Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts has struggled with injuries so far in the 2014 season, but he returned on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans with a 10-catch, 103 yard day and no set backs. As we all know, Shorts is in a contract year and in the past the Jaguars have expressed a desire to re-sign the former fourth-round pick, but the question is just how much is Shorts worth?
Hays Carlyon of The Florida Times-Union put up an interesting piece on that very subject on Wednesday, which carried a very surprising number from Spotrac's Michael Ginnitti.
Ginnitti estimates Shorts could receive a four-year contract worth $37.8 million ($9.45 million a year), with $11.3 million guaranteed.
Ginnitti applied Shorts' age (26) and production to receivers Mike Wallace, Pierre Garcon, Stevie Johnson and Emmanuel Sanders when they hit free agency.
While the overall number seemed to give a lot of Jaguars fans on Twitter sticker shock, immediately claiming there's no way he's worth that amount, the real key is that fact that the projection is only $11.3 million guaranteed over a four-year period, which really isn't all that much.
Comparatively if you look at the market, guys like Eric Decker got $15 million guaranteed, Emmanuel Sanders got $6 million guaranteed with another $3 million available in incentives. Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper picked up a deal with $10 million guaranteed.
That's the market for a Tier 2 wide receiver in the NFL right now.
When you look at the Jaguars wide receiver situation, they have some young potential at their core with Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns. You also have the likes of Ace Sanders and the possibility of Justin Blackmon coming back at some point, though that discussion is for another day and a very unlikely scenario. Point being, the Jaguars aren't spending really any money on the receiver position with everyone locked into rookie deals that cannot be extended until after their third season in the NFL.
The Jaguars will also have massive amounts of cap space again in the 2015 offseason and will need to spend some money in free agency. Dropping some money to keep one of their own veteran wide receivers would be a smart play, as the alternatives are once again relying on youth or overpaying a free agent receiver that you don't really know much about.
Now, I don't think Shorts will end up with that big of a deal, but when you look at the details of what it could be (I.E. the guaranteed money), it's really not all that much. At this point, even with his injury issues, the team would be better off keeping Shorts on their roster going forward than not, even if they over pay a little.