 million, REL: $7.5 million

2016: Sal: $8 mil, SB: $2.5 mil; OB $1 mil, Cap Hit: $11.5 million, REL: $5 million

2017: Sal: $10.5 mil; SB: $2.5 mil; OB $0; Cap Hit: $13 million; REL: $2.5 million

Now obviously there are a number of ways to break down this contract but i want to go into a bit more detail on Flynn's deal. This is a good middle of the road deal that doesn't back load it too much, while at the same time ensuring that too much upfront money isn't paid out. Essentially the Redskins could get out of this deal paying under the yearly average of this deal after the first 3 years, which is why i ballooned the payments up in year 4. If Flynn doesn't produce than they could cut him with just $31.5 million in payments Flynn would only see the majority of this contract if he performs at the level the Redskins are expecting. And this deal allows for plenty of cap flexibility in the next 3 years to build a quality team around him. Overall the Redskins would have just a $10 million cap hit for Grubbs and Flynn which has to be considered extremely good.

Steve Shoup will be covering Senior Bowl Live this year for his own site Fanspeak.com, but will provide write-ups on players for the Redskins here on Hogs Haven as well. Check out his NFL Draft Page for more details and updates throughout the draft season! HTTR!

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