The cost of an elite corner (What's Fuller worth?)

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by okay, May 14, 2014.

  1. okay

    okay Rookie

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    When Phil Emery selected Kyle Fuller in the 1st round, I think he made an excellent choice. While corner was not the Bear's biggest need this year - most would argue it was safety, Kyle Fuller was - in my opinion, the best talent available.

    What makes this draft choice an A+ for me is that in addition to being the best talent available, he plays at a position that has become one of the most expensive in the NFL. By locking Fuller up for 4 years on the rookie wage scale, with a 5th year option, he doesn't have to go after and overpay an elite CB in FA....IF any make it to FA. I've spoke about this before, but what prompted me to start this thread today was seeing the details of the new extension the Browns just gave Joe Haden. It is 5 years $68 million with $45 million guaranteed.

    Here are some CB contracts from this offseason, starting at the highest:
    Joe Haden, Browns -
    5 years $68 million extension. $45 million guaranteed. Average $13.6 mil/year.

    Richard Sherman, Seahawks - 4 years $57 million extension. $40 million guaranteed. Average $14.3 mil/year.

    Darrelle Revis, Patriots - 2 years $32 million. $11.5 million guaranteed. Average $16 mil/year. (Bucs gave him a 6 year $96 million contract last year)

    Aqib Talib, Broncos - 6 years $57 million. $26 million guaranteed. Average $9.5 mil/year.

    Vontae Davis, Colts - 4 years $39 million. $20 million guaranteed. Average $9.75 mil/year.

    Sam Shields, Packers - 4 years $39 million. $21 million over first 2 years. Average $9.75 mil/year.

    Alterraun Verner - 4 years $26.5 million. $14 million guaranteed. Average $6.6 mil/year.

    ------------------------------------

    Now lets look at the top safeties signed this offseason, starting at the highest:
    Earl Thomas, Seahawks - 4 years $40 million. $27.7 guaranteed. Average $10 mil/year.

    Jairus Byrd, Saints - 6 years $54 million. $28 million guaranteed. Average $9 mil/year.

    T.J. Ward, Broncos - 4 years $23 million. $14 million guaranteed. Average $5.75 mil/year.

    ------------------------------------

    And last of all lets look at the estimate from the rookie wage scale for the 14th pick in the 2014 NFL draft:
    4 years $9,687,000. $5,353,000 guaranteed. Average approx $2.5 mil/year.

    So....What can you take away from these numbers? I've picked up a few things:
    - The best safeties in the league MUCH cheaper than the best corners in the league. Jairus Byrd and Earl Thomas are as good as it gets and there is a big difference between them and Haden/Sherman/Revis (in both salary and guaranteed money). They are earning closer to the young, upper-echelon but not elite CBs (Davis, Shields, Talib).

    - Even those upper-echelon but nowhere near elite (in my opinion) CBs like Davis and Shields are getting paid big money ($9 mil/season).

    - Being a big hitter/run stopper at Safety is not as valuable as elite cover skills/ball hawking. I believe TJ Ward is considered one of the best safeties in the league, but he is a punisher and run stopper. Compare to Thomas and Byrd and there is a huge difference in pay.

    - The highest paid corners are all 5'11 plus, and excel at man coverage. Why might Verner have been paid less? He's a little shorter at 5'10, and excels at zone but not man.

    Now, to relate this to the BEARS draft:
    If Kyle Fuller turns out to be an elite corner, which he has all the measurables and potential to be, we could be saving $10 million+/year compared to getting an elite CB in FA. Comparing to a Vontae Davis contract you're looking at $6.5 mil/year saving, comparing the best (Revis) you're looking at a $13.5 mil/year saving.

    Where is the ceiling of Clinton-Dix or Pryor? I'd say Pryor's ceiling is a TJ Ward type player. Clinton-Dix? Maybe somewhere between Ward and Byrd. It was an average safety class with no elite prospects. Savings compared to paying an elite FA? Anywhere from as low as $3.5 mil/season (Ward comparison) to $6.5 mil/season (Byrd comparison)....

    Conclusion
    This is a passing league, the 2 defensive positions that have the most impact against the passing game are Cornerback (especially tall/rangy ones) and 4-3 Defensive End/3-4 OLB. Drafting these players early if there is a talented player on the board will save you spending huge money on them in FA. Safety is becoming more valuable in this league but nowhere as much as CB and the emphasis is on cover skills. Yes, safety was our biggest need but that doesn't mean you reach when there's still elite talent on the board. There are 7 rounds in the draft, there are still some serviceable FAs out there, and as Phil said there will be more safeties released by their teams before the season begins. Phil Emery has considered this and made a great choice in Round 1. The Jets can have Pryor, a guy like that can be picked up cheap enough in FA. The Packers can have their Clint0n-Dix too. Neither will ever be as valuable in this league as an elite CB.

