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Ertz contract gives Redskins guidance on new deal for Reed

Jan 26, 2016, 12:00 PM EDT


The Eagles have signed tight end Zach Ertz to a five-year contract extension, locking him up through the 2021 season.

Ertz, a second-round pick by Philadelphia in the 2013 draft, was headed into the last year of his rookie contract, a deal that would have paid him $1.14 million in 2016. Although the details are not yet known the contract is reportedly worth $42.5 million over five years with $20 million guaranteed. In terms of average value of the contract per year, Ertz is now the fourth-highest paid tight end in the NFL.

A couple of hours south down I-95, the Redskins have a very productive tight end who also is going into the final year of his rookie contract. Jordan Reed came to Washington in the third round in 2013, 50 picks after the Eagles picked up Ertz. There has been talk that the Redskins need to consider extending Reed, who led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns last year, before he has a chance to hit the free agent market.

The general feeling is that Reed should end up making more than Ertz. The Eagles’ TE has slightly better career numbers (169 rec., 2,024 yds., 9 TD) than does Reed (182/1,916/14). But Ertz has played in 13 more games as Reed had injury problems his first two years in the league. Per game, Reed has been the more productive player.

So, with Ertz averaging $8.5 million per year on his new contract with incentives that can push it to about $9.2 million, Reed can expect to make something a bit north of $9 million per year with some incentives that can push him to around $9.5 million.

A contract with a $9 million average would make him the third highest-paid tight end in the league, behind Jimmy Graham of the Seahawks ($10 million) and Julius Thomas of the Jaguars ($9.2 million) and tied with Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots.

Due to Reed’s injury issues the Redskins might want to tie some of Reed’s compensation to per-game roster bonuses. These would pay a bonus of, say, $30,000 if Reed is on the 46-man active roster for a game and nothing if he is inactive or on injured reserve. This is a fairly common mechanism used around the league to give teams some relief if a player spends a lot of time sidelined.

There has been no talk of a Reed extension coming out of Redskins Park. But last year Scot McCloughan locked up Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan, both of whom had a year to go on their contracts, in the weeks before the season started. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the same thing happen with Reed this year. They now have a solid comparable contract to which they can refer and that is always helpful in negotiations.

  1. bangkokben - Jan 26, 2016 at 12:23 PM

    Yep. $9M+ per year getting done the eve of training camp sounds about right.

  2. Earl - Jan 26, 2016 at 5:23 PM

    I wouldn’t use Philly as a baseline for free agent business… look how much they gave a 3rd string corner in Byron Maxwell…

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 26, 2016 at 5:50 PM

      1). That was Chip.
      2). Everyone agrees that Ertz, who was not a free agent, was paid right in the range where he should have been.

    • Trey Gregory - Jan 27, 2016 at 1:56 AM

      @Earl: it just sets the market. A deal like this is necessary to look at every couple years the way the cap increases.

      Like what happened with Dez and Demarius Thomas this offseason, then Julio. It gives teams and the players a way to gauge value.

      I’m alll for this especially if we can get a bit of a lower cap hit next year (we have so many expensive guys to resign. Particularly Cousins, Galette, and either Knighton or a new NT). I especially like a contingent contract for Reed. We pay less if he’s hurt, we pay more if he performs. I actually love contingent contracts for most players. I hope they look into it for Knighton too. Those incentives can be powerful motivators.

      • Tj - Jan 27, 2016 at 12:01 PM

        What type of deal do you propose for Galette? If the salary is enough to really account for than I say pass. We’re talking about an explosive pass rusher coming off an ACL. Well documented that it typically takes 2 years to gain the explosiveness if any, and from what I could tell by the size of this guys “pipes” or “pipe cleaners” with that redskins tat, it doesn’t exactly look like he’s living in the gym. Maybe that’s part of the recovery process with losing the weight to take pressure off the knee. All for a Reed deal just think they need to be super careful with the guarantees. More like a 50K per game bonus..

        • Trey Gregory - Jan 27, 2016 at 3:39 PM

          @TJ: Well, just to clarify, Galette tore his Achillies, not his ACL. Very different injury. I’m not a Dr., but I do have a medical background so I feel comfortable saying that Achillies are actually usually worse to come back from. No matter how well the Dr. does, that tendon is shortened , tighter, and it’s harder to get that step back.

