Here is the simple truth. Jarvis Landry should be far less concerned about bottom line $$$, focus on what Miami is willing to offer in guarantees, and sign his contract extension now for somewhere in the neighborhood of $11.5 million per year instead of the $13-14 million he is seeking.
The logic behind this is irrefutable. Pro football is, after all, a violent sport, and even the most promising of careers can end in the blink of an eye. Take, for instance, the case of Minnesota’s Terry Bridgewater, who suffered a devastating knee injury during a non-contact drill in practice last August, leading him to miss the 2016 season. Then, in January of this year, word surfaced that the young QB would also likely miss the 2017 season.
Now this from Chris Wesseling of NFL.com: When asked earlier this week if Bridgewater will ever play again, coach Mike Zimmer replied, “I honestly have no idea.”
Like Landry, Bridgewater is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which, as a first round draft choice was for $6,849,502, with $5,495,479 guaranteed. Thus, if he never plays another down of football, that is all the money he will ever see from his NFL career. By comparison, Ryan Tannehill, who suffered a knee injury of his own late last season against the Cardinals, signed a $77 million extension before his rookie contract expired. That extension instantly guaranteed him $45 million and secured his family’s future if he were to ever suffer a fate similar to Bridgewater’s.
As a 2nd round pick, Jarvis Landry’s rookie contract, which expires at the end of the 2017 season,was for $3,474,911, and came with just $1,067,208 in guarantees. While $3 million plus is no small sum of money, stretched out over the lifespan of an average American male, which is approximately 74 years, it would be the equivalent of $69,498 before taxes over the next 50 years, since Landry is currently 24 years old, and that is assuming he hasn’t spent a penny of his earnings thus far. Nor does it take inflation into account. Thus, if Landry were to suffer a career-ending debilitating injury in 2017 without having signed an extension, his family’s future could not be seen as “guaranteed” by any stretch of the imagination.
To put that into perspective, just consider that many of you reading this right now earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $70,000 per year in total household income. Do you consider that enough to live stress free, without concerns over your mortgage, health insurance, your kids college education? Probably not.
Yet, if Landry were to sign an extension like the one I suggested in a previous column, 4 years for $46 million, with $30 million guaranteed, then suffer a devastating injury, it would be a completely different story. $30 million spread out over the next 50 years comes out to $600,000 per year. While that still isn’t the “gold mine” many perceive it to be, particularly if serious medical issues are involved, it is, nevertheless, nearly 10 times what Landry would see without a contract extension.
Landry is a passionate athlete who takes pride in his play, and, as such, he is a living, breathing example of the age old cliche….he leaves it all out on the field. Naturally, he is looking to get his just recognition by entering the top of the NFL receiver pay scale, which he, in his own mind, seems to have set somewhere around the $12-14 million neighborhood. No one can blame him for that. I certainly don’t. Even so, it would be a mistake to make that his #1 priority, particularly when it appears the Dolphins are dead set against paying him that much.
At this time, only Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant and T.Y Hilton have exceeded that $12 million plateau, with Doug Baldwin close behind at $11.5 million per year. For the sake of his family’s long tern well being, Landry should set his pride aside and accept, as the chart below clearly highlights, that his production is actually far more in line with that of Baldwin than that of the other receivers on the list.
Thus, given his aggressive style of play, and the risk for injury that brings. Landry would be wise to sign for his current market value of around $11.5 million per year now, before ever putting his health at risk again by stepping onto a football field. He owes it to himself, his family, and their prospects for a long a happy life together.
* This chart does not include additional money guaranteed as part of signing bonuses.
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