    **Yes, I know we have a Kyle Fuller thread but I think this deserves its own. Yes, I know a lot of this is about other teams players but it directly to us and our cap and should be in Bears discussion section IMO.**
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
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  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    that's a legit and fair, but you could do that w/every position, especially QB(see the seahawks who's SB and their moves to build that team could be directly related to the fact that their QB is making a mere 2.9mil over 4 years.

    But this is why you have to build your entire team through the draft, and have to build proper depth, b/c you won't be able to keep everyone.
  3. Chicago_66

    Chicago_66 Veteran

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    I also believe Patrick Peterson is on the verge of receiving a contract that would only further support your statement. He wants more money than Sherman and with his wicked return abilities and his great age I definitely see him becoming the new highest paid corner around. We drafted higher than, barring injuries, we'll draft in the near future and we snagged a guy with all the abilities to be a number 1 corner in this league. I'm happy we went corner, you have to break the bank to get the upper echelon of players at that position and now there's a very good possibility we'll have one on the cheap.

    This is why building through the draft is so damn important. Instead of vastly overpaying an aging McCown we got a prospect like Fales. He may not live up to what McCown has down here in Chicago but I don't think McCown can live up to what he's done here in Chicago and Fales has as good of a chance as any QB in those later rounds. I doubt we stop drafting QB's because of Fales, I do believe Emery said he'd take a QB in every draft and that's not a bad idea. You never know how well they'll translate to the NFL and you can pick em up and see what they've got while Cutler starts until you find his heir apparent. As Benj was saying if they perform well enough there's even a chance to get great compensation for them from a QB hungry team.

    Free agency is great for some cheap quality depth options or players who need a prove it year and contribute long term later on, players like Slausen. But to build your team through free agency you end up in cap hell and in no way does it ever guarantee success. Look at the Skins, whens the last time they were juggernauts of the east? Patriots. Packers. Seahawks. 49ers. All these great teams have been collecting star players via the draft and you need to do that with consistency to be consistently good. Looking forward to the season.
  4. Chicago_66

    Chicago_66 Veteran

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    I'm interested to see what the team will look like now that they're paying top dollar for Sherman, Thomas, and Chancellor (not as much as the other two but still). Once they fork over the cash for Russell they won't have quite the freedom they've been experiencing and it will be essential to continue nailing draft picks to keep that team going. You can only afford so many big name players and Super Bowl winning QB's usually command top dollar, even if it was the defense that dominated the stage they're going to be paying big for Russell. Well ran team though, Sherman was a 5th rounder wasn't he?
  5. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    I'm certain that those 3 contracts were all based on the ability to get Wilson his money.
  6. Chicago_66

    Chicago_66 Veteran

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    Without a doubt. I think they were smart to sign Sherman before Haden or Peterson were signed. Set the bar so you don't have to go over the bar. I'm just curious what their cap situation will look like post-Russell signing. In fact I'm going to go look at their draft.. see what Seattle was up to.
  7. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    oh they are going to lose a TON of those D players, and some O players also, but they're lucky they still get him this year cheap. If you can draft well, then you can bet they'll be fine, if they blew this or blow the next draft the team will suffer.
  8. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    Fuller was a good pick, with Donald going right before at 13.

    But, before we get too excited the kid will need to show that he can play at this level let alone be "elite".

    He should have an opportunity to play in the nickle package and get experience this year, and that will help when he needs to step up and be a starter.

    A CB takes a couple of year to be "ready" to start, such as Jimmy Smith (Ravens) and Peterson are just a couple of examples of high draft picks that did not start in the first or even second year, but are now considered a smart draft pick.
  9. okay

    okay Rookie

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    Not exactly "every position"...I think you missed the point....yes there is a big difference between the price of a top FA and a top draftee at "every position", but the point I am making is that for SOME positions there is a much greater benefit gained from picking them up in the draft early compared to others (eg. CB compared to safety, Fuller compared to Pryor/Dix). To my knowledge these are the most expensive/hardest to come by positions - QB, LT, WR, CB, DE/pass rushers....hence why you see a lot of those positions go early in the draft, and not a lot of safeties, OG, C, RT, TE, 4-3 OLB.

    Yeah you're right - gotta build through the draft. My point is that at certain positions it's more important to build those through the draft, and others can be had easy/cheap enough in FA. And hence we should be happy to have Fuller instead of a safety!
  10. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Oh I know there is, but I don't think CB is near as high a cost over S as you might think.

    Top paid CB this year is 14 mil, the 25th paid CB is 5 mil
    Top paid S This year is 10 mil, the 25th paid S is 5 mil

    The top 2 CB's make more then the top S, and then it seems to level off and the 2 fall more in line.

