Deadline For Franchised Players Draws Near
This week we learned that Justin Tucker’s wife Amanda gave birth to the couple’s first child, a boy that they’ve named Easton Hayes.
— Justin Tucker (@jtuck9) May 14, 2016
The news made me think back to a conversation that I had with Tucker a couple of months ago just prior to the HCGI Solutions Summit at the BWI Hilton.
I questioned why he hadn’t yet reached a long-term deal with the Ravens, comparing his situation to that of Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The two are arguably the best at their craft so I wondered why don’t the Ravens simply take Gostkowski’s deal and bump it by a percentage consistent with the bump in the salary cap mandated by the league for each team (7.1%).
Makes sense right?
Tucker told me that it’s not quite the simple.
Maybe it should be.
In 2015 the Patriots franchised Gostkowski, but later, before the franchise tag deadline, they signed him to a 4-year, $17.2M deal that included a signing bonus of $6M and guarantees of $10.1M. In 2016 that deadline is July 15. And as we’ve seen in the past deadlines stimulate action. Perhaps the same will happen for Tucker and the Ravens within the next 2 months.
But does it really have to be this way?
Can’t it be as simple as taking the numbers earned by Gostkowski and bumping them 7.1%? Wouldn’t a 4-year, $18.4M deal with a signing bonus of $6.5M and guarantees of $10.8M be fair?
That might allow Tucker to buy a home in Baltimore and begin to surround his young family with the necessary support system to raise their son. Today that support system and Tucker’s wife reside in Texas. Could a little peace of mind help Tucker recover from a two-year slide in field goal accuracy?
Maybe I am oversimplifying the whole process by assuming the Ravens think that Tucker is Gostkowski’s equal?
What if they don’t?
Here’s a chart comparing the two kickers since Tucker entered the league in 2012.
Signing Tucker to a long-term deal will create about $1.5-2M in cap space for the Ravens. The argument could be made that Gostkowski is slightly better, but Tucker is 6 years younger. For the next 4 seasons it’s quite possible that Tucker will hold the statistical edge.
This is a deal that should get done, and it probably will get done.
But while the Ravens and Tucker’s agent have reached a temporary stalemate, life goes on.
And for the Tuckers, at the moment, life isn’t as convenient as it could be if a new deal had been reached months ago, before Easton Hayes arrived.