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Michael Pittman's market value after 2022 -- $25m/year


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Another thread talked about whether Michael Pittman Jr would have a breakout season in 2022. Here's the real question, IMO: Are you ready to see MPJ get a contract worth $25m/year? 

 

The WR market has absolutely exploded in the last few years. In May 2019, Michael Thomas agreed to a new contract that made him the highest paid WR in NFL history -- five years, $96.25m, $19.25m/year. (Julio Jones reset the market a few months later, signing a new deal worth $22m/year.) Thomas' contract came after his third season. Through his first three years, Thomas had been a production monster. In Year 3, he led the NFL with 125 catches, was 6th in the league with 1,405 receiving yards, tied for 10th with 9 TDs, and was 4th in catch percentage (85%). One year after his record setting contract, Thomas set a new NFL record with 149 receptions, and led the league with 1,725 receiving yards, so at the time, it looked like money well spent -- you make the guy the highest paid receiver, and he continues being the most productive pass catcher.

 

Fast forward to 2022, Thomas is now the 14th highest paid WR. That's not abnormal, player contracts get bigger each year. But there are a couple of factors that are eye catching. First, the steep incline of the top of the market has been drastic. The highest paid WR (Tyreek Hill) is now making $30m/year, which is a 56% increase in just three seasons. (For comparison, in 2016, AJ Green was the highest paid WR, at $15m/year; in three years, that's a 28% increase. Or another position comparison is OG: In 2018, Zack Martin set the market at $14m/year; as of this offseason, the highest paid guard is Brandon Scherff, at $16m/year, just a 14% increase.)

 

Second, breaking that $20m/year barrier doesn't require league best production anymore. Two non-first round WRs who just finished their third seasons signed massive new contracts this offseason. AJ Brown was traded from the Titans to the Eagles, and signed a new four year contract worth $100m, $25m average, making him the fifth highest paid WR in the league. Terry McLaurin had a little bit of a standoff with Washington, and just signed a three year extension worth $70m, $23.3m average, making him the seventh highest paid WR in the league. You'd think that would mean these two guys represent the upper echelon of NFL pass catchers, that their production puts them in the top 10-15, right? Nope, not even close.

 

In 2021, AJ Brown was 47th in receptions (63), 32nd in yards (869), tied for 43rd in TDs (5), and 163rd in catch percentage (60%). Terry McLaurin was 26th in receptions (77), 20th in yards (1,053), tied for 43rd in TDs (5), and 169th in catch percentage (59.2%). I like both of these players, I think they're really good, there are other factors besides raw numbers (QB play, injuries, scheme, etc.), and they both have the potential to produce at a higher level. But statistically speaking, they're not top of the league, and their profiles pale in comparison to Michael Thomas in 2019. Realistically, we need to discuss whether either of them even belong in the top 20 right now.

 

So bringing this home to the Colts, Michael Pittman Jr is eligible for a contract extension after the 2022 season. Realistically speaking, he's one of 7-8 players that the Colts should be looking to build with for the next few years. His position is also one of the least proven on the roster. So the idea that the Colts won't be committing to him seems absurd to even consider. In his 2nd season, MPJ was 17th in receptions (88), 18th in yards (1,082), tied for 29th in TDs (6), and 91st in catch percentage (68.2%). He was more productive than Brown and McLaurin in each category. In 2022, he will potentially have a better QBing situation, and be a year more refined as an NFL player.

 

So if the present market for Brown and McLaurin is $23-25m/year, that seems like a starting point for MPJ after 2022. If his contract came in at $20m/year, it would be an absolute steal for the Colts, based on the current market. Do you know that, in the history of the Colts, only four players have ever made $20m/year or more? First was Andrew Luck ($25m/year), then DeForest Buckner ($21m/year), then we traded for Carson Wentz (his average is $32m/year, but we only paid him $21.3m in 2021), and now Matt Ryan ($30m/year). Only one of those was a non-QB. 

 

We have Nelson coming up, and many are projecting that he'll get $20m/year, but Chris Ballard seemed to suggest that projection is a little ambitious. Based on the market for guards, I agree, but we'll see. 

 

TL;DR -- Get ready for Michael Pittman Jr. to get a contract that's close to $25m/year. His closest comps -- Terry McLaurin and AJ Brown -- got $23-25m/year with less production than him. 

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16 minutes ago, Superman said:

Another thread talked about whether Michael Pittman Jr would have a breakout season in 2022. Here's the real question, IMO: Are you ready to see MPJ get a contract worth $25m/year? 

 

Chris Ballard seemed to suggest that projection is a little ambitious. Based on the market for guards, I agree, but we'll see. 

 

TL;DR -- Get ready for Michael Pittman Jr. to get a contract that's close to $25m/year. His closest comps -- Terry McLaurin and AJ Brown -- got $23-25m/year with less production than him. 

 

curb-your-enthusiasm-larry-david.gif

 

I hope MPJ kills it for Indy, but man that's a lot of money. Yes, the cap is going up annually, but man that's a lot of cash. That said, I hope the Colts keep him. He seems to be everything they are looking for in a WR, and Lord knows we need all the help we can get. 

