The way I see it, there are two options for redoing the contract.
They can add another year at the end of the contract to increase the overall value. This would give Howard some practical guarantees where he has none. Or, they can scrap the current deal for a short-term contract that allows him to play at a slightly lower rate but hit the market again soon.
What the contract redo will look like:
Option 1: Add one additional year to the contract.
Add one final year to the contract with a value of $25 million. This will bump the entire contract value up to just about where he wants to be, $17 million per year. Don’t fret Seahawks fans, not all of his contract will come over to Seattle so it won’t kill the salary cap. This is very similar to the DeAndre Hopkins extension after he was traded to the Cardinals last year.
Terms (post-trade): 5 years, $78.5 million
Guarantees: $25 million
New signing bonus: $15 million
Cap hits by year:
- 2021: $6 million
- 2022: $14.25 million
- 2023: $17.25 million
- ———————- An out in the contract with a dead cap of $6 million.
- 2024: $19 million
- ———————- An out in the contract with a dead cap of $3 million.
- 2025: $22 million
Seattle would keep most of the practical guarantees in the first 3 years. 2024-2025 would be team options essentially. If this marriage isn’t working out, he could be cut with $6 million in dead cap in 2024 or $3 million in 2025. Essentially this is a 3 year, $37.5 million contract with a team option to pick up the other two.
Option 2: Redo contract completely.
Perhaps Seattle isn’t comfortable with the extra year to boost the overall value. It would be understandable with his contract length/durability concerns. Trading for Howard is truly an all-in Super Bowl play for 2021 and 2022. The second option is to scrap the current deal and come to a shorter 2-year pact.
This would remove some of the risks on Seattle’s side. It would be a short-term view for building the roster. However, it would allow the team to keep long-term flexibility. Howard would play one year in Seattle.
The second year is more or less a placeholder. Either the team extends him, or he will be released/traded somewhere that he can be paid. It’s very similar to the Carlos Dunlap maneuver last year.
Terms: 2 years, $28 million
Guarantees: $12 million
Signing bonus: $8 million
Cap hits by year:
- 2021: $8 million
- ———————- An out in the contract with a dead cap of $4 million.
- 2022: $20 million
The structure of the contract would allow Howard to get paid today with the signing bonus while keeping his cap hit low. His year 2 number would balloon. This would force Seattle to either extend, trade, or release. The endgame for Howard would be the same. He will cash in next year.
All in all, I personally would not make this trade. I, as I mentioned, am very high on DJ Reed. This move could backfire tremendously on Seattle if Howard’s injury history follows him. The ceiling is definitely raised. However, the floor is also lowered. Risk over reward. Let me know what you would do in the comments.