$15 million per season is a lot for Richard Seymour, right?
You will read no shortage of articles about how the Raiders overpaid and that Seymour used his leverage to get yet another barrier-breaking deal from Al Davis.
The part of this deal that everyone is ignoring is the length. Two years. Seymour will be 34 when the contract is up.
By singing Seymour for two years, the Raiders ensured they would be able to walk away from Seymour in two seasons should his play decline. Seymour ensured that he had one more shot at free agency before he is too old.
This is mutually beneficial for both sides.
Take this deal and spread it out over four years. That is $5.5 guaranteed per season. Is that out of line with what Seymour’s market value?
Would $7 million guaranteed over three seasons be out of line for Seymour? No.
The Raiders are just going to pay Seymour up-front, should his play decline they aren’t saddled with additional dead contract weight.
Raiders continue to be unconventional. Most teams would sign him for four years for $22 million guaranteed and a higher total, around $54 million.
They would be faced with the decision to keep Seymour at age 34 with a looming base salary of around $11 million in the third year and the fourth year around $13 million.
They would have paid him the $22 million over two in guarantees or it would be accelerated, plus base salaries of around $3–7 million. Over two seasons, they would have paid him the same amount the Raiders are paying Seymour in this deal.
They would have to decide if they wanted to keep Seymour at such a high base salary at an advanced age. Not always an easy choice to make.
It is possible that Seymour is still worth $11 million in two years, but in the end the contract length is beneficial for Seymour, but isn’t a huge deterrent for the Raiders. Seymour used his leverage to get this deal, and he is banking on his own body to hold out to make sure he gets a payoff in two years.
Some say a Defensive Tackle ranked in the lower ranges of the top 10 isn’t worth it, but Seymour should get credit for any and all improvements that Tommy Kelly made and the attitude of the defense as a whole has been very different since Seymour arrived.
It’s a good deal, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Al Davis always has enough money to spend on players he wants to keep.
Don’t be surprised if all of the Raiders free agents are also back with the Raiders in 2012, if Al Davis wants to keep them, they will be back.
Not that all players are slaves to money, but Al Davis can be quite convincing and Seymour signing will only prove to Nnamdi Asomugha that the Raiders are serious about winning now.