 

Didn't Tennessee let Brown go because they didn't want to pay all that money? 

 

Also, not saying that TY is/isn't worth it, but he didn't get re-signed this year (assuming it was money related) even though Ballard said he thinks TY can still play. So it def makes you wonder how Ballard feels about paying up for WR's, esp since they didn't sign any FA's this year. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, lollygagger8 said:

 

curb-your-enthusiasm-larry-david.gif

 

I hope MPJ kills it for Indy, but man that's a lot of money. Yes, the cap is going up annually, but man that's a lot of cash. 

 

Tennessee let Brown go because they didn't want to pay all that money. 

 

Also, not saying that TY is/isn't worth it, but he didn't get re-signed this year (assuming it was money related) even though Ballard said he thinks TY can still play. So it def makes you wonder how Ballard feels about paying up for WR's, esp since they didn't sign any FA's this year. 

 

I don't think TY is a relevant factor. He's older, has obviously slowed down, has been hurt three years in a row, and seems to be unsure about where he wants to be and what he wants to do. And I think Ballard has been clear that they'd rather draft and develop their own, presumably to keep them long term, than pay the market rate premium for a FA (and I think that makes sense, as long as you actually hit on your picks).

 

As for the Titans, they didn't trade Brown just because of the money. Brown was threatening to hold out, and was demanding a top of market contract. Since the end of the 2021 season, a half dozen other WR contracts have solidified this market. Christian Kirk got $18m/year, with a much lower profile than any of these guys. The money was a big part of it, but I think the hardball negotiation really pushed the Titans to turn the page.

 

But that's an interesting alternative. They traded AJ Brown for a first and a third (#18 + #101), and drafted WR Treylon Burks with the 18th pick. (Burks isn't looking good for them so far, he has significant conditioning issues and training camp hasn't even started yet.) AJ Brown also had some really nice tape in his first two years, showed the potential to be a much more dynamic player than he did in 2021, so maybe his trade value is higher than MPJ's would be.

 

But if you could flip MPJ for a mid first round pick in 2023, and presumably use that pick on a new WR to take his place, would that be a good plan of action? Less expensive, yes. Better for team building? Not sure about that.

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3 minutes ago, TaylorTheStudMuffin said:

I was laughed at when I suggested he would get that much.

 

The immediate reaction to someone saying "$25m for MPJ" -- who doesn't even have 10 career TDs yet -- is one of disbelief. I get that. 

 

But the market shift at WR has been rapid, and dramatic. That's why I wanted to lay it all out in this thread. It seems pretty clear where his market will be, assuming he even repeats his 2021 performance.

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Jaguars really screwed the market up IMHO. If they don't overpay Christian Kirk by an incredibly wide margin I believe all the other salaries are tampered down by as much as 5 million per year. I'm all for these players getting paid, but I think paying a premium for the WR position is as flawed as over paying for a RB. The learning curve isn't nearly as sharp for WR's as it used to be due to all the camps they grew up attending and as much focus the position gets. Plus there are significantly more WR's churned through the college rankings then it seems any other position. It's not my money so I hope he gets paid as much as he can eek out from Irsay and he stays a Colt, however I'd rather push my money towards keeping the QB up right and getting after the QB.

 

Quick summary a WR is beginning to become a dime a dozen and their success stems from QB, o-line and OC more then it stems from their own ability, it's a position I played from flag football all the way through high school so it does pain me to point it out.

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1 hour ago, Superman said:

Another thread talked about whether Michael Pittman Jr would have a breakout season in 2022. Here's the real question, IMO: Are you ready to see MPJ get a contract worth $25m/year? 

 

The WR market has absolutely exploded in the last few years. In May 2019, Michael Thomas agreed to a new contract that made him the highest paid WR in NFL history -- five years, $96.25m, $19.25m/year. (Julio Jones reset the market a few months later, signing a new deal worth $22m/year.) Thomas' contract came after his third season. Through his first three years, Thomas had been a production monster. In Year 3, he led the NFL with 125 catches, was 6th in the league with 1,405 receiving yards, tied for 10th with 9 TDs, and was 4th in catch percentage (85%). One year after his record setting contract, Thomas set a new NFL record with 149 receptions, and led the league with 1,725 receiving yards, so at the time, it looked like money well spent -- you make the guy the highest paid receiver, and he continues being the most productive pass catcher.

 

Fast forward to 2022, Thomas is now the 14th highest paid WR. That's not abnormal, player contracts get bigger each year. But there are a couple of factors that are eye catching. First, the steep incline of the top of the market has been drastic. The highest paid WR (Tyreek Hill) is now making $30m/year, which is a 56% increase in just three seasons. (For comparison, in 2016, AJ Green was the highest paid WR, at $15m/year; in three years, that's a 28% increase. Or another position comparison is OG: In 2018, Zack Martin set the market at $14m/year; as of this offseason, the highest paid guard is Brandon Scherff, at $16m/year, just a 14% increase.)

