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Using Expected Contract Value to evaluate recent NFL extensions

Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) stands on the field before the start of the game against the Houston Texans at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

• Deebo Samuel and D.K. Metcalf both have 75%-plus chances to play out the final years of their new extensions

• Metcalf is expected to earn 93.13% of his contract total, while Samuel is projected for 93.5%.

• Kyler Murray, Samuel and Metcalf are all deemed to have signed “strong player deals,” while tackle D.J. Humphries' extension is considered a “moderate player deal.”

At this point in the NFL calendar year, we rarely see many top free agents still on the open market. Even if they get swept up by a team, they’re most likely signing one-year deals with a contender for a value much lower than what their career play would warrant (as was the case with Julio Jones and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

What we do get to see in the contracts space are extensions for players entering the final year of their rookie/veteran deals or, in some cases, the fourth year of a rookie deal where the fifth-year option is likely to be exercised.

Let's examine some of the recent multi-year extensions and apply the Expected Contract Value methodology to them. If you aren’t familiar with the Expected Contract Value framework, you can read more about it here. In short, we created a way to truly be able to compare contracts from position to position, while also quantifying how much money of the contract's total a player is expected to make.

The players we will be examining closer are D.K. Metcalf, Deebo Samuel, Diontae Johnson, D.J. Humphries and Kyler Murray.

WR D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

First off, we can look at the probability that Metcalf plays each year of his new deal. Because he’s so young and signed a fairly short deal, there’s a high probability he finishes out this contract or gets extended prior to the final year. To interpret this table for Metcalf and the rest of the players, anything above 75% means there is a very high probability that the player plays that year of their contract.

In terms of evaluating the actual cash structures of Metcalf's deal, his agent team did an excellent job of maximizing cash flows early on, with an NFL record $30 million signing bonus. As a result, Metcalf's Expected Contract Value comes out to around $67.1 million, which means he’s expected to earn about 93.13% of his contract. Ultimately, this is a very strong player deal for Metcalf and his agent team.


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