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Contract Speculation: What is Derrick Harvey Worth?


Derrick Harvey: Future Millionare

With the Jacksonville Jaguars rapidly approaching training camp, it's useful to get an idea of what type of contract Derrick Harvey will recieve. Considering that there is no reports of stalemate between the two sides, Harvey will be quickly signing up and packing his things for the opening of camp on Friday. While several of Harvey's fellow top ten draft picks have signed with their respective teams, there's some ambiguity as to where his contract will fit into the mix.

The Jamaal Anderson Effect:

To get a better sense of what Harvey is "worth", Jamaal Anderson of the Atlanta Falcons is an interesting barometer. Anderson, also a defensive end, agreed to a five-year, 31 million dollar contract with 15.361 million in guaranteed money. With Anderson and Harvey both playing defensive end, it'd seem like this contract would be a good guideline for at least starting negotiations. Where there could be problems is in the incentive-rich language in Anderson's contract regarding sack totals. Jamaal can earn various 5 million dollar escalators based on total sacks between 2007 and 2009. While these sounded good before Anderson entered training camp, that he was held without a single sack might have him regretting putting so much into incentives.

That said, there's some use here in regards to Harvey. Anderson received a 13.5% increase over the 8th pick in the 2006 draft, Donte Whitner. If we apply the same inflation rate to Harvey's contract, we can estimate that he'll receive something like 17.431 million in guaranteed money and a total value of 35.185 million. This, of course, assumes that 13.5 is a reasonable rate of inflation for rookie contracts.

Mad Money:

Under normal circumstances, we'd assume the rate of inflation and run with the 19/35 number as the "best fit" for the draft slot. Unfortunatly, the signing process of the 2008 class is difficult to pin down at this point. The first pick, Jake Long, actually received less money than the 2007 pick, thus denying us a baseline. The third pick, Matt Ryan, actually recieved a 51% increase from the previous 3rd pick, giving us a horrendous outlier. Chris Long's contract is somewhere in the 29 million range, which is about a 6% increase, something far more realistic than Ryan's. Darren McFadden recieved 15% more than Gaines Adams, but far more down to earth than Ryan.

There's simply not enough information right now to realistically project what teams are giving to this rookie class. For Harvey and the Jaguars, all eyes are on Keith Rivers and Sedrick Ellis, the players selected before and after Harvey. Should one of them sign over the next few days, the "slotting" becomes more clear. On Harvey's side, his agent is probably keeping a close eye on what terms Vernon Ghoulston and the Jets agree to, thereby setting a reasonable stage for another defensive end two picks later.

Contract Predictions:

The high end of what Harvey could recieve, assuming a 5-year deal (which is very likely), would be a 15% increase over Anderson. That would be a 17.66 million in guarenteed money, 35.65 million total value. If the Jaguars were to lowball Harvey, with a "mere" 10% inflation from Anderson, it'd be 16.92 guarenteed, 34.1 million in total. While it sounds strange for us mere mortals to consider three quarters of a million dollars a "small difference", the nuances of increasing Harvey's contract over Anderson is fairly insignifcant.

As for my best guess, it'll be 17.5 million guaranteed, 35 million total , minus some of the crazy esclators that Anderson recieved. Five years, of course, I don't imagine many agents are keen on the sixth year, unless it's a phony year designed to make the agent look good.

When will he sign?

Soon. Very soon. The Jaguars aren't going to go to camp without our rookie defensive ends. They're just too important to start camp without them, and there is no obvious conflict about what Harvey should be paid. The Jaguars are also smart enough not to give a young player a nearly incomprehensible amount of money with too much time before camp. The last thing they need is another player in trouble. Not to imply that Harvey is a potential problem, but there's nothing wrong with hedging your bets.

Now, what's going to happen is that Harvey is going to sign for vastly more than I predicted in this post, thereby making me look like a fool. In that case, I'll blame Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons for runing this for everyone.