 

Second, breaking that $20m/year barrier doesn't require league best production anymore. Two non-first round WRs who just finished their third seasons signed massive new contracts this offseason. AJ Brown was traded from the Titans to the Eagles, and signed a new four year contract worth $100m, $25m average, making him the fifth highest paid WR in the league. Terry McLaurin had a little bit of a standoff with Washington, and just signed a three year extension worth $70m, $23.3m average, making him the seventh highest paid WR in the league. You'd think that would mean these two guys represent the upper echelon of NFL pass catchers, that their production puts them in the top 10-15, right? Nope, not even close.

 

In 2021, AJ Brown was 47th in receptions (63), 32nd in yards (869), tied for 43rd in TDs (5), and 163rd in catch percentage (60%). Terry McLaurin was 26th in receptions (77), 20th in yards (1,053), tied for 43rd in TDs (5), and 169th in catch percentage (59.2%). I like both of these players, I think they're really good, there are other factors besides raw numbers (QB play, injuries, scheme, etc.), and they both have the potential to produce at a higher level. But statistically speaking, they're not top of the league, and their profiles pale in comparison to Michael Thomas in 2019. Realistically, we need to discuss whether either of them even belong in the top 20 right now.

 

So bringing this home to the Colts, Michael Pittman Jr is eligible for a contract extension after the 2022 season. Realistically speaking, he's one of 7-8 players that the Colts should be looking to build with for the next few years. His position is also one of the least proven on the roster. So the idea that the Colts won't be committing to him seems absurd to even consider. In his 2nd season, MPJ was 17th in receptions (88), 18th in yards (1,082), tied for 29th in TDs (6), and 91st in catch percentage (68.2%). He was more productive than Brown and McLaurin in each category. In 2022, he will potentially have a better QBing situation, and be a year more refined as an NFL player.

 

So if the present market for Brown and McLaurin is $23-25m/year, that seems like a starting point for MPJ after 2022. If his contract came in at $20m/year, it would be an absolute steal for the Colts, based on the current market. Do you know that, in the history of the Colts, only four players have ever made $20m/year or more? First was Andrew Luck ($25m/year), then DeForest Buckner ($21m/year), then we traded for Carson Wentz (his average is $32m/year, but we only paid him $21.3m in 2021), and now Matt Ryan ($30m/year). Only one of those was a non-QB. 

 

We have Nelson coming up, and many are projecting that he'll get $20m/year, but Chris Ballard seemed to suggest that projection is a little ambitious. Based on the market for guards, I agree, but we'll see. 

 

TL;DR -- Get ready for Michael Pittman Jr. to get a contract that's close to $25m/year. His closest comps -- Terry McLaurin and AJ Brown -- got $23-25m/year with less production than him. 

 

You did a lot of work, and I appreciate that....    but I'm not ready to buy what you're selling....

 

And, like you,  I'll use statistics to make my case.

 

Here are Michael Pittman Jr's stats AFTER 22, giving him an even better season this year than last due to Matt Ryan.

 

yr.   G     rec       yards    avg      TD

20      40         503     12.6       1

21      88        1082     12.3       6

22      90        1215      13.5      8

 

Terry McLaurin 

yr.      rec      yards    avg      TD

19       58       919      15.8       7

20      87       1118      12.9      4

21       77       1053    13.9       5

 

AJ Brown

yr       rec        yards     avg    TD

19      52        1051       20.2    8

20      70        1075       15.4   11

21      63         869      13.8    5

 

 

NOTE:    I think when you look at the three years for other guys,  the numbers for Brown and McLaurin are better than Pittman's.    Maybe not by a lot,  but I think they're better.    I think that holds down MPJ's salary.   Also,  note that the three players who got the big contracts this off-season, were all traded by good, well run franchises.   Hill traded by KC,  Adams traded by Gr. Bay, and Brown traded by Tenn.     So while some teams are willing to pay the new big money,  not everyone is, and some teams are willing to trade the player.    And I wouldn't rule out Chris Ballard being willing to trade MPJ.   I honestly don't think he feels the WR position is worth that type of money.   And if he can get a #1 (and maybe more) for MPJ,   then I believe he will think long and hard about doing that.    I've also stated that the key might be how much we are willing to guarantee.   I think the more MPJ asks for the LESS we will be willing to guarantee.   I think if his ask is more reasonable,  then we will be willing to guarantee more.

 

Also note:    I'm looking at the position salary for WR's as I type this on OTC.com.    As of this writing,  there are only 4 receivers getting $100 mill.   Hill, Adams, Brown and Cooper.   And, there are only 6 who are getting $24m per season: Hill, Adams, Hopkins, Kupp, Brown and Diggs.     Those two groups are pretty stiff competition.   And there are only 5 OTHER WR's making from $20m to $20.6m   they are Moore, Allen, Williams, Cooper and Godwin.    This group feels like where MPJ belongs $20-21m.    That feels like his sweet spot.    Notice I've come UP from my recent postings saying I think we offer $18m.     But even at $20-21m, it's not clear he'll get 5 years.    Notice Diggs only got 4 years, so his total maxes out at $96.    Mike Williams only got 3 years,  same for Chris Godwin.    I think your claim that Brown and McLaurin have LESS PRODUCTION is misleading at best (one year) otherwise, I think it's false.

