One of the strangest aspects of NFL contract analysis comes from the new-money fiction for so-called extensions. Agents love it, because it makes deals look better than they really are. Reporters typically go along with it, because the agents who give them information get mad if they don't.
Here's how it works. Let's say a player is under contract for one more year. He signs a five-year contract. The old one is ripped up and replaced with a new one. But the agent characterizes it as a four-year extension, subtracting from the amount the money the player was due to make. This necessarily inflates the "new-money" average to a number much larger than the average value of the full contract from the moment it is signed.
The truth is there are no extensions of NFL player contracts, in the sense that the old deal ends and the deal new starts. The team always rips up the current contract and replaces it with a new one.
In the aftermath of our reporting regarding the gap between the Chiefs and defensive tackle Chris Jones, some are using the new-money fiction to paint Jones as being greedy or unreasonable.
As reported on Saturday, Jones wants $28 million per year over the next three years, a total of $84 million. The argument being made by some is that the $19.5 million Jones was due to make this year must be treated as "old money," with the difference being "new money."
So if Jones gets $28 million per year over the next three years, he'll get $84 million. Under the phoney-baloney new-money analysis, that becomes an average of $32.25 million in "new money" (i.e., $84 million minus $19.5 million, divided by two). And since that number exceeds the average of the Aaron Donald contract ($31.67 million over three years), Jones is being characterized by some as actually wanting more than Donald.
Here's the problem with that argument. And it's a huge one.
Yes, Jones has one-year left on his current deal. The existing deal would be ripped up and replaced with a three-year contract. That's exactly what the Rams did with the Aaron Donald deal. And they didn't rip up one year, they ripped up THREE.
The old deal, running through 2024, disappeared. Donald got a new deal that pays $95 million over three years. He had an existing three-year contractual commitment, the Rams completely disregarded it, and they gave Donald $95 million over three years.
So Donald had his prior deal scrapped and he got $95 million over three years. Jones wants his prior deal to be scrapped and to make $84 million over three years. That's as apples to apples as it gets. And anyone who tries to create the impression that Jones wants more than Donald is deliberately bastardizing the already fugazi new-money analysis.
Apples to apples. Donald, $95 million over three. Jones, $84 million over three.
Is the current ability gap between the two players really $11 million over three years? Few would say yes to that.