John Johnson III’s contract considered a top five value in the NFL

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Generally speaking, signing free agents from other teams results in overpaying but not so for the Cleveland Browns when signing John Johnson III, according to Pro Football Focus.

Figuring out how to evaluate contracts versus a player’s talent is an obviously difficult process. With the ever-growing complexities of NFL contracts, with void years, bonuses, etc, it has become even more difficult to evaluate contract value for players.

A majority of the time, good value is found on rookie deals or when teams identify their own player to extend early in the process. Those deals allow teams to spend more at different positions or on different players while maintaining a high level of play.

Value is a commonly held value in business and personal lives. If someone can get something “50% off” (a legit 50% off, not the mark it up then mark it down variety) and that item is quality, that value creates excitement and enjoyment.

The same is true in the NFL. PFF gave their top 32 value contracts which included the one recently signed by Johnson and the Browns coming in fifth place:

5. S JOHN JOHNSON III, CLEVELAND BROWNS: THREE YEARS, $33.75 MILLION ($24 MILLION TOTAL GUARANTEED)

The four deals negotiated above Johnson’s are all interesting. Stephon Diggs was traded to Buffalo before signing his extension while Darren Waller, Danielle Hunter and DaVante Adams all signed their newest deals with teams they have been with for a while. Hunter’s deal was recently redone, setting him up for earlier free agency, and Adams is set for free agency next offseason. Both could be looking to no longer being on “value” contracts in 2022.

For Cleveland, Johnson’s signing was their biggest impact signing this offseason despite the relative value of the deal. This season, Johnson has less than a $4 million cap hit for the Browns but that more than doubles next year and jumps to $13.5 million in 2023. Thanks to void years, Johnson will count almost $9 million against the Browns cap in 2024 even if he is not on the team.

With Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb, among others, coming due for new contracts, Andrew Berry will need to continue to find as much value in contracts as possible.

Johnson’s value is a great sign of things to come.