By Steven Van Tassell
In anticipation of the first 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up drafts on May 8th, it’s important that Dynasty Owners are aware of new salary figures for players that will be in effect this year and in future years. There are many ways that players are acquired by NFL teams and sign their contracts, and then there are some that sign contract extensions or restructure them.
As everyone knows, the NFL draft took place a couple of days ago and players will sign 4-year contracts on a salary scale. Those rookie contracts have been loaded in the Dynasty Owner platform from the Spotrac NFL 2021 draft tracker table (https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/draft/). Teams have also been signing undrafted free agents to contracts of varying amounts over the next past few days and will continue to do so in the next few days, weeks and months. Those contracts will also be added to the Dynasty Owner platform.
First round draft picks sign contracts with fifth year options that can be picked up or declined by their NFL team. The deadline for picking up or declining those options was May 3rd and this article (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/05/nfl-fifth-year-option-contract-information/) will help Dynasty Owners keep track of those salaries which will take effect for the 2022 Dynasty Owner season.
Free agency started with a rash of big free agent contract signings right after it opened in mid-March and have continued on since then. Matt “The Jerk” Morrison (@dynastyjerk) wrote an article with a lot of the free agency news (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/03/free-agency-opens/) and I also tackled the topic around the same time (https://dynastyowner.com/2021/03/new-contracts-for-the-2021-dynasty-owner-season/). There have been a few additional free agent signings since these articles were written, but a lot of the major ones are covered.
Before a player becomes a free agent, his NFL team will sometimes sign him to a contract extension to avoid having him test the open market. Many of these contract extensions were signed before the start of the 2020 NFL and Dynasty Owner season and the new contract amount is now in effect for the 2021 Dynasty Owner season. Both George Kittle and Travis Kelce signed multi-year extensions way back in August of 2020, but their new salaries of $15 million for Kittle and $14.3 million for Kelce weren’t changed for Dynasty Owners until recently. The double digit per year contract extensions signed by Keenan Allen ($20.025 million), Dalvin Cook ($12.6 million), Derrick Henry ($12.5 million), DeAndre Hopkins ($27.25 million), Cooper Kupp ($15.75 million), Christian McCaffrey ($16 million), Patrick Mahomes ($45 million), Joe Mixon ($12 million), Deshaun Watson ($39 million), and Robert Woods ($16.25 million) all fall into this category.
In addition to all of those new contracts, there have been some additional contract extensions signed more recently. Some will take effect for the 2021 season, while others won’t impact the player’s Dynasty Owner salary in 2021, but will in the future.
Players can also have their contracts restructured. This happens quite frequently, but most of the changes do not affect their Dynasty Owner salary as players are merely converting some salary for the upcoming season into a bonus to help their NFL team with the NFL salary cap. These changes do not affect the overall cost of their contract or the number of years, so the average annual value is unchanged and therefore, their Dynasty Owner salary does not change. This past off-season has seen a who’s who of top players (Brandin Cooks, Jared Goff, Travis Kelce, Cooper Kupp, Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Matt Ryan, Adam Thielen, Michael Thomas and Robert Woods, among others) restructure their contracts in this manner. None of their salaries changed in Dynasty Owner.
However, for a few players, the restructured contract comes after a trade or threat to be released and the new contract replaces the old one and becomes effective for Dynasty Owners. In 2020, Sammy Watkins restructured his contract with Kansas City and reduced his 2020 Dynasty Owner salary from $16 million down to $9 million. Nick Foles was traded from Jacksonville to Chicago and his 4-year, $88 million contract ($22 million per year) was restructured into a 3-year, $24 million contract ($8 million per year). His Dynasty Owners received $14 million in yearly contract savings.
With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most recent extensions signed by players in the Dynasty Owner player pool.
All position ranking data and stats listed are from the 2020 Dynasty Owner season. Updated 2021 salaries are currently posted on the Dynasty Owner platform based on data from Spotrac (www.spotrac.com).
All of the following contract extensions were signed after the end of the 2020 NFL and Dynasty Owner seasons. They range in size and scope from the second largest annual salary in the NFL for a veteran QB to an extra year for the G.O.A.T. to an extension for a player who didn’t even sign a contract for last season until December. In order of total size of the contract, these extensions were given to:
- Dak Prescott (QB – DAL) – 4 years/$160 million: Dak Prescott signed a four-year, $160 million extension with the Dallas Cowboys through the 2024 season. His $40 million annual salary will be the second largest in Dynasty Owner behind only Patrick Mahomes ($45 million). This new contract removes the franchise tag from Prescott that made his salary $30.144 million in 2020 for his Dynasty Owners. Prescott played very well in 2020 before his season ended due to an ankle injury suffered in Week 5. In just five games, he scored 175.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for an average of 35.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.
- Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA) signs four year extension worth $69 million: Tyler Lockett received a four-year, $69 million extension with the Seattle Seahawks. The extension will keep him in a Seahawks uniform through the 2025 season. The durable third round pick from Kansas State has played his entire six year career with the Seahawks and only missed one game, back in 2016. He will still count for $10.25 million against the Dynasty Owner salary cap in 2021. His annual salary jumps by $7 million to $17.25 million for the 2022 season. Lockett was the #8 ranked WR in Dynasty Owner in 2020 with 270.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 16 games for an average of 16.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.