    Both of those fall right in line w/OT's, OLB's, DT's

    But DE's on the other hand, you have to go 6 deep before hitting 10 mil before bottoming out at 5mil for the top 25, WR's are even more out of step going 6 deep before hitting 10mil, and none of the top 25 are paid 5mil.
    QB's take the cake though, first 13 qb's are set to make 22-13 mil this year(only 6 have one a sb), one of those Cutler mind you, and then it drops to 8-3 mil.

    http://www.spotrac.com/rankings/nfl/average/quarterback/limit-25/

    So if you are theorizing that certain positions need to be drafted early and often to keep the costs down, while CB is one of them, it's not clearly higher then S, and definately not high compared to DE/WR/QB who are all paid FAR more then the rest of the league.
  11. okay

    okay Rookie

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    I'm just comparing the recent contracts signed, where the market is NOW and where it is heading in the future. Corners are getting PAID. Like I said, Joe Haden's new contract with $45 million guaranteed is what prompted me to start this thread.

    Compare top to top, top paid S is Earl Thomas at $10 mil/year avg. Top paid CB is Revis getting $16 mil/year avg ($12 mil this year, $20 mil next). That's 60% more....a lot to me.

    Then look at guaranteed money....Byrd $28mil...Haden just got $45 mil, Sherman got $40 mil. Huge difference.

    The BEST most elite at S earn similar to an above average CB. Shields/Davis earning same as Thomas/Byrd (and you won't find better safeties in the league than those 2).

    In today's market if Calvin Pryor reached his potential as planned he'd probably be somewhere at TJ Wards level, $5.75 mil/year avg.

    If Kyle Fuller reached his potential as planned he'd be worth at least $13 mil/year avg. (it's a big if, but I feel he's as likely to reach that level as Pryor is to reach TJ Ward's level)
  12. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Derrelle is never going to see that 25 mill from NE. He'll be released or restructured before he ever sees that roster bonus.

    at the end of the day, the cost wasn't the issue, imo, the problem is you cannot find elite top shelf CB's in the latter 1/2 of the first round or later and it's a more important long term position then S. So if now and short/long term needs are CB and S, then you have to go w/CB b/c you MIGHT get a decent S in the latter 1/2 of the first or beyond.
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  13. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Excellent analysis okay and I think it's good to highlight this part of the Bears decision process as well. We've typically never spent high draft picks on Safeties. I posted on that before. Since 1950 (as far as I went back) we've spent exactly one first round pick on a Safety and that was Mark Carrier. That's it, just one.

    Assuming Fuller lives up to his billing we did the right thing taking him over Dix or Pryor both from a standpoint of performance and importance to the defense and from a standpoint of economics. Very few teams will let a great young CB hit FA and those who do end up with huge deals despite the fact that they may not have earned it.

    This is a great thread. :23 28 100[1]:
  14. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    I agree, OK. Was thinking the same thing as (living here in AZ) Patrick Peterson's upcoming contract has been getting a lot of press after the Sherman/Hayden thing. PP is gonna get huge coin.

    I'm so glad Emery locked up Jennings early and drafted Peanut's replacement in advance.
  15. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    You beat me to it MD. This is not a slam dunk pick, its good to get excited and he showed some great things but it's not like he is the Luck of CBs. He, like most everyone else is not a slam dunk so lets hold off on crowning him. Step one, beat out Frey for the NB job and then we can go from there.
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  16. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Fuller has an excellent opportunity for developing this year. Learning under Hoke and Peanut along with playing several positions and getting his feet wet w/o a lot of pressure in the long run imo is better than if we would have tagged Donald if he was still available.
  17. okay

    okay Rookie

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    You're right, you obviously can't call any of this years draft picks a "slam dunk" yet and this thread wasn't assuming any will be.This is a hypothetical situation - one where Fuller reaches his potential or gets close, and where one of the safeties we could have drafted reaches their potential or getting close. Fuller could be a complete bust, however I think he has a similar chance of reaching that potential and becoming a pro bowler, or busting, as Pryor or Clinton-Dix. The point I was making is that even if he turned out just an above average CB (similar to Vontae Davis) he would likely be considered as valuable or more valuable than Pryor if he was a pro-bowler (similar to TJ Ward). The market and the dollars spent tell us which positions teams value more.

    Good to have some discussion on it anyway. Nice to see some people agree and good to hear some other views like riczaj.

    Agreed - although he's now a midget on the bad side of 30, the Jennings deal seems like a bargain considering those this offseason. Nice work by Emery locking up Jennings early for cheap before he made it into FA. And Tim's been very durable, I don't recall any injuries that would slow him down and prevent him finishing that contract playing at a high level.
  18. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    No one we got is slam dunk. No one anyone got is a slam dunk. Even Clowney, the top pick has questions as to whether he is going to be a hard worker and successful at the NFL level. We have no clue, but I completely agree that if you had to go out and get a top CB vs a top S, that you had better bring a bigger purse to the CB party.
  19. sluggobear

    sluggobear Veteran

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    Great information, thanks for youe perspective.

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