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Examining A Possible Contract Extension For Matt Paradis

Matt Paradis has not missed a single snap in his first three accrued seasons in the NFL, and has been a bright spot amid generally subpar offensive line play in Denver during that time. What would be an appropriate offer to get a player of Paradis’s reliability to remain in Denver for more years to come?

The center market has sustained some recent abnormal deals.

Most contracts for top centers operated relatively closely to the $9 million APY level that was set in 2016–Alex Mack, the Pouncey twins, Rodney Hudson among them–with Travis Frederick the leader at $9.4 million. Full guarantees for these players were solidly in the eight figures, Since then Weston Richburg got what I felt was an even market value deal with the 49ers comparable with those players. On the team-friendly end, Justin Britt took a $9 million APY deal in 2017 with Seattle, but it was very light on full guarantees and effectively was structured as a possible one year deal. Corey Linsley’s extension with Green Bay, meanwhile, I felt was a hometown discount deal on his part.

I thought that Paradis might be able to fit in at or below those figures somewhere, but then came two deals that were way out of left field. First, the Jaguars, as they are wont to do, opened up the wallet for Brandon Linder last year, breaching the $10 million APY level and guaranteeing almost $20 million. Then, not to be outdone in the state of Florida, the Buccaneers signed Ryan Jensen this year to a deal that slight bested Linder in those figures, plus fully guaranteeing over half his contract. Those two deals are unfortunate for the Broncos, and they’ll have to find a way to negotiate around them.

Here’s a list of center contracts that were signed in the past two years. You can find some info on more center deals here.

Player Yrs APY Full Guarantees Running Cash Flows
Total Pct. Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Ryan Jensen 4 $10.50M $22.00M 52.4% $12.00M $22.00M $32.00M
Brandon Linder 5 $10.34M $19.50M 37.7% $18.70M $24.70M $32.70M
Weston Richburg 5 $9.50M $16.50M 34.7% $17.00M $23.00M $30.00M
Justin Britt 3 $9.00M $5.89M 21.8% $13.25M $18.25M $27.00M
Corey Linsley 3 $8.50M $8.00M 31.4% $10.85M $17.00M $25.50M
Spencer Long 4 $6.85M $6.00M 21.9% $7.00M $13.50M $20.25M

The contract

Year Base Salary Prorated Bonus Cap Number Dead Money (pre June 1) Cap Savings (pre June 1)
2018 $1,164,000 $3,250,000 $4,414,000 $17,250,000 ($12,836,000)
2019 $4,250,000 $3,250,000 $7,500,000 $14,000,000 ($6,500,000)
2020 $5,900,000 $3,250,000 $9,150,000 $6,500,000 $2,650,000
2021 $7,400,000 $3,250,000 $10,650,000 $3,250,000 $7,400,000

This is a three year, $28.8 million extension that fully guarantees in new money $15.5 million via a $11.25 million signing bonus and a guaranteed 2019 base salary. This deal also prorates $1.75 million of Paradis’s RFA tender he’s due to earn in 2018, for purposes of keeping 2018 and 2019 cap numbers lower.

Why only three years? It may come as a surprise to you to learn that Paradis turns 29 this year. This is due to playing all the way to redshirt senior status at Boise State, plus serving a practical redshirt year in the NFL on the practice squad in his rookie year. Centers like Paradis do have a reputation of playing well into their 30s, but I end the extension at three years just in case that assumption doesn’t work, and I also think it would be more amiable to Paradis to get another shot at a contract year or free agency before his career is over.

The strongest part of this deal for Paradis is the percentage of fully guaranteed money. At 53.8% this is the one metric that even beats out Jensen and Linder. The guarantees per year at over $5 million also beat out everyone but Jensen. On other metrics, Paradis is slotted clearly behind Jensen and Linder, but is competitive with Richburg’s deal. The APY at $9.6 million is slightly better, while the total guarantee and cash flows are slightly worse. However, on all metrics this deal for Paradis greatly outdoes the likes of Britt or Linsley.

For 2020, there can be room for negotiation on whether a guarantee for injury can be secured, or even a partial full guarantee if Paradis’s camp is eager to beat out Richburg in that metric. Ideally, I would set up an option bonus due before the start of the 2020 league year, but unfortunately that will run afoul of the 30% Rule. While the dead money allows the Broncos to move on from Paradis before 2020 if they want, the cap savings are minimal, and the hope for both sides should be that that year becomes a reality. Come 2021, if Paradis is still playing at a high level, another round of extension talks can take place before that season.