          However, we’re starting to see more and more guys come back from Achillies injuries. Hall tore his twice last year and managed to come back. It’s good that Galette tore his so early. He will be a year removed from the injury before the season even starts.

          Also, elite pass rushers are too rare and too valuable to pass up. That’s why McCloughan snagged him despite all his issues in New Orleans. But I do believe that if we want to keep him, we’re going to have to pay him. 1) because someone else will pay him and 2) underpaying players sometimes leads to them under performing. You better believe Baltimore will still want Suggs’ services after his torn Achillies and Miami will still want Wake after his.

          So looking at other edge rushers around Galette’s caliber: Terelle Suggs will be paid about 7.5 mil next year. Cameron Wake 12 mil. Kerrigan 8.5. Orakpo is an interesting comparison because of his injury history. He got 4.5 last year but it jumps to 8.2 mil this year. Now with his New Orlean’s contract Galette cost them 2.95 mil in 2014 but was going to jump to 12.5 in 2015. So, that’s the barometer to me. He’s not going to get top-dollar Justin Houston money, but he will get paid.

          Hopefully they put some contingencies in his contract. Maybe something like only paying him 4 mil in 2016 but raising that to something like 8 mil in 2017 assuming he stays healthy and out of trouble. Hopefully they can add a clause, as they did with Culliver, to get them off the hook for 2017 if Galette is suspended or gets in trouble. With a guy like Galette, it would also be nice to have performance incentives. But I basically think we have to try and retain him, and that will cost us no matter what we do. This defense would be helped so much with another edge rusher who can consistently get double digit sacks and pressure the QB opposite of Kerrigan. It will help everything on the backend.

          None of what I said even gets into the guaranteed money all those guys got or the dead hit if they’re cut. But I think that’s a reasonable place to start.

          Also, with Smith’s emergence, we can ease Galette back into his role. I’m excited about the potential here. I also wouldn’t look too far into the size of Galette’s arms. He’s never been the biggest/strongest guy (there’s a reason he was undrafted). He wins with a crazy fast first step and technique. It may take him a while to get that back, but he will. Trust the trainers to get him back into shape, and that’s assuming he’s not based off a picture where there wasn’t anything to compare for scale.

  3. goback2rfk - Jan 26, 2016 at 8:11 PM

    Reed is still under contract next season. Let him play out next season and prove he can make it allseason without injury and then sign him to a contract. If all else fails, Tag him next season as a TE.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jan 26, 2016 at 8:43 PM

      By waiting down the road when a hot commodity is about to hit the free agent market, it is going to cost much more even if you decide tag him. When you have an unquestionable talent, it’s better to get a long term deal done in advance. Reed is nearing, if not already, elite level as a TE. As for his past injury issues, Rich provided a common solution to that by only providing full compensation under conditions the player is active on game day.

      • goback2rfk - Jan 26, 2016 at 9:09 PM

        Your thinking is partially flawed because you are assuming Reed will be a “hot commodity” by the end of next season. In all actuality Reed could be injured or having just an average OK year. He is more of a hot commodity right now than he may be next season. Pay him big right now and run the risk of just an OK year much like someone else on the team by the name of Kerrigan. Withholding the $$$ and making him prove it is never a bad idea in the NFL as things change so much year to year. For all we know, Cousins likes to throw to Niles Paul next season. He is also a Receiving Tight End strictly as he has basically no blocking skills at all. Im not sure if he should even be in the game during run plays. Reed also has some issue with penalties.
        However, i really do like him and know he will be a Redskins for a long time but I also believe in playing out your contract.

        • Trey Gregory - Jan 27, 2016 at 2:00 AM

          And what if they play light out then walk? Football contracts are usually made so that teams can get out of them quickly. Maybe you’re stuck paying too much for an only okay player for a year or two, but you don’t give those contracts to a player who is likely to be awful. You give them to a guy who is likely to be great, but could end up only being average.

          This sounds just like people saying they want to wait and see more of Cousins. Sometimes the timing just works out where you can’t do that. Or it’s far riskier to do that. There’s no guaranteed thing in football. That’s something people just have to learn to deal with. You have to make calculated risks. Gronk has been hurt a lot too. You think the Pats regret paying him?

