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How the Raiders just gave a big boost to Germain Ifedi

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday the Seattle Seahawks decided to decline the fifth year option for 2016 first round draft pick Germain Ifedi, foregoing the right to lock in the young right tackle for 2020 at a fixed salary just north of $10M. However, on Friday the Oakland Raiders then made formal what had been rumored for some time, with head coach Jon Gruden announcing that free agent addition Trent Brown would play right tackle for Oakland.

This is relevant to Ifedi, of course, because contracts are comped to players who play the same position across the NFL. Prior to the announcement that Brown would play on the right side for the Raiders, the right tackle market had been significantly lower than the left tackle market, with more than a dozen left tackles making more than $10M annually compared to just three right tackles earning at that level.

Friday may or may not drastically shifted things, but as of now the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history is a twenty-six year old right tackle who has never even been voted to the Pro Bowl. In fact, just over a year ago Brown was traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the New England Patriots in a pick swap that saw New England move down from 95 to 143. That’s the equivalent of a fourth or fifth round pick, depending on which trade chart one wishes to use, and then just eleven months later Brown was the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL.

In any case, the question at hand obviously becomes how this will affect the right tackle market. Salaries for the position have threatened to catch up to the left tackle market in the past, such as when Lane Johnson reached a six-year, $63M extension with the Philadelphia Eagles. That was more than three years ago, however, and had held the top of the market until Ja’Wuan James and Brown reset and then blew the top completely off the market over the past two months. Here is how the top right tackle market now looks following the announcement that Brown will be manning that side of the line for Oakland.

Right tackle market after Oakland announced Trent Brown will play on the right side

Player Salary (APY) Year Signed Age (2019 Season)
Player Salary (APY) Year Signed Age (2019 Season)
Trent Brown $16.5M 2019 26
Ja'Wuan James $12.75M 2019 27
Ricky Wagner $9.5M 2017 30
Rob Havenstein $8.125M 2018 27
Morgan Moses $8M 2017 28
Bobby Massie $8M 2019 30
La'el Collins $7.7M 2017 26

In short, about 24 hours after the Seahawks declined the option on Germain Ifedi, the right tackle market may have gotten far more expensive. Further, there may now be some urgency to get a deal done before the Tennessee Titans and Jack Conklin reach a contract extension which could further solidify the market. Thus, Pete Carroll may indeed want to keep Ifedi in Seattle for the long haul, as he said on Friday, however, keeping him around may have just gotten far more expensive.

It will certainly be interesting to watch going forward, as the Seahawks have a lot of moving pieces to address, and Ifedi is just one of those.