On the 13th of February Field Yates tweeted out the contact details for Kareem Hunt: “Full details on Kareem Hunt’s one-year deal with the Browns, per source: a base salary of $645,000, a $25,000 per-game roster bonus for each game that he is active, a $55,000 offseason workout bonus.”
There is much more to it than a one year deal due to him only having two accrued seasons in the NFL so far.
Players get accrued season when they have six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists. If a player is banned then you do not count games missed towards an accrued season.
An NFL player becomes an Unrestricted Free Agency (UFA) after collecting four accrued season, they can then sign for whichever team they choose.
A player is a Restricted Free Agency (RFA) if they have got three accrued season, this means that a team can tender a player.
If a player receives a tender then any team can offer that player and the team owning the player can either match that offer or allow the player to leave and receive a pick in compensation.
According to Over The Cap, the projected tenders for 2019 are: First Round $4,429,000, Second Round $3,110,000 & Original Round $2,035,000.
For a first or second round tender the compensation is obviously. For an original round tender it is whatever round the player was drafted in, for Hunt it would be a third round pick.
If a player has two or less accrued season then the player becomes an Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA) when their contact expires.
He can only sign for the that team on the league minimum, if they want him. The figures depend on how many years a player has been in the league and increases by $15,000 each year.
Here are the adjusted 2019 figures according to USA Today:
Rookie — $495,000
1 Year — $570,000
x-2 Years — $645,000
3 Years — $720,000
4-6 Years — $805,000
7-9 Years — $930,000
10+ Years — $1,030,000
Matt Miller on his Stick to Football Podcast said that in talks with teams he has heard that it will likely be a 10 to 12 game suspension for Hunt. If he is suspended for 10 games then he has a chance to get an accrued season in 2019 but a 12 game suspension stops this.
10 Game Suspension
If Hunt is suspended for ten games in the 2019 season he will be paid: $391,875 in total ($241,875 due to 6/16 of his base salary and $150,000 for 6 per game roster bonuses).
He would then be a RFA in 2020 meaning we could use an original round tender of approximately $2.2m that would mean he stays, we get a chance to match rival deals or we get a third round pick if someone else signs him. All very promising options.
In total it is a two year deal of approximately $2.6m, which is very cheap for a player of his quality.
12 Game Suspension
If he is suspended for twelve games in the 2019 season he will be paid: $261,250 in total ($161,250 due to 4/16 of his base salary and $100,000 for 4 per game roster bonuses).
He would then be an ERFA in 2020 which means we could keep him for a year on a deal that is $720,000.
He would then be a RFA in 2021 meaning we could use an original round tender of approximately $2.375m that would mean he stays, we get a chance to match rival deals or we get a third round pick if someone else signs him. All very promising options.
In total this would be approximately $3.35m for a three year deal which is incredibly cheap.
Although I do not like the Hunt signing due to the off the field concerns, it cannot be denied that salary cap wise it could be a very clever signing that ties a very good player up for two to three years on the cheap.
Running backs are a position that you shouldn’t invest massive amounts of money in long term due to their short careers, so it is about maximising the play of players on rookie deals and then replacing them with more rookies rather than giving long term deals to running backs like Gurley.
If it was a 12 game suspension the approximate deals for both Chubb and Hunt combined would be $1.94m in 2019, $2.7m in 2020 and $4.7m in 2021.