The big NFL story this morning is that Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden (who was drafted one spot after Russell Okung in 2010) has signed a monster contract extension through the 2019 season.
Nice, tidy, breakdown of the numbers in the Tweet below and how they compare to those of Seattle’s Richard Sherman:
Contract Extensions: Haden – Five years, $68 mil., $45M guaranteed Sherman – Four years, $57.4 mil., $40M guaranteed pic.twitter.com/S6kRVrq50F
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) May 13, 2014
As is often the case with NFL contracts, the numbers can be spun a couple different ways. Haden is getting more money than Sherman, both overall and guaranteed. But it’s also spread out over five years instead of four, so Sherman’s per yer averages are higher (to break it down to the most simple average on that, Sherman is getting $10 million a year guaranteed and Haden $9 million).
So, depending on how you want to parse it, either one can claim to be the highest-paid corner in the NFL. Both, though, might be surpassed eventually by Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, who seemed pretty excited this morning at the Haden news:
— Patrick Peterson (@RealPeterson21) May 13, 2014
The Haden deal, though, shows that Seattle likely would have had to pay Sherman more had it waited to get the deal done (though there are also reports that Haden was waiting for Sherman’s deal to get done first — at some point, something would have had to give there). Regardless, Seattle ultimately figures to end up saving a little bit of money here, not to mention just the security of getting the deal done and having it not be a distraction in any way, for Sherman or the team.
Sherman could have played out the 2014 season and waited to see where the market would be in a year or so. But as OvertheCap.com noted, the cornerback market shrunk a bit in the last year, leaving no guarantees he’d get a better deal. And by getting the contract done now, Sherman didn’t have to wait to get life-changing money — his base salary for the 2014 season is $1.4 million, but he received an $11 million bonus for signing his extension.
And while I don’t think anyone really has to worry about Sherman’s motivation level now that he has big money, he’s surely paying attention to all of this, undoubtedly eager to prove he’s the one really deserving of the label of highest-paid corner.