Setting the market for Brandon Jacobs

Brandon Jacobs’ pay for the 2012 season is scheduled to be $4.9 million.  There’s a 0% chance he’ll get that, of course, as Jacobs has already repeatedly acknowledged.  Jacobs is, however, willing to take a pay cut, but he won’t “sell his soul” (bend over) to stay with the Giants.  Earlier this morning, I guessed that the Giants would probably ask Jacobs to peel off at least half that total if he wants to stay with the team (and that’s even if the Giants want him back at all).  Methinks that taking a 50% pay cut would qualify as (in Jacobs-speak) “selling his soul,” but that’s likely the reality he faces.  Expect the Giants to cut Jacobs before they owe him a roster bonus of $500,000 on March 17.

To back up the thinking that the Giants will expect a drastic pay cut, as a comparative measure, I thought it might make sense to look at the contracts that free agent running backs received last offseason:

Player Age (at start of 2011 season) Snaps Years Dollars Per year Rushes (2010) Yards (2010) Avg (2010) TD (2010)
DeAngelo Williams 28 179 5 $43,000,000 $8,600,000 87 361 4.1 1
Cedric Benson 28 692 1 $5,000,000 $5,000,000 321 1111 3.5 7
Joseph Addai 28 367 3 $14,000,000 $4,666,666 116 495 4.3 4
Ahmad Bradshaw 25 741 4 $18,000,000 $4,500,000 276 1235 4.5 8
Michael Bush 27 437 1 $2,610,000 $2,610,000 158 655 4.1 8
Brandon Jackson 25 637 2 $4,500,000 $2,250,000 190 703 3.7 3
Ricky Williams 33 481 2 $2,600,000 $1,300,000 159 673 4.2 2
Ronnie Brown 29 641 1 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 200 734 3.7 5
Player Age (at start of 2012 season) Snaps Years Dollars Per year Rushes (2011) Yards (2011) Avg (2011) TD (2011)
Brandon Jacobs 30 373 ? ? ? 152 571 3.8 7

Some notes pertinent to Jacobs:

– The Giants are already over the cap.  Even worse, the cap may actually be lower than originally anticipated, which will make it that much more challenging for the Giants to get under.  That’s a major factor.

– Jacobs is nothing more than a role player, at least in the Giants’ offense, as evidenced by his 373 snaps (just 26% of the Giants’ offensive snaps) in 2011.

– DeAngelo Williams and Cedric Benson aside, none of those backs above made as much as Jacobs is scheduled to make in 2012, and Benson won’t sniff the $5 million contract he received last year on a one-year deal. Meanwhile, the Williams deal is widely regarded as a ridiculous overpay on the part of the Panthers.

– Joseph Addai received a nice deal from Indy a year ago, one that I’ll bet Indy wishes they could take a mulligan on.

– The recently retired Ricky Williams aside, Jacobs is the only player among the ones listed hitting the market at over 30 years of age when the season begins.

– Michael Bush was a restricted free agent last season, so his contract numbers of a year ago are somewhat misleading, since he wasn’t free to explore the open market.  Bush is a younger version of Jacobs, from a size and running style perspective.  His worth on the open market would be far higher than Jacobs’.  It’ll be interesting to see what kind of deal he’s able to land.

Continued after the jump…

Conclusion:

Last offseason, the Giants rolled the dice and didn’t overpay for Ahmad Bradshaw, a 25 year old player coming off a 1200+ yard season.  They let him test the free agent waters, and guessed that the market wouldn’t be out of control for his services.  The gamble paid off, as they were able to retain him for $4.5 million per year. 

Free agency begins March 13.  The Giants can see how the market plays out for running backs the first three days of free agency before they “make a decision” on Jacobs’ $500,000 roster bonus on March 17.  In other words, they can keep him off the market for 3 days while teams begins to talk to other running backs.  The Jacobs camp won’t like that tactic, but it’s good business on the Giants’ part.  If the other running backs (guys like Michael Bush, Mike Tolbert, Peyton Hillis, Cedric Benson, Ryan Grant etc.) either sign low contract offers or remain available, it’s a strong indication that the market for Jacobs’ services will be minimal.  At that point, maybe you can convince the Jacobs camp to take a bigger cut than they were previously considering.  If not, Jacobs risks not finding any serious suitors on the open market and is forced to settle for less than what the Giants may have been offering to retain him.

Failing a drastically reduced salary by March 17, the Giants can cut bait, let the market for Jacobs develop (or not develop), and potentially bring him back a severely reduced rate anyway.

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  20. ct17 says:

    Jacobs needs an incentive contract. Base $1 million. Every time he runs at a defender, add $10k. Every time he tries to run around a defender, subtract $10k. Of course, you’d have to cap the losses at league minimum.

  21. brisulph says:

    Yeah big boy needs to realize he works for less where ever he goes or time to retire.

  22. Smitty2K3 says:

    Sidenote: WTF were the the Panthers thinking with that Williams contract??

    1. Immynimmy says:

      When he’s healthy, I think he’s worth it…somewhat.

  23. Anders says:

    I thought teams had to be under the cap when FA starts? Then your tactic wont work unless they find the cap money somewhere else.

    1. Hmmm… Let me look into that.

    2. OK, so… The Giants have 21 unrestricted free agents: Stacy Andrews, Rocky Bernard, Chase Blackburn, Will Blackmon, David Carr, Michael Clayton, Michael Coe, Jonathan Goff, Deon Grant, Domenik Hixon, Jimmy Kennedy, Mario Manningham, Derrick Martin, Kareem McKenzie, Aaron Ross, Devin Thomas, Terrell Thomas, Dave Tollefson, Justin Tryon, Tony Ugoh, and Steve Weatherford.

      Take those guys off the books, some of whom, McKenzie in particular, are making serious money, and they’ll be comfortably under the cap.

      The Steelers released Hines Ward today to get under the cap today, but they were much higher over the cap than the Giants, and only have 11 free agents:

      Charlie Batch, Jerricho Cotchery, Dennis Dixon, Trai Essex, William Gay, Chris Hoke (retired), Byron Leftwich, Anthony Madison, Mewelde Moore, Daniel Sepulveda, and Max Starks, none of whom are making more than $2 mil, and most of whom aren’t making squadoosh.

      1. Smitty2K3 says:

        I thought the Giants were over the cap with the players they currently have under contract? So that would mean all of those UFA’s you mentioned have nothing to do with their cap number. If that’s the case, they’re in deeper doo-doo than I originally thought.

        1. Immynimmy says:

          Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

        2. I don’t think so. Can’t be. If that were the case, they’d have been way over the cap THIS year.

          1. WeNeedLinemen says:

            I am pretty sure the Redskins’s cap figure, leading to the $45m under cap valuations, were based on money committed in the 2012 season.

            I presume the Giants’s cap figure is similary based on money committed in 2012, not the salary figures from last year. They were a million under the cap in 2011. If they were using last years figures they would still be under the cap. So, I will assume the over the cap figure is 2012 money. In which case none of the free agents will contributing to that figure.

          2. Anders says:

            The Giants are over the cap without all the players you mentioned above. I dont know the cap rules and the penalties that much, but all I have found out, teams have to be under the cap when FA starts, so the Giants are in some kinda of trouble right now.

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