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6 weeks until legal tampering period opens for Quandre Diggs and D.J. Reed

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The conference championship games are complete, and the participants for Super Bowl LVI are now set. It’s the Cincinnati Bengals representing the AFC and the Los Angeles Rams playing at home for the NFC, with the rest of the league watching along with the Seattle Seahawks.

With just one meaningful game left on the NFL calendar this season, the rest of the league is preparing as the offseason gets into gear, with the 2022 NFL Combine set to take place in Indianapolis from March 1 through March 7. The next day, Tuesday, March 8, is the last day for teams to use the franchise or transition tag on their impending free agents, and finally at 12:00 noon New York time on March 14, the legal tampering period begin. At that time, all the “hypothetical” discussions that have taken place between agents and front offices are allowed to become actual negotiations, and free agent deals will begin to trickle in.

With free agency so close, it’s now time to begin to look at the size of the contractual demands that the players set to be free agents could command in the market. This post is not designed to evaluate the contract prospects for those soon-to-be free agents in depth, it’s just a quick look at where the conversation likely starts for the agents of these players.

With 15 players set to see become unrestricted free agents when their contract voids or expires, the Seahawks will certainly have a ton of questions to answer. That said, for the purposes of brevity, this post is only looking at the players who have started for the team and are also under 30 years of age. So, while Duane Brown and left tackle are one off the biggest offseason question marks for the Hawks, his situation will be evaluated separately since his is a little bit past the age cutoff.

In any case, jumping right into the methodology, for the baseline of these projections the 2021 valuation for a player is used as the starting point. From there, the projected increases in the salary cap are indexed based off a 2021 cap of $188.2M carrying an index of 1, and the OTC valuations are then multiplied by the corresponding index value for future seasons to project what a player could ask for. Basically, the methodology uses a percentage of cap based not on the actual 2021 cap hit of the player, but rather on the projected OTC valuation, and then applies that percentage of cap to future seasons.

That’s might be a whole lot of confusing jargon describing the methodology, so here’s an expanded explanation: The 2021 salary cap is $182.5M, and the 2022 cap is set to be at $208.2M. From there, $208.2M is 114.08% of $182.5M, if a player has an OTC projected value of $10M for 2021, their 2022 projected contract demand would be $11.408M.

The same is then done for future years, using the following projected cap for each year, yielding the index provided in parentheses:

  • 2022: $208.2M (1.14082)
  • 2023: $225M (1.23287)
  • 2024: $256M (1.40274)
  • 2025: $285M (1.56164)
  • 2026: $310M (1.69863)

As has been seen, the cap for future years is simply a projection, and where it will officially wind up could be either higher or lower than these projections. That uncertainty is just one of the obstacles that teams must deal with as they build out the roster and plan for the future, but that’s a different discussion for a different day. The topic at hand is the projections for a half dozen key free agents for the Hawks. So, the players evaluated here, along with their 2021 calculated value from OTC are:

  • D.J. Reed ($15,220,000)
  • Quandre Diggs ($10,508,000)
  • Rasheem Green ($6,235,000)
  • Gerald Everett ($6,184,000)
  • Will Dissly ($4,951,000)
  • Sidney Jones ($3,538,000)

From there, the rest is pretty straightforward, and building out the potential future salary demands becomes relatively simple since they are simply the product of two numbers. Building out the per year contractual demands results in the following.

Projected contract demands by year

Season D.J. Reed Quandre Diggs Rasheem Green Gerald Everett Will Dissly Sidney Jones
Season D.J. Reed Quandre Diggs Rasheem Green Gerald Everett Will Dissly Sidney Jones
2021 OTC Value $15,220,000 $10,508,000 $6,235,000 $6,184,000 $4,951,000 $3,538,000
2022 $17,363,310 $11,987,757 $7,113,025 $7,054,843 $5,648,209 $5,648,209
2023 $18,764,384 $12,955,068 $7,686,986 $7,624,110 $6,103,973 $6,103,973
2024 $21,349,699 $14,739,989 $8,746,082 $8,674,542 $6,944,964 $6,944,964
2025 $23,768,219 $16,409,753 $9,736,849 $9,657,205 $7,731,699 $7,731,699
2026 $25,853,151 $17,849,205 $10,590,959 $10,504,329 $8,409,918 $8,409,918

Now, that’s a whole lot of numbers that aren’t all that easy to add together in one’s head, so here are how those numbers break down for three, four and five year contracts.

Demand projections for 3-, 4- and 5-year contracts

Contract Length D.J. Reed Quandre Diggs Rasheem Green Gerald Everett Will Dissly Sidney Jones
Contract Length D.J. Reed Quandre Diggs Rasheem Green Gerald Everett Will Dissly Sidney Jones
3-year $57,477,392 $39,682,814 $23,546,093 $23,353,495 $18,697,146 $13,361,039
4-year $81,245,611 $56,092,568 $33,282,942 $33,010,700 $26,428,845 $18,886,135
5-year $107,098,762 $73,941,773 $43,873,901 $43,515,029 $34,838,763 $24,895,888

This is obviously a simplistic methodology that is far from perfect. Is it not impossible that D.J. Reed lands a 5-year, $107M contract, but the probability would seem to be very close to zero. That, however, doesn’t mean he won’t get paid handsomely. Prior to closing out the season in a dominant fashion, including a two-interception game against the Detroit Lions in Week 17, Reed’s 2021 value projection was in the $10M-$11M range. Based off that range, a three-year deal similar to the one Shaquill Griffin signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars last offseason would not be unreasonable, with four and five year deals computing out to the range of $60M and $75M, respectively. Those are certainly large numbers, but it wouldn’t be unrealistic for a team to potentially offer Reed a contract in that range that would be light on guarantees while carrying low cost outs later on in the contract.

That make it important to keep in mind that these are not projections, they’re simply a starting point. They’re little more than a foundation upon which further projections can be developed and from which contract negotiations can grow, taking into account other factors including age, injury history and other such factors.