Five NFL players due for big extensions next offseasonby Andersen Pickard July 5, 2019 0 comments
It’s still June, but that definitely does not mean it’s too early to look at the next offseason. Here are five players who could be on the receiving end of some big extensions after the 2019 season.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings
The shocking three-year, $84 million contract that Kirk Cousins and the Vikings agreed to expires at the end of 2021 season. Cousins will be 32 when his contract expires, but 31 when he would likely sign an extension.
Cousins started all 16 games in his first year with the Vikings in 2018, recording 4,298 passing yards on 425 completions, earning a career-high 70.1 completion percentage. Cousins also recorded a career-high 30 touchdowns last year, breaking his previous record by one. Finally, Cousins only threw 10 interceptions, which is his lowest total since 2014, when he appeared in just six games (five starts).
Of course, any extension for Cousins would not take effect until after the 2020 season concludes. The contract would likely not be able to overrule Cousins’ 2020 salary because there is no way the veteran quarterback would give up his large $30 million salary. A potential contract could see Cousins getting something like $118 million over four seasons; while that average annual value would be $29.5 million, which could be considered high for Cousins, it’s worth noting that contracts are only getting higher, so quarterbacks will always be asking more.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton, the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, has spent his whole voter in Carolina. And while the Panthers have done some preliminary work building up quarterback depth, it is likely that the current contract for Newton won’t be his last with Carolina.
Through 123 career games, Newton has made 122 starts, passing for more than 28,000 yards and 182 touchdowns while throwing 107 interceptions. Newton’s shoulder was a problem in 2018, but he still managed to start 14 games, completing a career-high 320 passes for a total of 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
An extension next season could potentially overrule Newton’s 2020 salary, which is $19.1 million. However, it is less reasonable to look at length of extension, but rather a better idea to check out how long an extension could keep Newton in Carolina. It seems likely that Newton could stay with the Panthers through his age-34 season in 2023; perhaps he could stay through 2024, but that really rides on how he performs next season. (All of this does, actually.) Let’s say he signs a four-year contract extension the lasts from the 2020 season (overriding he final year of his current deal) through the end of the 2023 season. Something like that could see Newton being paid roughly $100 million over the four years — give or take some pocket change.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Julio Jones has been asking for a new contract extension for what seems like forever. The five-year deal he signed in 2015 expires after the 2020 season, and it’s likely that Jones won’t play out the 2020 season if he doesn’t get additional seasons added on to the end of his current contract.
Jones started all 16 games for the Falcons in 2018, hauling in 66 percent of the 170 passes thrown his way (113 catches) for 1,677 yards and eight touchdowns, fumbling just twice.
An extension for Jones likely would not replace his 2020 contract like it could for Newton or Cousins, but it would provide security for Jones and confirm he plays football in 2020. Jones is set to earn $9.6 million in 2019 and $11.426 million in 2020. He would likely earn much more than that if he were to sign an extension. A potential extension for Jones could last from 2021 to 2024 — a four-year deal lasting through Jones’ age-35 season. A deal for Jones could pay him roughly $58 million in total over four years, averaging $14.5 million per season.
Melvin Ingram, LB, Los Angeles Chargers
Melvin Ingram is currently 30 years old, and he’ll be 31 (almost 32) when his contract with the Los Angeles Chargers expires at the end of the 2020 season. That is, assuming he does not sign an extension. The former first-round pick, who has seven seasons of NFL experience under his belt, is a prime candidate to negotiate a new contract next offseason, or during the 2020 campaign.
Ingram started all 16 games for the Chargers last season, continuing his streak of starting every single game, something he has done for four consecutive years. Last season, he forced one fumble, recovered two, and picked off a pass, returning these turnovers for a combined total of 12 yards. He recorded just seven sacks (a personal low since his four sacks in 2014) while making 43 tackles, 28 solo tackles, eight tackles for loss, and 16 quarterback hits — all four of which were his lowest since 2014.
Ingram is due to earn $17 million in 2019 and another $14 million in 2020, so any extension likely wouldn’t kick in until the 2021 season. A potential deal could keep him in Los Angeles for three extra years — through his age 34 season in 2023 — while giving him $40 million total on a frontloaded deal that pays him something like $16 million in 2021, $14 million in 2022, and $10 million in 2023, as Ingram is likely to decrease in skill level as he ages.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
News broke on Wednesday that Ezekiel Elliott is in the clear and won’t be subject to any punishments from the league, meaning he maintains a solid record. The forecast looks good for Elliott, whose chance of signing an extension may have increased with the recent news.
The Cowboys and their star running back have reportedly been interested in hammering out a deal to stick together, but with Elliott still under his current contract for two more seasons, it seems like they may postpone talks until next offseason. However, the two sides can’t wait too long, as there is always the threat of Elliott sitting out the 2020 season. Elliott has started all 40 of the games he has appeared in since being drafted in 2016. Last season, in 15 games, he was on the field for 83 percent of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps, getting 304 touches and picking up 1,435 yards on the ground for six touchdowns.
An extension for Elliott would likely buy out his 2020 salary — he would likely request this — so a potential deal would likely be a five-year contract running through the end of the 2024 season. A five-year deal for Elliott, who would likely want to be the highest-paid in the league, could pay him something like $54 million, which would put him in second, just behind Todd Gurley and his five-year, $57.5 million deal. However, only $45 million of that is guaranteed, so perhaps Elliott could get the most guaranteed money in league history. Only time will tell.