Beyond the BS: How Much Is Jarvis Landry Really Worth?

No fan in their right mind would disagree with the notion that Jarvis Landry is a spectacular player capable of siphoning every bit of his passion into spectacular performances on the field. He is as clutch as he is consistent, and an overwhelming fan favorite. However, it is just as accurate to describe Landry as an athlete with a limited skill set, and as such, a player confined to a less-than-defining role in Adam Gase’s offense.

If that last point sounds utterly preposterous, I strongly urge you to read my recent article, The Ultimate Dolfans Guide to Dethroning the Patriots – Step 4: Better To Give Than To Receive, before proceeding here if you have not done so already. For, in addition to being a very entertaining and insightful piece, the information presented there will provide invaluable perspective into Landry’s role in Miami’s offense, and, as such, everything we will be discussing here as it pertains to his true market value.

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Let’s Get Real

As of late, there has been a lot of talk about how Antonio Brown’s new contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers will affect Jarvis Landry. That idea is a bit overblown in that Brown’s contract won’t just affect Landry. It will bolster the market value of every receiver in the NFL. Beyond that, the two are very different players, with Landry working as a possession receiver out of the slot, while Brown is a considerably more dangerous deep threat from the outside.

Thus, the real question is, how much will that contract affect the Dolphins’ new, more sober front office? In order to better understand that, we need to examine the process Miami’s brain trust will undergo when accessing Landry’s value within the league in general, and more specifically, to the team.

The best way to begin this process is by establishing the current market value of, arguably, the two best receivers in the NFL, Brown and Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons.

  • Heading into last season, Jones inked a 5-year $71 million deal with the Falcons that included $47 million in guaranteed money. That is an average yearly salary of $14.2 million.
  • Brown has now finalized a 4-year contract for $68 million, with $19 guaranteed. His average yearly salary will be $17 million.

The next logical step is to compare Landry’s cold hard numbers over the last 3 years against these top receivers.

 

Games

Tgts

Rec

Rec %

Yards

Avg

TDs

20+

First Downs

Julio Jones

45

495

323

65.3

4873

15.0

20

96

233

 

Antonio Brown

 

47

528

371

70.3

4816

13.0

35

81

233

Jarvis Landry

48

409

288

70.4

3051

10.6

13

38

160

To put it simply, when compared to Jones and Brown, Landry’s production isn’t even close. While the Dolphins’ standout measures up well against them in two of the 9 categories above, games played and reception percentage, he lags way behind in all other areas. For instance, Landry has produced approximately 38% fewer yards than either Jones or Brown, and about 32% fewer first downs.

Image result for Julio Jones dolphins GIF

Furthermore, he had 60% fewer receptions of 20 yards or more than Jones, as well as 22% fewer receptions and 63% fewer touchdowns than Brown.

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In other words, taken as a whole, Landry’s production could be quantified as somewhere around 65% of Brown’s numbers. On that basis alone, Landry’s general market value can be estimated at $11 million. Yet, the truth is, a head-to-head comparison to Brown or Jones, is hardly the only way to measure Landry’s value, and, more than likely, it isn’t the best.

Playing The Slots

Despite his big play ability, Jarvis Landry is, first and foremost, a slot receiver, and as such, there are far better comparisons available than deep threats like Jones and Brown. To that end, I have assembled the chart below, which reflects the performance of fifteen receivers that played a significant number of snaps from the slot in 2016. That said, as you review this list, it is crucial to note that the contracts of veterans no longer on their rookie deals, traverse the spectrum from team friendly to the absurd.

