Projecting the Contracts of the 2008 New York Jets Draft Class
With the big weekend finally past we turn our attention to what our teams' new rookies can expect to earn out of their draft positions.
1. Vernon Gholston, Defensive End, Ohio State
Gholston, selected number 6 overall, is going to command a very large contract with the Jets. Most players selected in this range will command a 6 year contract with a likely maximum value somewhere around 40 million dollars. It's unlikely there will be a hangup over the length of the deal as there was with Darelle Revis, but it is customary to have the final year of the deal as a voidable option year. The final year would likely be a high base salary tied to the cost of the franchise tag for a defensive end in 2013. The Jets did this with D’Brickashaw Ferguson so it should not be an issue with the front office. In terms of guaranteed money Gholston should have around 16 million in guarantees. Between signing bonus, option bonus, and roster bonus money, Gholston should earn around 11.5 million dollars in the first two years of the deal to go along with $665,000 in base salary.
Gholston’s agent, Ben Dogra, has had good success in getting clients into camp more or less on time. Gholston will be Dogra’s number 1 client and a
priority to get finished. He has represented other top picks in recent years such as Mario Williams, Cadillac Williams,
Roy Williams, Terence Newman, Michael Huff, and Adrian Peterson so he is experienced in these negotiations.
All but Peterson were in camp on the first day and Peterson was signed after missing just two days of camp.
His track record would seem to indicate that he is negotiable in regards to upfront money, but will want some likely to be earned clauses
put early in the contract to up the likely guaranteed value of the contract.
As long as the Jets are willing to do that there should be no issues and Gholston should be done early enough.
2. Dustin Keller, Tight End, Purdue.
Keller’s contract would look to be an easy one to negotiate as 4 tight ends have been selected since 2004 in the same range as Keller. Ben Watson, selected number 32 by New England in 2004, Heath Miller, the number 30 pick in 2005, and Greg Olsen, selected by Chicago at number 31 in 2007, were all the top players selected at their position in the draft similar to Keller's selection as the top tight end at number 30. Marcedes Lewis was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2006 as the 28th selection, but was the second tight end selected that year. The basic parameters for Keller should be a 5 year deal worth around 7.5 million dollars with a potential maxed out value around 10 million. The guaranteed money should be similar to the 4.8 million dollars the Jets gave Center Nick Mangold in 2006. Expect a signing and option bonus to total between 3.8 and 3.9 million dollars over the first two years to go along with a $350,000 to $375,000 roster bonus in year 1. If there is a hangup in the deal it will likely be over a small hassle in guaranteed money as Keller may feel he deserves a guarantee on the higher side since the Jets moved up to get him. Being that the Jets moving up earned him a minimum of an extra 2.3 million dollars, the chances of that being a real hangup seem minimal as he was an early 2nd rounder at best without this trade.
Keller’s agent, Eugene Parker, also represents Justin Miller and Abram Elam of the Jets so he should be familiar with the Jets front office.
Parker, however, has represented players involved in lengthy holdouts. Those include Richard Seymour of New England, Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona,
Hines Ward of Pittsburgh, Peter Boulware of Baltimore, and Cedric Benson of Chicago. These were, however,
big established stars and high draft choices. Middle of the road picks such as Miller, Devin Hester and Chris Houston are pretty much in camp on time.
With Parker representing 4 first rounders selected ahead of Keller(Sedrick Ellis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Felix Jones, and Mike Jenkins) it is
likely he will want to get Keller done so he can eventually focus on a big deal for Ellis in particular.
3. Dwight Lowery, Cornerback, San Jose State
Drafted with the 113th selection in the draft, Lowery should get a 4 year contract worth between 2.15 and 2.18 million dollars. Lowery’s signing bonus should be in the neighborhood of $450,000. There should be no incentives other than an increase in pay for the final season up to the level of a RFA tender which could be as much as 1.2 million dollars provided Lowery is on the roster and has participated in workouts with the team.
4. Erik Ainge, Quarterback, Tennessee
5th round draft selection Erik Ainge will receive a 4 year contract worth between 1.85 and 1.87 million dollars if he is on the active roster. His signing bonus should be around $148,000. If Ainge remains on the team for 4 years he will likely get an increase in base salary tied to participating in offseason workouts. His salary would likely raise to 1.2 million dollars, which is the lowest tender given to a restricted free agent.
5. Marcus Henry, WR, Kansas
Henry, selected 171st overall in the 6th round, will likely be awarded with a 4 year contract worth a potential 1.82 million dollars. He should receive a signing bonus of approximately $106,000 with the potential to earn an increase in base salary in the 4th year of his deal.
6. Nate Garner, OT, Arkansas
Garner, selected with the 4th choice of the 7th round, will receive a 4 year deal from the Jets worth a potential 1.78 to 1.79 million dollars. He will likely receive a signing bonus around $60,000 and small bonuses each year if he participates in offseason workouts. If he is still on the team in the 4th year and has participated in workouts his base salary will rise to the RFA tender.