 

I just don't think Ballard values the WR position to the extent that he's giving Pittman, or any WR, 5/100, and certainly not 4/100.     If MPJ gets $20-21m,  then I think it's on a 3-4 year deal.    Just because some teams are willing to pay crazy money,  doesn't mean all teams, as KC, GrBay and Tenn have demonstrated.    I would not be surprised if Ballard plays hard ball on this negotiation.    If he's willing to play hardball with Nelson (and he might be...)   then I think he's willing to playhard ball with MPJ.

 

Thanks again for your post.    Appreciate all the hard work you did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unfortunately that's the market for even average WRs. Imo to justify giving Pitt 25 mil, I need to see 2500 yards 20 tds in the next two seasons. That's an average of 1250 yards and 10 tds. I think he is more then capable of doing that.

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26 minutes ago, NewColtsFan said:

 

You did a lot of work, and I appreciate that....    but I'm not ready to buy what you're selling....

 

[clipped]

 

I certainly see where you're coming from. My statistical comparison was limited to the 2021 season. I maybe took for granted that everyone knows AJ Brown and Terry McLaurin had better statistical output in previous seasons.

 

I think I could argue that if MPJ were coming off Year 3 right now, along with Brown and McLaurin, he could compare his last season to their last season, and say 'they just set my market floor.' 

 

Furthermore, even considering the previous two seasons from those other two players, they are not top 15-20 WRs in the NFL right now, statistically speaking. Again, I like them both, wanted to draft either of them in 2019, but for them to be the 5th and 7th highest paid WRs in the NFL, it speaks to a major market shift. We've always known that you don't have to be top five to be paid like you're top five, you just have to hit the market at the right time. But for guys coming in so far down the list in major statistical categories at their position, getting such significant contracts is very eye opening for me. I think it was eye opening for the Colts front office, also.

 

I think some of the veteran contracts you pointed out need to be dismissed, they are not valid comps. Amari Cooper's contract was two years ago. Keenan Allen is 30, and on his third contract. Chris Godwin tore his ACL, and was coming off Year 5, not Year 3. Mike Williams was coming off Year 5; if signs two months later, he probably matches AJ Brown's deal, at least. I think DJ Moore is a relevant comp, but he signed prior to Brown, McLaurin and Diggs, who all came in between $23-25m. 

 

So I'm really just surprised by the fact that the top of the market increased so drastically, in such a short period of time, AND by the fact that players without elite statistical production were compensated at/near the top of that drastically improved market. These two adjustments are significant, and I don't think MPJ's reps are going to ignore them. I wouldn't.
 

Now, what does Ballard do? Even at $20-21m/year, that's major for the Colts. Ballard doesn't like taking big swings for outside guys, but when we draft and develop young players, we tend to re-sign them. He hasn't paid a lot of money for any offensive skill players, but we haven't had anyone really make a case for a big contract so far. So MPJ will be the first one up, and we trade him? Justified or not, that will be noticed by other players. And it's probably just kicking the can down the road, because two years later Alec Pierce will be up. 

 

More importantly, I don't think Ballard's philosophy -- whatever it might be -- changes MPJ's market. Whether it's Indy or somewhere else, I think he gets paid like Brown and McLaurin did.

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3 hours ago, Superman said:

Another thread talked about whether Michael Pittman Jr would have a breakout season in 2022. Here's the real question, IMO: Are you ready to see MPJ get a contract worth $25m/year? 

 

The WR market has absolutely exploded in the last few years. In May 2019, Michael Thomas agreed to a new contract that made him the highest paid WR in NFL history -- five years, $96.25m, $19.25m/year. (Julio Jones reset the market a few months later, signing a new deal worth $22m/year.) Thomas' contract came after his third season. Through his first three years, Thomas had been a production monster. In Year 3, he led the NFL with 125 catches, was 6th in the league with 1,405 receiving yards, tied for 10th with 9 TDs, and was 4th in catch percentage (85%). One year after his record setting contract, Thomas set a new NFL record with 149 receptions, and led the league with 1,725 receiving yards, so at the time, it looked like money well spent -- you make the guy the highest paid receiver, and he continues being the most productive pass catcher.

 

Fast forward to 2022, Thomas is now the 14th highest paid WR. That's not abnormal, player contracts get bigger each year. But there are a couple of factors that are eye catching. First, the steep incline of the top of the market has been drastic. The highest paid WR (Tyreek Hill) is now making $30m/year, which is a 56% increase in just three seasons. (For comparison, in 2016, AJ Green was the highest paid WR, at $15m/year; in three years, that's a 28% increase. Or another position comparison is OG: In 2018, Zack Martin set the market at $14m/year; as of this offseason, the highest paid guard is Brandon Scherff, at $16m/year, just a 14% increase.)

 

Second, breaking that $20m/year barrier doesn't require league best production anymore. Two non-first round WRs who just finished their third seasons signed massive new contracts this offseason. AJ Brown was traded from the Titans to the Eagles, and signed a new four year contract worth $100m, $25m average, making him the fifth highest paid WR in the league. Terry McLaurin had a little bit of a standoff with Washington, and just signed a three year extension worth $70m, $23.3m average, making him the seventh highest paid WR in the league. You'd think that would mean these two guys represent the upper echelon of NFL pass catchers, that their production puts them in the top 10-15, right? Nope, not even close.