 

Team

Rec

Yards

Avg

TDs

20+

First Downs

2017 Contract

Larry Fitzgerald

ARZ

107

1023

9.6

6

8

59

$15.9 Million

Tavon Austin

LAR

58

509

8.8

3

6

25

$15 Million
Randall Cobb

GB

60

610

10.2

4

7

36

$12.6 Million

Jeremy Maclin

KC

44

536

12.2

2

6

29

$12.4 Million

Doug Baldwin

SEA

94

1128

12.0

7

16

52

$9.6 Million

Julian Edelman

NE

98

1106

11.3

3

11

55

$5.8 Million

Cole Beasley

DAL

75

833

11.1

5

6

51

$4.5 Million
Jeremy Kerley

SF

64

667

10.4

3

8

33

$2 Million

John Brown

ARZ

39

517

13.3

2

5

28

$1.9 Million

Jordan Matthews

PHI

73

804

11.0

3

13

38

$1.6 Million

Sterling Shephard

NYG

65

683

10.5

8

6

42

$1.3 Million

Jarvis Landry

MIA

94

1136

12.1

4

16

52

$1.1 Million

Jamison Crowder

WASH

67

847

12.6

7

11

34

$751,406

Stefon Diggs

MIN

84

903

10.8

3

10

47

$671,928

Willie Snead

NO

72

895

12.4

4

12

51

$615,000

After reviewing this list, there are two clear takeaways. The first….that Landry is currently one hell of a bargain. The second….that there are a couple of veteran contracts that can be immediately eliminated from consideration as barometers for Landry’s worth.

  1. Without question, the most ridiculous deal is that of Tavon Austin, who, despite racking up the fewest yards of anyone of the list, the lowest yards-per-catch, and fewest first downs, will be overpaid to the tune of $15 million in 2017.
  2. By contrast, Julian Edelman, who was 2nd on the list in receptions and first downs, and 3rd in yards, will be severely underpaid at just $5.8 million.

Beyond that, Larry Fitzgerald’s situation has to be seen as somewhat of an anomaly. The Cardinal star, who will be 34 years old by season’s end, is on a one-year contract that, despite his continued productivity, amounts to a sweetheart deal for a beloved 14-year veteran and future Hall-of-Famer nearing the end of the road.

Shortsighted

As a result of rookie contracts and  1-year aberrations like Fitzgerald’s, we need to take a longer term view of player contracts to see where Landry may fall. As such, let us considering the average yearly salaries and guaranteed money of the veteran slot receivers on our list.

 

Years

Yearly Average in millions

Guaranteed Money in millions

Larry Fitzgerald

1

$15.9

$2.5

Tavon Austin

4

$10.5

$28.5

Randall Cobb

4

$10.0

$13.0

Jeremy Maclin

5

$11.0

$22.5

Doug Baldwin

4

$11.5

$24.25

Julian Edelman

4

$4.25

$8.0

Cole Beasley

4

$3.4

$7.4

As we can see, the true range for top slot receivers is between $10-11.5 million per year, with Doug Baldwin’s new contract at the top end of the scale. Baldwin’s deal provides us with, perhaps, the most accurate reflection of Landry’s worth, given that the two receivers have very similar numbers.

So, that said, how does Landry stack up against Baldwin and his fellow slot receivers? Well, to no one’s surprise, it would be easy to make the case that Landry is the absolute best in the slot.

  • He was 1st in yards among the receivers on our list
  • He was tied for 1st in receptions longer than 20 yards
  • He was tied for 3rd in first downs
  • He was tied for 3rd in receptions
  • He was 4th in average yards-per-catch.

To further cement Baldwin as the most accurate measuring stick for Landry, let us undertake a more in-depth comparison of their numbers over the last three years.

 

Tgts

Rec

Rec %

Yards

Avg

TDs

20+

40+

First Downs
Baldwin

326

238

73.0

3022

12.7

24

47

10

141
Landry

409

288

70.4

3051

10.6

13

32

6

160

Looking at these numbers it is easy to spot the clear distinction between Baldwin and Landry. Baldwin comes out on top in yards-per-catch, TDs, and as a deep threat, making him the more dangerous of the two.

Image result for Doug Baldwin vikings GIF

While Landry pulls down more receptions, and, as a result, racks up more first downs, making him the superior possession receiver. This slight advantage on the part of Baldwin would appear to set Landry’s market value at $11 million. just as occurred when we measured his numbers against Julio Jones and Antonio Brown’s statistics.

