NFL contracts as a Percentage of the cap instead of AAV!

So I made this because AAV is a dumb way of looking at a contract. Its a simple way of looking at a contract quickly but you have to dig deeper. Because a player whose contract is $30m in 2021 isnt the same as a player making $30m in 2024. The cap keeps going up.

So I took the top contracts at each position group. And changed it from a dollar amount to a percentage of cap.

For the future years, I estimated that the cap will go up 6.5% every year. Around what the average had been.

I also included what a future expansion would have to look like to take the top spot.
For QB its a 5 year extension from 2026-2030
Everyone else is a 4 year extension from 26-29



Aside from Sewell all the Lions contracts are CHEAP!


I agree with this. The Adj.In. column, I’m assuming is adjusted for inflation, but not sure how it’s calculated. Just looking at the QB’s, I see how you got to the cap % for Goff, Burrow, Hurts and Herbert, but it looks like Jackson is too high. You have him at 19.3%, I’m coming up with 17.9%. Also Watson, Prescott, Mahomes and others are going to be distorted because their contract covered Covid and subsequent repayment.

I do like looking at the contracts as a % of the cap for those years that the player is under contract. It does more accurately slot the players into tiers.


So for the percentage.
$260M from 2023-2027
Cap for those years.
224.8, 255.4, 272.0, 289.7, 308.5
Thats 1350.4
260/1350.4 = 19.3%

So the idea behind that is.
Lamars contract is
5 year contract for 19.3%

19.3% in 2023, $43.4
19.3% in 2024 $49.17 (the inflation number)

Yes its not a 100% perfect system because the cap went down in 21 and shot up in 22 and 24.
But its always has gone up and down.

And if a player hasnt renegotiated his deal yet? He needs a better agent lol.

But i did remove dummy years as well. Like we talked about with d. Adams and T Hill.


With this chart too.
I can see McNeil making 8%+ of the cap for an extension.

So a 4 year 8% extension.
Total cap for 2025-2028 is just shy of $1200
8% would be just shy of $96

So that would mean. I could see a 4 year $96m contract or $24m! AAV.


Yep, my bad, I was trying to calculate Jackson’s numbers over 5yrs from 2024-2028 (same as Hurts), I was wrong.

This is a much better way to look at it, as $20M in 2020 isn’t the same as $20M in 2025. It’s hard to look at cap percentages instead of dollar amounts because we aren’t used to it, but it’s definitely a better way to do it.

I like it.


It took a LOT of work to put all this in.
But now is all automatic.

Because odds are the cap wont go up 6.5. Likely more. So that means the percentages will be lower.

One thing i was surprised about is how few players are actually paid.

~50% of players are on Rookie Deals
~15% of players are on minimum deals.
~5% of players are older vets on cheap deals.
So thats only ~30% (500) of nfl players are on a “big” contract.


great work. capping rookie deals (right after all of our high picks - Staff, Calvin, Suh…ugh) sure did make rookie deals much more attractive. It may have actually hurt some of the vets, esp if you are not a top tier vet. An unintended consequence? The degree of have’s and have not’s is not very healthy.

Jersey’s to do list:

  • Have a max % of cap… 15%?
  • Raise minimum salaries
  • Expand roster size by a few (3-5?) players
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There was a lot of talk about how rookie contracts used to drive up the cost of veteran players. I don’t think it was unintended by the owners, just one of the many ways that owners take advantage of the NFLPA.

It’s probably right that the rookie contracts didn’t drive up the cost of veterans, but the players should have gotten sooooo much more for giving it up (i.e. better franchise numbers, better benefits post NFL, better guarantees.


If you’ve ever played in a fantasy league that is an auction format with keepers, then you have felt the pain of positional scarcity in a certain season.

There may be 5 FA closers available at the auction, but that 5th one, even though he isnt likely to be anywhere near as good as the #1 closer, is gonna get inflated all to hell and may be close to the price of #1.

NFL GMs go through this kind of scarcity driven bidding war, and IMO it has a big impact on the re-setting of contract values at a position.

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Also Aaron Donalds contact is INSANE! Idk if anyone will beat that! 13.8%!

LAR didnt just say ef them picks. They said ef that money

I will also be adding the highest paid lions all time

I wanted to highlight this point. Alot of people think “lock this guy up early so he’s cheap!” Agents are not stupid. If you bought low, you will still be called back to the table.


See T Hill. And more often than not,
If you buy high, theres no guaranteed money at the end and the deal will be restructured or extended before the last 2 years hit.

So those players that signed during covid when the cap was way below normal, and still havent got a new deal or havent renegotiated yet, odds are arnt that good, or at the tail end of their careers.

Where if the player went to the table, the team would probably cut their pay even lower

A max cap value for individual players has the unintended consequence of creating a competitive advantage for teams who have the best QBs. They already win in real life with high cap hits. Its going to be even worse if their salaries are capped. Its better to leave it to each team to decide if a player is worth a certain percentage of the cap rather than forcing it on them. The NBA has caps on individual player pay. They are also a league that actively works to have their best players win the most games. So you either have one of those players or you don’t. The NFL at least pretends it doesn’t want to be like that.

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Yeah, some good points. With max contracts, you get the dilemma of paying the 20-30 best players the same. And negotiations on whether the (say) 21st best player is a max guy or not.

I guess if the minimum salaries were raised, and you add three to five payers per team, you would likely reduce the gap between the top player and the fringe roster player.


Really well thought out and done, very cool. Thanks for the work. Esp interesting in how you projected. Again, well done.

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Thanks for taking the time to put this all together. I wish I had that amount of free time…lol

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With our cap space after the 2023 season, it was crucial to get those 3 guys extended. Maybe we get another done before the season. Sooner the better. Thankfully we have a ton of players out performing their rookie contracts. If Holmes keeps drafting the way he has we’ll be fine when we lose a few of these guys after their rookie contracts. Expect some good trades for picks and/or high comp picks going forward.

Should be able to stay relatively young.

Beyond DC, our coaching staff will see a lot of turnover, especially if we win the SB.