 

In 2021, AJ Brown was 47th in receptions (63), 32nd in yards (869), tied for 43rd in TDs (5), and 163rd in catch percentage (60%). Terry McLaurin was 26th in receptions (77), 20th in yards (1,053), tied for 43rd in TDs (5), and 169th in catch percentage (59.2%). I like both of these players, I think they're really good, there are other factors besides raw numbers (QB play, injuries, scheme, etc.), and they both have the potential to produce at a higher level. But statistically speaking, they're not top of the league, and their profiles pale in comparison to Michael Thomas in 2019. Realistically, we need to discuss whether either of them even belong in the top 20 right now.

 

So bringing this home to the Colts, Michael Pittman Jr is eligible for a contract extension after the 2022 season. Realistically speaking, he's one of 7-8 players that the Colts should be looking to build with for the next few years. His position is also one of the least proven on the roster. So the idea that the Colts won't be committing to him seems absurd to even consider. In his 2nd season, MPJ was 17th in receptions (88), 18th in yards (1,082), tied for 29th in TDs (6), and 91st in catch percentage (68.2%). He was more productive than Brown and McLaurin in each category. In 2022, he will potentially have a better QBing situation, and be a year more refined as an NFL player.

 

So if the present market for Brown and McLaurin is $23-25m/year, that seems like a starting point for MPJ after 2022. If his contract came in at $20m/year, it would be an absolute steal for the Colts, based on the current market. Do you know that, in the history of the Colts, only four players have ever made $20m/year or more? First was Andrew Luck ($25m/year), then DeForest Buckner ($21m/year), then we traded for Carson Wentz (his average is $32m/year, but we only paid him $21.3m in 2021), and now Matt Ryan ($30m/year). Only one of those was a non-QB. 

 

We have Nelson coming up, and many are projecting that he'll get $20m/year, but Chris Ballard seemed to suggest that projection is a little ambitious. Based on the market for guards, I agree, but we'll see. 

 

TL;DR -- Get ready for Michael Pittman Jr. to get a contract that's close to $25m/year. His closest comps -- Terry McLaurin and AJ Brown -- got $23-25m/year with less production than him. 

I think the key here is that contracts have become so much more roller coaster these days.  More guarantees, higher salaries, but shorter lengths.  What used to be a 6-7 year contract for skill players is now becoming more of a 2-4 year contract with higer averages and more guarantees.  

 

Even if the market allows Pittman to reach 25m per year, i doubt its longer than a 3-4 year and since he hasnt been a league leader from the start in many categories, I could see him getting a good amount of a signing bonus and upfront cash, but a lot of incentives and escalators and such.

 

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1 hour ago, twfish said:

Jaguars really screwed the market up IMHO. If they don't overpay Christian Kirk by an incredibly wide margin I believe all the other salaries are tampered down by as much as 5 million per year. I'm all for these players getting paid, but I think paying a premium for the WR position is as flawed as over paying for a RB. The learning curve isn't nearly as sharp for WR's as it used to be due to all the camps they grew up attending and as much focus the position gets. Plus there are significantly more WR's churned through the college rankings then it seems any other position. It's not my money so I hope he gets paid as much as he can eek out from Irsay and he stays a Colt, however I'd rather push my money towards keeping the QB up right and getting after the QB.

 

Quick summary a WR is beginning to become a dime a dozen and their success stems from QB, o-line and OC more then it stems from their own ability, it's a position I played from flag football all the way through high school so it does pain me to point it out.

 

I think Kenny Golladay started this in 2021, actually. He got $18m/year, but he had some nice seasons prior to his contract year.

 

To the bolded, I get the idea, but it's overstated. First, RBs last 5-6 years at best. WRs have much longer careers and produce at a high level for many more seasons, so paying a WR is much different than paying a RB.

 

Second, the WR bust rate is insanely high; MPJ is the only one Ballard has hit on. They are not as replaceable as people think, especially without paying a premium in FA. There will be more and more good WR prospects in the draft each year, based on trends throughout all levels of football, and many of them will produce right away. But can you really just churn the position every 3 seasons -- using another top 64 pick on the same position every couple of years -- and build a sustainable program? If AJ Brown has a great 2022, while Treylon Burks struggles, doesn't that have an impact on the Titans locker room and culture? Won't Derrick Henry be a little upset about that? I think the Chiefs have done a good job revamping their WR corps, but they better hope MVS and Skyy Moore come ready to work. 

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33 minutes ago, Superman said:

 

I certainly see where you're coming from. My statistical comparison was limited to the 2021 season. I maybe took for granted that everyone knows AJ Brown and Terry McLaurin had better statistical output in previous seasons.

 

I think I could argue that if MPJ were coming off Year 3 right now, along with Brown and McLaurin, he could compare his last season to their last season, and say 'they just set my market floor.' 

