When it comes to free agency, players try to get as much money as they can because there are no guarantees they will ever get to sign another lucrative contract. In the NFL, getting as much money up front is even more important because NFL contracts aren’t guaranteed, and a player can be released if the team wants to save some money or if the player gets hurt. A team’s performance in free agency is important for online betting predictions because it helps to determine how successful the team will be in the upcoming season, which can turn into a casino bonus.
The free agency period is very fluid, especially in the NFL, because NFL teams go after the biggest names on the market as soon as they are legally allowed to talk to the player and his agent. With a lot of the big names taken off the board quickly, teams have to be able to adapt quickly and turn to their backup plan if the player they wanted signs with another team.
Sometimes, the free agency period can be a disappointment to players because they don’t draw the type of attention they wanted from teams. Some of the reasons that teams don’t try to sign such players are age, injury history, poor performance in the final year of their previous contract, and the available talent at the position.
This year, teams are allowed to negotiate with their free agents until March 7. After the March 7 deadline, teams are allowed to negotiate with the agents of prospective unrestricted free agents during a two day period also known as the “legal tampering” period. The deadline for the two day period is 3:59:59 p.m. ET on March 9.
If a team is able to successfully negotiate a contract with a player’s agent during the legal tampering period, the contract can’t be signed until the beginning of the 2016 league year which starts at 4 PM. ET. on March 9. Players can still re-sign with their current clubs during the period.
The salary cap for the 2016 season is set at $155.27 million With several teams having an excess of $40 million in cap space, there will be a lot of activity during the first days of free agency.
According to a former agent, one of his responsibilities when he represented players was to set an asking price for clients that were going to be free agents. The asking price he gave teams included the total contract value, the guaranteed money the player received, and the compensation given to players that were given the franchise tag.
These are the asking prices the agent expects the top free agents to target this year.
Kirk Cousins – Quarterback, Washington
Total Contract: 5 years, $100 million
Guaranteed Money: $60 million
Compensation for First Three Years: $63 million
Using their $19.953 non-exclusive franchise tag on Kirk Cousins was the smart thing to do because the Redskins couldn’t afford to have him hit free agency because it prevents him from going to a team that has more cap space than Washington.
Cousins, who won the Most Improved Player award this season, wants to be paid the average of the top 15 quarterbacks in the league. Last year, the average salary of the top 15 quarterbacks was $19.8 million, with an average of $56 million in guaranteed money.
Alshon Jeffery – Wide Receiver, Chicago
Total Contract: 5 years, $75 million
Guaranteed money: $48 million
Compensation for First Three Years: $48 million
After trading Brandon Marshall to the Jets last season and losing their first round pick Kevin White to a season-ending injury before the start of the year, the Bears had no intention of letting Jeffery hit free agency. The franchise tag used on Jeffery will pay him $14.599 million next season, but both sides will likely agree on a long-term contract before the season starts.
Last season, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, and Demaryius Thomas signed long term contracts worth an average of $14.5 million, with $43- $47 million in guaranteed money. Jeffery should make a little more than that after signing a new contract with Chicago.
Von Miller – Linebacker, Denver
Total Contract: 6 years, $120 million
Guaranteed money: $65 million
Compensation for First Three Years: $65 million
After winning the Super Bowl MVP, Miller was set to cash in on his free agency. However, the Broncos used their franchise tag on him. Despite the tag, Miller is expected to sign a long-term contract with the Broncos. With J.J. Watt signing a $100 million contract two seasons ago, Miller will receive a similar deal worth an estimated $18 million per year.
Olivier Vernon – Defensive End, Miami
Total Contract: 5 years, $77.5 million
Guaranteed money: $50 million
Compensation for First Three Years: $49.5 million
The Dolphins used a transition tag on Vernon, which will pay him $12.27 million next season. Using the transition tag on Vernon allows the Dolphins to match any offer he signs with another team. With plenty of teams needing a good pass rusher, Vernon will see a significant increase in his salary next season. Vernon is expected to use Cameron Jordan’s five-year deal with the Saints as a starting point, but should make more than the $12 million and $33 million in guaranteed money.
Muhammad Wilkerson – Defensive End, New York Jets
Total Contract: 6 years, $100 million
Guaranteed money: $60.5 million
Compensation for First Three Years: $55.5 million
Wilkerson is considered one of the best defensive ends in the NFL, and after posting a career-high 12 sacks in 2015, his value is as high as it gets. Wilkerson received a $15.7 million franchise from the Jets, but he will be using Marcell Dareus’ $96.1 million deal with the Bills as a starting point when negotiating a long term deal.
All this shows how important it is for online betting predictions and in determining how successful a team will be.