Seattle was pretty set at left tackle in the early days of the Pete Carroll & John Schneider era. In fact, their very first draft selection was for left tackle Russell Okung with the 6thoverall selection of the 2010 NFL draft. Since his departure, however, things have been pretty bleak covering Russell Wilson’s blindside. The likes of Rees Odhiambo and George Fant on the left side are but a distant memory now that Brown is on the roster, however he is now in a contract year and not currently under contract for the 2019 season and beyond, but we shouldn’t be concerned.
As soon as the Seahawks traded for Duane back in October 2017 John Schneider said this –
“We want him to finish his career here and have him be here for several more years,”
This isn’t the only reference John has made to locking up Brown long term, either. He has made references to it several times this offseason. Anyone that knows John’s tendencies should know he doesn’t typically lie and if he says a player is getting an extension, that’s exactly what they will get.
Duane seems very happy in the Pacific North West, too. I see no reason to believe he wouldn’t be on board with being locked up and finishing his career here, it seems like a match made in heaven. Given Bob McNair’s vile comments referring to players as ‘inmates’, it should come as no surprise Duane is happier in Seattle. Can you just imagine those words being uttered by Paul Allen? I can’t. There’s a level of respect within this organization and it shows.
But what could the extension actually look like? We need to know two key things to determine this –
How long will Duane be able to play at a competitive level?
How does Duane rank amongst other players within his position group?
Let’s start with how he ranks amongst left tackles in the NFL…
Bleacher Report had him ranked as the 16thbest LT in the NFL for the 2017 season.
PFF had him ranked as the 27thbest tackle (overall, not just left side)
With the above it’s important to note that Duane didn’t play a whole lot in 2017, he held out from the Texans for the first several games and was playing injured for Seattle in the later part of the season.
2016 had him ranked the 12thbest left tackle in the NFL per Athlonsports.
He was also ranked 12thbest by Bleacher Report for the 2016 season, too.
So it’s fair to say he’s not quite in the top 10 however he is very close to it and his contract will likely reflect that.
Now, let’s take a look at the left tackle market and what sort of money the top guys are getting.
#1 Nate Solder – Avg./Year = $15.5M - % GTD = 56.1%
#2 Russell Okung – Avg./Year = $13.25M - % GTD = 47.2%
#3 Trent Williams – Avg./Year = $13.2M - % GTD = 45.5%
#4 Terron Armstead – Avg./Year = $13M - % GTD = 32.1%
#5 Tyron Smith – Avg./Year = $12.2M - % GTD = 22.7%
#6 David Bakhtiari – Avg./Year = $12M - % GTD = 33.3%
#7 Eric Fisher – Avg./Year = $12M - % GTD = 45.8%
#8 Cordy Glenn – Avg./Year = $12M - % GTD = 44.2%
#9 Riley Reiff – Avg./Year = $11.75M - % GTD = 44.8%
#10 Andrew Whitworth – Avg./Year = $11.25M - % GTD = 44.4%
#11 Matt Kalil – Avg./Year = $11.1M - % GTD = 43.2%
#12 Anthony Castonzo – Avg./Year = $10.95M - % GTD = 41.1%
#13 Donald Penn – Avg./Year = $9.35M - % GTD = 47.1%
#14 Charles Leno, Jr – Avg./Year = $9.25M - % GTD = 37%
#15 Jason Peters – Avg./Year = $9.08M - % GTD = 40.4%
#16 Duane Brown – Avg./Year = $8.9M - % GTD = 41.4%
Based on all the above information, it would see Duane is currently somewhat underpaid.
He has also missed a total of 12 games (not including his holdout in 2017, that would be unfair) due to injury. 4 in 2010, 2 in 2013, 2 in 2015 and 4 in 2016. Overall, I’d say that’s pretty good going and the team should feel relatively confident giving him a decent amount of guaranteed money. Typically players will take less overall money for higher guarantees while teams typically prefer giving higher yearly amounts with lower guarantees so contract negotiations typically revolve around each side making their case for the percentage of guarantees, and just as importantly, when those guarantees are in place.
My best guess on how a Duane Brown contract will look, at least in terms of the APY (average per year) number will either be somewhere in the high 10’s or low 11’s, let’s say $10.8M - $11.3M average per year. I’d bet good money on that being pretty accurate.
So how about the duration of the contract? He is currently 32 years of age, turning 33 right before the season starts. My best guess is they will either do a 3 year or a 4 year extension so he will be around in Seattle for 4 or 5 more years (remember he’s still under contract for 2018). Having him play when he is 37 may seem alarming on the surface, however this position group tend to perform just fine, Donald Penn, Joe Staley and Andrew Whitworth are all prime examples of older LT's still locked up long term.
To keep the cap flexible, and given he has proved to be pretty reliable in terms of injuries, I think the team will be happy to sign him to a 4-year extension that will keep him under contract through the 2022 season.
Here is my prediction for the Duane Brown extension, broken down year by year and the cap numbers in each respective year.
4 year extension
$7,500,000 signing bonus
$11,200,000 average per year
The above has guarantees of the signing bonus, 100% of his base salary in 2018, 100% of his base in 2019 and $2.76M of his $10M base salary in 2020 guaranteed. 2021 and 2022 have zero guarantees apart from the prorated portion of his signing bonus.
As you can see from the above, the guarantees drop off therefore making it possible for the team to cut him after the 2020 season and after the 2021 season and it not damage the cap considerably. They could also cut him after the 2019 season and it wouldn’t be a total disaster but that would likely only happen if he suffered a career ending injury.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if John and his agent are already in initial talks surrounding an extension. If they’re not, I’d bet they will be starting very soon. I would expect the deal to get done before the regular season starts, early to mid-August would be my best guess.
As and when it happens, I will be sure to come back to this to see how right (or wrong!) I was on my prediction.
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