 

Furthermore, even considering the previous two seasons from those other two players, they are not top 15-20 WRs in the NFL right now, statistically speaking. Again, I like them both, wanted to draft either of them in 2019, but for them to be the 5th and 7th highest paid WRs in the NFL, it speaks to a major market shift. We've always known that you don't have to be top five to be paid like you're top five, you just have to hit the market at the right time. But for guys coming in so far down the list in major statistical categories at their position, getting such significant contracts is very eye opening for me. I think it was eye opening for the Colts front office, also.

 

I think some of the veteran contracts you pointed out need to be dismissed, they are not valid comps. Amari Cooper's contract was two years ago. Keenan Allen is 30, and on his third contract. Chris Godwin tore his ACL, and was coming off Year 5, not Year 3. Mike Williams was coming off Year 5; if signs two months later, he probably matches AJ Brown's deal, at least. I think DJ Moore is a relevant comp, but he signed prior to Brown, McLaurin and Diggs, who all came in between $23-25m. 

 

So I'm really just surprised by the fact that the top of the market increased so drastically, in such a short period of time, AND by the fact that players without elite statistical production were compensated at/near the top of that drastically improved market. These two adjustments are significant, and I don't think MPJ's reps are going to ignore them. I wouldn't.
 

Now, what does Ballard do? Even at $20-21m/year, that's major for the Colts. Ballard doesn't like taking big swings for outside guys, but when we draft and develop young players, we tend to re-sign them. He hasn't paid a lot of money for any offensive skill players, but we haven't had anyone really make a case for a big contract so far. So MPJ will be the first one up, and we trade him? Justified or not, that will be noticed by other players. And it's probably just kicking the can down the road, because two years later Alec Pierce will be up. 

 

More importantly, I don't think Ballard's philosophy -- whatever it might be -- changes MPJ's market. Whether it's Indy or somewhere else, I think he gets paid like Brown and McLaurin did.


Regarding MPJ being next up for the Colts.   I don’t know if Nelson’s deal will impact either the Colts or MPJ….  At least from a stand point of highest paid non-QB.   Also, the other next contract up is also Jonathan Taylor,  and I don’t know if THAT will impact things?   Perhaps we want JT and his 20 touches a game to be our highest paid non-qb, offensive weapon?   Just thinking out loud. 

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I think there is  a strong case that Pittman may get less touches this year

 

Carson was going to Pitman no matter what it seemed, especially later in the year

 

Ryan seems to spread the ball out more looking for TEs and RBs, as well as the WRs

 

If Campbell and/or Pierce can contribute...... I dont see Pittman getting more opportunities

 

Pittman is WR2 on at least half of the NFL teams.

 

Unless he has an amazing, blowout  year........... we shouldnt pay him top WR1 money...  IMHO...

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1 minute ago, NewColtsFan said:


Regarding MPJ being next up for the Colts.   I don’t know if Nelson’s deal will impact either the Colts or MPJ….  At least from a stand point of highest paid non-QB.   Also, the other next contract up is also Jonathan Taylor,  and I don’t know if THAT will impact things?   Perhaps we want JT and his 20 touches a game to be our highest paid non-qb, offensive weapon?   Just thinking out loud. 

 

I guess JT is up at the same time. Market conditions for RBs are very different than conditions for WRs, though. Christian McCaffrey's $16m/year is still top of market, and that was done two years ago. The RB market has not exploded like the WR market has, and it's not likely to happen any time soon.

 

We could copy the McCaffrey structure, at $17.5m/year, and call it a day. His deal was basically three years, $40m, with team flexibility after 2022. If we followed that same guideline, we'd be guaranteeing JT until the end of his sixth season, and although I don't really like the yearly value, I'm okay with committing to him for that time, and then going year by year after that.

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MPJ was all we really had last season at WR.

If PC is healthy, or AP emerges, then all that changes. 

And we have a QB that can spread things around better.

So good chance MPJ has a great year, but actually has less yards. 

 

I'll defer worrying about his $$ until we get through this season. 

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8 minutes ago, EastStreet said:

MPJ was all we really had last season at WR.

If PC is healthy, or AP emerges, then all that changes. 

And we have a QB that can spread things around better.

So good chance MPJ has a great year, but actually has less yards. 

 

I'll defer worrying about his $$ until we get through this season. 

Or he is open more and gets more yards. Chances are with a QB that will take what is there he will have more yards because of YAC but  less targets.

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26 minutes ago, TaylorTheStudMuffin said:

Or he is open more and gets more yards. Chances are with a QB that will take what is there he will have more yards because of YAC but  less targets.

There are a lot of factors to consider. QB, play calls, routes given to him, other pass catchers, etc.. 

And the last 3 seasons, we've been bottom 10 in pass % (through all 3 QBs). 

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I hope he produces like a 25 mill WR, because IMo, apparently counter to Colts brass, this club desperately needs one if it’s ever going to develop into a legit contender.

 

I don’t understand the WR thing being overrated.  All the best teams that actually win and compete for SBs have had outstanding WRs lately.

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14 minutes ago, Nickster said:

I hope he produces like a 25 mill WR, because IMo, apparently counter to Colts brass, this club desperately needs one if it’s ever going to develop into a legit contender.

 

I don’t understand the WR thing being overrated.  All the best teams that actually win and compete for SBs have had outstanding WRs lately.