Nevertheless, that assessment is incomplete, as it does not take into account what Landry’s contributions mean to the Dolphins specifically. That is an important distinction because, when establishing a player’s value, the Dolphins are not beyond factoring in intangibles such as leadership. Cameron Wake’s recent extension is proof of that. With Wake, Miami is paying as much for the example he sets for his teammates as they are for his extraordinary talents on the field. The same is likely to occur with Landry. He is, after all, considered the heart and soul of the offense by fans and teammates alike, just as Wake is seen in a similar light on the defensive side of the ball.

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Realistically, that could equate to another million per year for Landry, but more likely than not, the Dolphins will express their appreciation for his effort even more so through guaranteed money. Consider that Wake’s contract extension is a 2-year deal worth over $16 million, with nearly $11 million of it guaranteed.

Thus, Landry money may come in the form of a cross between Antonio Brown’s deal and Julio Jones’ contract. For instance, a 4-year agreement worth $46 million, with $30 million guaranteed. Overall, that would be S22 million less than Brown’s deal. Yet, it would include $11 million more in guaranteed money. In fact, it would make him the highest paid slot receiver in the game while guaranteeing him the most money as well.

Additionally, this contract would make sense when compared to Kenny Stills recent 4-year $32 million deal. Landry caught 55% more passes than Stills and produced 36% more yards in 2016, yet, only pulled down 4 TDs to Stills 9 scores and averaged about 4 fewer yards per catch. Thus, a contract that would offer Landry 30% more in pay and 33% in additional guarantees  is mathematically justifiable.

Then again, there are several factors that could drastically affect Landry’s value and how the Dolphins approach a final outcome to his situation.

Life Is A Gamble

The first thing to consider is what could happen if Landry’s much awaited extension doesn’t materialize soon. Well, too put it simply, the Dolphins will lose almost all their leverage over Landry if a deal isn’t inked before the 2017 season begins, and they know it. That isn’t opinion. It is a fact. Worse still, for Landry fans, there have been plenty of signs to suggest that nightmare scenario might be a very real possibility.

  • The first warning sign that there could be a problem brewing came in January when Landry sent out an Instagram message that read….“I feed my family with this don’t play with my money this year I’m serious..”. While some fans quickly rushed to point out that Landry was simply invoking the words of a Drake song, others interpreted a rather more ominous intention on the receiver’s part.
  • The second red flag came when the Dolphins inked Reshad Jones to a 5-year $60 million extension, even though he is coming off of an injury, and like Landry, had one more year left on his contract. It seemed a bit odd that Miami would extend the injured player before his healthy teammate.
  • Then, in late February, Antonio Brown signed his new 4-year deal with the Steelers worth $68 million. A deal like that automatically elevated everyone’s value across the board, and while we have already shown that Landry is not on par with Brown, that doesn’t ensure that Landry will see things that way.
  • There is also the fact that the Dolphins have gone out and acquired a steady stream of free agents this year, including resigning several of their own. Those players were all inked to very reasonable terms. In other words, Miami has been unwilling to overpay anyone beyond market value, and there is no reason to believe that will be any different in Landry’s case.
  • The Dolphins aren’t done yet. They are still in the market for another linebacker and a defensive tackle in free agency, and if that happens, even by the most conservative of estimates, the money needed to extend Landry will be in jeopardy. This is particularly true is Miami intends to roll over at least $8 million in salary cap space into 2018, as they have done in recent years.

So, if Landry isn’t signed soon, his fans have every reason to worry, because his chances of entering free agency in 2018 will mount by the day. Of course, if the Dolphins can’t come to terms with Landry prior to this season, they could ensure his services in 2018 by using the franchise tag. Even so, that isn’t likely. After all, the franchise tag for receivers was set at $14.6 million in 2016, and will almost certainly be significantly higher than that by 2018.