- Tom Brady (QB – TB) signs one-year contract extension for 2022 season: After winning his record seventh Super Bowl, Tom Brady signed a one-year contract extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The extension will keep him in Tampa Bay for another year through the 2022 season when he will be 45 years old. He will make $25 million in both 2021 and 2022. Brady was the #7 ranked QB in Dynasty Owner in 2020 with 454.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and started all 16 games for an average of 28.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.
- Taylor Heinicke (QB – WAS) – 2 years/$4.75 million: Taylor Heinicke signed a two-year extension with the Washington Football Team for a total of $4.75 million. The extension will keep him in Washington for the next two seasons after he was signed in December to the team’s practice squad. Heinicke ended up starting the team’s Wild Card playoff game against Tampa Bay after playing in their Week 16 game in place of Dwayne Haskins. He scored 15.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in that regular season game.
A less frequent contract happening is when a player has his contract restructured completely and the result is basically a new contract with a new salary amount for their Dynasty Owners. Usually this occurs when a player is traded to another team and he agrees to change his contract to help out the new team. It also can happen when a player wants to stay with his current team and takes less money to do so and avoid being released. The following five players in the Dynasty Owner player pool had their 2021 contracts restructured during the current off-season with the new restructured contract resulting in a savings in 2021 salary cap for their Dynasty Owners.
- David Johnson (RB – HOU) – 1 year/$5 million: David Johnson agreed to a restructured contract of one year at a salary of $5 million for the 2021 season to stay with the Houston Texans. He will be a free agent in 2022. This restructuring will save his Dynasty Owners $8 million in salary cap space as he was expected to make $13 million in the final year of the 3 year, $39 million contract he signed when he played for the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson was the #22 ranked RB in Dynasty Owner in 2020 with 179.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 12 games played for an average of just under 15.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.
- Ben Roethlisberger (QB – PIT) – 1 year/$14 million: Ben Roethlisberger agreed to a new contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers for one season at a salary of $14 million for the 2021 season. He will be a free agent in 2022 at the age of 40, but there is plenty of speculation that this is his final season. This restructuring will save his Dynasty Owners $20 million in salary cap space for 2021 as he was originally scheduled to make $34 million. Roethlisberger was the #13 ranked QB in Dynasty Owner in 2020 with 360.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 15 games played for an average of 24.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.
- Taysom Hill (QB – NO) – 1 year/$12.159 million: Taysom Hill re-signed with the New Orleans Saints for one season at a salary of $12.159 million for the 2021 season. He will be a free agent in 2022. Even though the contract was widely reported initially as being a 4-year, $140 million deal, it is not even close to that in reality or for Dynasty Owners. Overall, Hill scored 165.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 16 games for an average of 10.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. In the four games that he started at QB; Hill scored 92.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for an average of 23.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.
- Marcus Mariota (QB – LV) – 1 year/$3.5 million: Marcus Mariota agreed to a restructured contract of one year at a salary of $3.5 million for the 2021 season to stay with the Las Vegas Raiders. He will be a free agent in 2022. He served as Derek Carr’s backup in Las Vegas in 2020 and only played in the Raiders’ Week 15 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. This restructuring will save his Dynasty Owners $5.3 million in salary cap space as he was expected to make $8.8 million. Mariota played well in his one game, scoring 29.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points.
- Teddy Bridgewater (QB – DEN) – 1 year/$11.499 million: Teddy Bridgewater agreed to a restructured contract of one year at a salary of $11.499 million for the 2021 season with the Denver Broncos. He will be a free agent in 2022. Bridgewater was traded to Denver after spending the 2020 season with the Carolina Panthers. This restructuring will save his Dynasty Owners $9.5 million in salary cap space for 2021 as he was scheduled to make $21 million. It also removes his $21 million salary for 2022. Bridgewater was the #19 ranked QB in Dynasty Owner in 2020 with 294.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in 15 games played for an average of 19.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game.
Contract extensions and restructuring existing contracts are two important ways that Dynasty Owner salaries can change for players during the off-season. In the case of contract extensions, they can either take effect for the 2021 season, as in the case of Dak Prescott, or be a true extension that will take effect in the future and not change the player’s 2021 salary as is happening with Tyler Lockett. In contrast, restructured contracts definitely take the place of a player’s current contract and almost always represent a salary decrease that will benefit the player’s NFL team as well as his Dynasty Owners.
Hopefully this article is helpful as you prepare for the upcoming Dynasty Owner season and maybe even your 2021 start-up draft. Keep an eye out for additional new articles and videos from the entire Dynasty Owner writing team. Nate Christian (@NateNFL) will be looking at the recently drafted rookies now that they have a NFL team. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) is doing a deep dive into contracts by teams. Jay Pounds (@jaypoundsnfl) continues to look at how to rebuild your Dynasty Owner roster. And I’ll help get you ready for your 2021 Dynasty Owner start-up league team.
Please read all of our articles, watch the videos and follow the four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter. Thanks, and have a great day!
Steven Van Tassell is the Head of Content for Dynasty Owner
Follow us on Twitter: @SteveVT33 and @Dynasty_Owner