 

To the bolded, based on AJ Brown's 2021 season, that's not all that impressive anymore.

 

I agree, you need good WR play to contend. What's worth questioning is whether this rapid market shift has created an opportunity to capitalize on an inefficiency.

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17 hours ago, Superman said:

 

I think Kenny Golladay started this in 2021, actually. He got $18m/year, but he had some nice seasons prior to his contract year.

 

To the bolded, I get the idea, but it's overstated. First, RBs last 5-6 years at best. WRs have much longer careers and produce at a high level for many more seasons, so paying a WR is much different than paying a RB.

 

Second, the WR bust rate is insanely high; MPJ is the only one Ballard has hit on. They are not as replaceable as people think, especially without paying a premium in FA. There will be more and more good WR prospects in the draft each year, based on trends throughout all levels of football, and many of them will produce right away. But can you really just churn the position every 3 seasons -- using another top 64 pick on the same position every couple of years -- and build a sustainable program? If AJ Brown has a great 2022, while Treylon Burks struggles, doesn't that have an impact on the Titans locker room and culture? Won't Derrick Henry be a little upset about that? I think the Chiefs have done a good job revamping their WR corps, but they better hope MVS and Skyy Moore come ready to work. 

And I already read an article that Skyy Moore seems to be struggling a little bit.  It will be interesting to see if Pierce or Moore end up being more impactful.

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We still have Pittman signed for another 2 years. I would wait at least another year or so to see if the market settles a bit before extending him. It's a bit out of control right now with the money guys like Christian Kirk is getting. 

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35 minutes ago, IrsaysArmy said:

If Pittman is making $25 million next year it won’t be with the Colts. 
 

I like Pitt but until he proves me wrong I look at him like a good #2

I tend to agree. I think if he were to be extended right now he is more in the range of 18-20 mil per season. He needs to show he is a top 10 WR1 before I can pay him 25 mil per. 

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1 minute ago, BProland85 said:

We still have Pittman signed for another 2 years. I would wait at least another year or so to see if the market settles a bit before extending him. It's a bit out of control right now with the money guys like Christian Kirk is getting. 


Legally, we have to wait at least another season.  The CBA says rookies on 4-year contracts can’t extend or re-do them for the first 3-years.   So when you’re seeing posts about extending Pitt and/or Taylor, we’re all talking about AFTER this season which is their third year.    That’s when the extension talks will heat up. 

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1 minute ago, BProland85 said:

We still have Pittman signed for another 2 years. I would wait at least another year or so to see if the market settles a bit before extending him. It's a bit out of control right now with the money guys like Christian Kirk is getting. 

 

AJ Brown and Terry McLaurin threatened to hold out after Year 3. What if Pittman has a strong 2022 -- we've already analyzed the market, he'd have a case for a big contract -- and threatens to hold out without a new contract? 

 

The Colts front office has shown no problem with extending productive players early: Hines, Smith, Leonard, Moore. Would they take a hardline with MPJ?

 

Do you trade him, like the Titans did with Brown? Capitulate, like Washington did with McLaurin? Or prepare for a prolonged standoff? 

 

Everyone keeps coming back to the Christian Kirk contract, which was obviously ridiculous. But that's just a small factor, that one contract isn't the sole reason the market has overheated. It's more a symptom of a new way of valuing young WRs. 

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9 minutes ago, compuls1v3 said:

And I already read an article that Skyy Moore seems to be struggling a little bit.  It will be interesting to see if Pierce or Moore end up being more impactful.

 

Yeah, he had the very disappointing hamstring injury in his first offseason, which you never want to hear about your fast, young WR. Same as Parris Campbell in 2019. But the Chiefs still have Hardman, and signed MVS and JuJu, so theoretically they can afford take it slow with Moore this year.

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With the wide receiver contracts being handed out lately one of the overlooked aspects is the percentage of the salary cap top receivers get. I think Covid messed up the cap some but even from just 2019 the cap is up $20 million. I don't know how the percentage of the salary cap a wide receiver gets now has changed over the years but I think that's the much more important factor to consider and not just the yearly salary number.

 

With that said I think receivers are more important and impactful. The production you need from your passing game has increased over the years.

 

There is no doubt in my mind the Colts will need to pay Pittman in the $25 million a year range to keep him and i'm good with that. That's his market and you can't change it. The Colts philosophy is to draft and keep their own guys and the way they manage their salary puts them in the best position possible to do so. Pittman is certainly one I want to see kept.

 

I'm actually more concerned with paying Q (injuries) and JT (the way elite RB play can decline after 24/25) than Pittman.

 

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@Supermanbrought up a very good point regarding how difficult it is to draft a WR that is playing to Pitt's potential.  As a 50 year Colts fan, the best receivers I actually saw play for the colts were Carr, Brooks, Marvin, Wayne, and TY.....Pitt can fall in to that category if he stays healthy, imo.  My last sentence pretty much backs up what @Supermanwrote, 5 good to great wr's in 50 years...