The transition tag for receivers, which was set at $12.3 million in 2016, might appear a more palatable option at face value, but in reality, it isn’t. That’s because, while the transition tag would give the Dolphins the right to match any offer by another team, it would provide them no compensation if they failed to do so, and the idea of losing Landry and getting nothing for him is something the team’s front office is not prepared to do. That, of course, brings us to a possibility that most Landry fans are not even willing to consider….a trade.

If Miami’s front office so much as suspects that it may lose Jarvis Landry to free agency on 2018 (with just a compensatory pick to show for it), the prospect of a trade now, no matter how much the fans would hate it, becomes a very real possibility. Especially considering that the Dolphins, by their own admission, have already received offers, and have several positions that still need to be addressed, such as linebacker, defensive tackle, defensive end, safety and, perhaps, most important of all, offensive guard. The mere fact that Miami acknowledged interest on the part of other teams could, and should, be interpreted as a warning to Landry. To do otherwise would be naïve.

Nevertheless, if you still think the trade option is sheer madness, then you didn’t go back and read  The Ultimate Dolfans Guide to Dethroning the Patriots – Step 4: Better To Give Than To Receive, as I suggested at the onset of this article, because, if you had, you would know that Landry, as a possession receiver, is the least critical and most easily replaceable cog in Gase’s offensive machine. Thus, the Dolphins will not put him, and his limited skill set, before the greater good of the team. Despite how many fans perceive the situation, he simply isn’t that valuable to them.

Is The Second Time The Charm?

Of course, the Dolphins aren’t the only ones with something to lose if Landry enters the 2017 season in Miami, but without an extension. That’s because there is always the possibility that Leonte Carroo will come into his own in his 2nd year in the league, just as Jay Ajayi did last season. To put it simply, that would prove a catastrophe for Landry’s value to the team, and, if increased production by Carroo affects his numbers, to the league in general as well.

While there is no doubt that Carroo’s rookie season was a disappointment riddled with rumors about his work ethic and practice habits, he is, by all accounts, a more physically talented player than Landry.

Combine Results

Arms

Hands

40 YD Dash

Bench Press

Vertical Leap

Broad Jump

Jarvis Landry 31 ¾ inches 10 ¼ inches 4.77 secs 12 reps 28.5 inches 110 inches
Leonte Carroo 31 3/8 inches 9 5/8 inches 4.50 secs 14 reps 35.5 inches 120 inches

There is, of course, no way to guarantee that Carroo’s physical gifts will eventually transcend into strong performances on the field. Nevertheless, if the Dolphins fear losing Landry, the youngster will get every opportunity to show what he can do, and rest assured, that is a message Carroo’s agent has already conveyed to him. Beyond that, it would be foolish to discount Carroo’s potential based solely on his subpar rookie campaign. After all, when compared to Landry, he had vastly superior numbers in college.

 

Games

Rec

Yards

Avg

TDs

Leonte Carroo

30

122

2373

19.5

29

Jarvis Landry

40

137

1193

13.2

15

Image result for leonte carroo 49ers GIF

Carroo’s chance at additional playing time could also come in the way of an injury to Landry, or Lenny Stills and DeVante Parker, for that matter, which would prove doubly disastrous for Landry’s market value going into free agency.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Both Landry and the Dolphins will be taking huge gambles if they do not reach an agreement soon. For their part, the Dolphins have made their position perfectly clear. They are not going to overpay. It is a reasonable position based on a sound team-building approach, and educated fans will not hold them accountable for that strategy if the two sides cannot come to an accord.

Landry’s position, on the other hand, remains the great unknown. Does he see himself realistically, as a Doug Baldwin caliber receiver worth somewhere around the aforementioned 4-year deal for $46 million, with $30 million guaranteed, or has Antonio Brown’s contract skewed his perspective into believing he merits an even bigger payday? Only time will tell. Unfortunately, in this matter, the clock isn’t on anybody’s side, and both Landry and the Dolphins would be wise to settle things sooner rather than later.

GIFs courtesy of USA Today, UPROXX,, The Deep End, Big Blue Interactive.

To read other in-depth articles from Lazaro Montecruz, visit

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