At first glance, the terms of the contract Brandon Jacobs signed with Giants on Wednesday seem much too low. He'll make $15 million in the first two years of the four-year deal, $13 million of it guaranteed, and will have $10 million remaining in 2011 and 2012. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com spoke to someone who thought that the Giants got away with murder.
“It’s a joke,” the source said.
Here’s the deal. Jacobs was guaranteed to make $6.621 million in 2009 under the non-exclusive franchise tag. Even though he would have been a restricted free agent next year at this time, the tender would have been 110 percent of this 2009 pay, which equates to $7.28 million.
That’s $13.9 million over two years. And then Jacobs would have been free again, in an environment that potentially will have no salary cap on an ongoing basis.
Jacobs is clearly taking a risk, whether or not the labor squabbles between NFL owners and players lead to the abolition of the salary cap. The low cost of the final two years of the deal mean that if he's still productive, the Giants will be getting him at a price well below his market value. That means he wouldn't be a free agent again until he's 30, an age that's seen as the start of the decline phase for running backs.
The flip side, though, is the fact that Jacobs has never made it through a full NFL season and has never been able to carry the full rushing load by himself. While it is highly unlikely that the Giants will re-sign Derrick Ward, they'll have more space to find and keep a strong partner for Jacobs in the backfield.
A lot of times athletes say they aren't in it for the money before turning around and signing contracts that are all about the money. Jacobs did the opposite. That may not be in his optimal financial interests, but it doesn't qualify as a joke either.