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1 minute ago, LiveAndLetAddai said:

@Supermanbrought up a ver good point regarding how difficult it is to draft a WR that is playing to Pitt's potential.  As a 50 year Colts fan, the best receiversI actually saw play for the colts were Carr, Brooks, Marvin, Wayne, and TY.....Pitt can fall in to that category if he stays healthy, imo.  My last sentence pretty much backs up what @Supermanwrote, 5 good to great wr's in 50 years...

 

There have been others, whether they got hurt or didn't re-sign. Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon... But yeah, while we've had some good ones, we haven't had a lot of them.

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2 minutes ago, Myles said:

They could always wait and franchise him when needed.

 

Right now, the WR tag would be $27.4M. No telling what it will be two years from now. Deebo, DK, Claypool, Mike Evans, all could get new top of market contracts between now and then. 

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2 hours ago, Nickster said:

I hope he produces like a 25 mill WR, because IMo, apparently counter to Colts brass, this club desperately needs one if it’s ever going to develop into a legit contender.

 

I don’t understand the WR thing being overrated.  All the best teams that actually win and compete for SBs have had outstanding WRs lately.

 

  The BEST Teams are loaded with LOTS of good players including WR.
  Pittman showed us some really good tools over the last 2 seasons and should be ready to be an Excellent go to guy in year 3. 
  And his supporting cast including Ryan will be a giant leap so all bodes well. 

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3 hours ago, Superman said:

 

To the bolded, based on AJ Brown's 2021 season, that's not all that impressive anymore.

 

I agree, you need good WR play to contend. What's worth questioning is whether this rapid market shift has created an opportunity to capitalize on an inefficiency.

Not sure what the last sentence is supposed to mean.  Couple of definite pronouns would help.

 

1 hour ago, throwing BBZ said:

 

  The BEST Teams are loaded with LOTS of good players including WR.
  Pittman showed us some really good tools over the last 2 seasons and should be ready to be an Excellent go to guy in year 3. 
  And his supporting cast including Ryan will be a giant leap so all bodes well. 

Sure but pass catchers are far more important than they were just a few years ago and RBs are basically one of the lowest values positions in the game.  
 

The salary jump is simple IMO.  2 major factors.  1.  Rules have made pass catchers much much more valuable and more worth the risk.   2.  Young WRs are producing much more frequently right out of the gate.    Before about 2019 or so it was extremely rare for rookie WRs to produce much.  There were some exceptions like Moss, Boldin, Beckham ,  but you’d rarely see a guy produce 1000yds.  That changed in 2019 and now it’s fairly frequent that guys produce out of the gate.  

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33 minutes ago, Nickster said:


 

The salary jump is simple IMO.  2 major factors.  1.  Rules have made pass catchers much much more valuable and more worth the risk.   2.  Young WRs are producing much more frequently right out of the gate.    Before about 2019 or so it was extremely rare for rookie WRs to produce much.  There were some exceptions like Moss, Boldin, Beckham ,  but you’d rarely see a guy produce 1000yds.  That changed in 2019 and now it’s fairly frequent that guys produce out of the gate.  

#2 would drive salaries down, wouldn't it?   It would somewhat justify letting a WR go if you feel you can draft a young rookie on the rookie contract for a few years.   

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34 minutes ago, Myles said:

#2 would drive salaries down, wouldn't it?   It would somewhat justify letting a WR go if you feel you can draft a young rookie on the rookie contract for a few years.   

 

It hasn't so far. Some teams won't play in that range -- Titans, KC, etc. -- but several other teams are fine with it -- Eagles, Dolphins, Washington, Raiders, etc. 

 

Still, teams that have backed away from the higher salaries are impacting the draft market. The Titans drafted Burks in the first, KC drafted Skyy Moore, Packers used an early 2nd on Christian Watson, etc. There were 6 WRs taken in the first round, and 13 in the first two rounds. That's 20% of picks at one position. 

 

So the premium is being felt either on the salary cap, or with high draft picks. And these teams that punted this offseason will have a similar decision to make 3-4 years from now. 

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I think the evaluation of $25M is a little premature. Lots can change in a season. 

 

  • Sure it could be spot on in a few years when extended, IF he continues to churn out 1000+ yard seasons.
  • But, just some things to consider...
    • 23 WRs had 1000+ last season. Pittman was 16th. 
    • Only the top 5 are making 25+M
      • That will obviously increase by extension time, but by how much. Likely only a 2-3.
    • Their are 12 WRs at $20M or more. 
    • Pittman was really the only game in town last season for targets.
      • He'll have a QB that can spread it around better (than Wentz), and potentially other emerging talent at WR, TE, and RB, that will likely cut into to his targets.
      • It's very possible that he has a great year in 2022, but doesn't eclipse 1000 yards. 
      • So what if he's not even top 20 in yards after the season. What if another Colts pass catcher like Campbell or Pierce show to be just as productive by late season. Or God forbid what if he gets injured. 
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2 hours ago, Myles said:

#2 would drive salaries down, wouldn't it?   It would somewhat justify letting a WR go if you feel you can draft a young rookie on the rookie contract for a few years.   

Well I see your point.  But to me what has happened is guys are producing early and are getting early extensions and building up resumes quicker and resigning for a lot more than before after rookie contracts .

 

and the demand for pass catchers is sky high for seemingly everyone but Indy lol.

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