        • bangkokben - Jan 27, 2016 at 9:20 AM

          The bigger question is what if he plays out the contract uninjured, puts up the same or better numbers over 16 games and ends with 1250 yards, 90 receptions, and 15 TDs? Then with the cap going up in 2017, you’re now paying more per season going forward, using the tag, or losing the player to FA for being too cheap now. Since there is room in this year’s cap, the risk of paying a higher contract in the future is why McC will get a deal done on the eve of training camp.

        • TJ - Jan 27, 2016 at 12:08 PM

          Dude don’t question Kerrigan. The guy is a warrior. The contract has nothing to do with his performance. He had a knee surgery, He didn’t miss a game and his knee was bugging him big time. There are certain guys that you don’t question for their mentality, dedication, and in turn performance because they are prime examples of consistency, not just as a player but as human being and Kerrigan is one of those guys. Not to mention that locking a guy like that up long term to a reasonable deal only makes other free agents feel more comfortable with the situation they’d be walking into.

        • goback2rfk - Jan 27, 2016 at 2:59 PM

          no player is immune from critique. otherwise we would have nothing to talk about. no hate against Kerrigan but it is safe to say he had a slightly off year. or it is also possible that the overall pass rush was not great. the skins needs more of a pass rush regardless.

        • John - Jan 27, 2016 at 1:18 PM

          Reed is far and away the best receiving weapon on this team. No linebacker or safety can pick him up consistently. Easier to lock him up now as opposed to screwing around later.

          Regarding Kerrigan, linebackers on his side normally have more run responsibility. They are normally not your pass rush star. Now if he was coming around from the other side it would be different. Kerrigan while off a little this year has been more consistent than any other linebacker we’ve had in a while. Orakpo had what 1 good, healthy year, maybe 2?

          Reed has had injury issues. Sometimes that happens. They start out with injury issues, then get healthy and stay healthy. Phil Simms had the injury bug early in his career, then you could have dropped a building on him and not a scratch.

          The comment regarding blocking, he at least makes the effort. He may hold but that will get fixed. Regarding other receivers getting the ball,a good QB is a distributor/facilitator but Niles Paul and Derek Carrier are no where near the receiving threat that Reed is. If their open, you throw it to them. Comparing with Gronk is also an apple/orange comparison. Both are damn near impossible matchups. Gronk has the size. Reed is the better route runner.

          Reward him now and be rewarded with a happy employee who happens to be your best weapon.

  4. nhskinsfan - Jan 27, 2016 at 11:14 AM

    As true as the value is I have a hard time believing any TE should make more than Gronk. He is the complete package and should be the standard to which TE should be judged by. He is elite in his catching and blocking(by TE standard). My opinion obviously. I also know that the market dictates the price.

    I love Reed and we need to pay him. Hopefully his injuries are a thing of the past but all contracts are based on what you can do and what you have done. Last year Reed had a great year and I believe he will keep this up. His ability says he can.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 27, 2016 at 2:34 PM

      Gronk signed his extension in 2012. The 2016 cap will be about 33% higher than the cap was then. Contracts are going to get bigger and agents are not going to be bound by precedents from when there was much less money to go around.

      • nhskinsfan - Jan 27, 2016 at 3:09 PM

        No arguments here. Every year the price goes up. Cap goes up and so doesn’t the money a player demands.

  5. TJ - Jan 27, 2016 at 11:55 AM

    The only thing the Ertz contract sets precedence for is heinousness. I don’t think any logical or responsible team should be taking examples from what’s going on in Philadelphia. Now as to Reed the player, he is a game changer, and there’s no doubt about it. However, if your going to set an offense up around a guy, which they did, then he needs to be on the field. Even if he’s not putting up the big #’s the defense has to account for him which opens up other things. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Redskins do such a thing as to what you predicted Rich, but for you to be buying into it…I Bleed burgundy and gold but I’m not drinking the Red Robin milkshakes.. They make me feel bloated w/I-B.S.

  6. 1222tmiller - Jan 27, 2016 at 1:59 PM

    Part of the value of a player is his ability to stay on the field. We need to pay him, but not sure it should be any more then Ertz. Archives

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