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The Andre Johnson Extension
New York Jets Salary Cap Page

A Look at the Andre Johnson Contract

The news broke on August 4th that WR Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans signed a new mega contract worth 73.5 million dollars. Immediately the thoughts of the Jets fans and media turned towards Darrelle Revis and how this shows why the Jets should now step up to the plate and sign a new deal with their disgruntled cornerback. It's certainly a logical thought process to compare the two players. Just look at the similarities between the two players. Both Johnson and Revis signed multi-year contracts in 2007 with their respective teams and both had multiple years remaining on the contracts when they demanded new deals. Both are regarded as the top in the NFL at their position. Revis established himself as the best corner in the NFL in 2009, while Johnson has been All Pro in 2008 and 2009, leading the league in receiving yards in both seasons. So lets see if the contract gives any indication as to what Revis should expect from the Jets.

Based on the reports 73.5 million would make Johnson the highest paid receiver in the league if you just take the number and ignore every other part of the contract., which is what is often done by those who look at the deal. The deal essentially pays Johnson over 7 years more than Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Smith earn per year on their short term deals, the type of compensation package that Revis is looking for with Nnamdi Asomugha taking the place of Fitzgerald and Smith.

Jason La Canfora of NFL.com once again does an excellent job of getting the particulars of a contract which can now allow us to take a more educated look at Johnson's deal. Now La Canfora did not release every detail of the contract, but based on what he reported and what I was able to dig up on Johnson's old contract I believe I can make a relatively accurate assessment of the deal. Included in the 73.5 million number seem to be the following incentives:

$625,000 per year from 2011 thru 2014 for every season he ranks in the top 10 in one of the traditional WR categories (receptions, yards, YPC, Tds)

$1,250,000 per year additional from 2011 thru 2014 for every season he ranks in the top 5 in those categories

$800,000 per year in incentivized workout bonuses for every season where he maintains 90% attendance in the offseason workout program and does not hold out during camp

Now Johnson is a dominant player, in the prime of his career and he should be able to earn those max incentives for at least the next two years, but still the contract is predicated on earning them. If you take those incentives out of the contract Johnson's compensation falls to 62.7 million or less than 9 million per year, a number that drops him to about 7th in the NFL at the position a far cry from the number 1 spot.

Now the big part of the contract is the backend of the deal. The 2015 and 2016 seasons contain 21.5 million in base salary, likely broken down as 9.4 and 11.6M per year in salary, and 2 million in workout bonuses. The dead cap money for releasing Johnson in those years would be $466,670 in 2015 and $0 in 2016, so the reality is those two years exist in name only and have no chance of ever being earned. So the real contract is 5 years with a maximum value of 50 million and a minimum value of 39.2 million. On a per year basis that would rank Johnson anywhere from 2nd in the NFL to completely out of the top 10 depending on his performance.

Now how does this compare to his old contract? Johnsons original deal was slated to run for 5 years and carried a value 35 million. So the bottom line is that Johnson agreed to a 4.2 million dollar raise with a potential raise of 14.9 million per year. The old 3 year total was 20.5 million and the new max total would be around 29.85 million if I understand the incentive system properly. The three year max would rank third in the NFL at the WR position.

Well what about the guarantees in Johnson's deal? While Johnson's original contract had no remaining guarantees his salary in 2010 and 2011 were both virtually guaranteed by the cap charges associated with releasing him. The dead money would have been 7.75 and 5.53 million respectively, too high a number for most teams to carry. His compensation those two years would have been 13 million, which is exactly the guarantee the team gave him in his new contract and where that number comes from. So the reality of the situation is that the Texans did not give Johnson anymore of a real guarantee than he already had in his previous contract. Johnson did get some added protection by receiving a small signing bonus with the extension that will raise his dead cap charge in 2012 from 3.3 million to 5.18 million, so he does get a virtual guarantee of earning his entire 2012 salary, which was not the case in the previous deal. That is a pretty nice insurance policy.

So how does this all pertain to Revis? Lets look at the particulars. Johnson deal breaks down under the following percentages:

Amount Guaranteed 17.5%
3 Year Max Raise 45.6%
3 Year Incentives 17.9%
5 Year Max Raise 42.9%
5 Year Incentives 27.5%

So if this is now the precedent for a best player what would should Revis be willing to accept? Revis has three years remaining on his contract, in which he is scheduled, assuming he hits all his incentives, to earn around 20.65 million. Based on the three year raise given to Johnson that would place Revis' compensation at 30.06 million over the next three years, which would rank Revis behind only Asomugha on yearly compensation. Of the 30.06 million about 5.4 million would be incentive laden money. One of the differences between Johnson's deal and Revis deal is that Johnson had 5 years remaining while Revis would be free in 3 years. If you want to be fair to Revis you would have to use the 5 year max raise and use his first three years as a base for that raise to calculate his compensation over those two years. That would place 2013 and 2014 around a total of 28.5 million of which 10 million or so would be incentive based. The Jets would then have the choice of whether to add on one or two added years of essentially funny money at the end of the deal to get the total contract close to the Asomugha numbers to make the Revis side look good. But the real contract based on the Johnson deal should be 5 years for 58.5 million with a virtual guarantee of 30 million dollars. The actual guarantee based on Johnson's deal would be 20.6 million, or what was originally guaranteed to Revis in the first place. Revis should receive close to 12 million in compensation in 2010 to match the Johnson contract. But this is what the market now looks to be for extensions for superstar players with multiple years remaining on the deal and should be what the Revis side and Jets side use as the basis for restarting constructive talks to get Revis back into camp.

And as always you can receive updates Via Twitter @nyjetscap