NFL contracts obviously affect individual players and their teams but they are not done in a vacuum. Each contract also can affect other players around the league, which is the reason the deal Cameron Jordan is getting from the New Orleans Saints today is important.
That deal -- reported by Mike Garafolo of FOXSports1 as a five-year, $55 million deal with $38 million in "guaranteed" money and $27 million over the first two years -- is causing a lot of players to enjoy their days today.
Justin Houston, Jason Pierre-Paul, Chandler Jones, Ryan Kerrigan are almost certainly going to use this deal when they negotiate their coming new contracts.
And Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon is going to do that as well.
Indeed, I have it on good authority the Jordan deal, which comes in at about $12 million annually (APY) when you include incentives, is what Vernon will use as the floor for his coming negotiations with the Dolphins.
Houston is dancing. Jones is dancing. Kerrigan is dancing. And OV is surely dancing.
Vernon, 24, and Jordan, 25, play different positions. Vernon is a 4-3 defensive end. Jordan is a 3-4 defensive end.
But their production, particularly as pass rushers, is nearly identical. Jordan through his first three seasons had 21 1/2 sacks.
Olivier Vernon through his first three seasons had 21 1/2 sacks.
Jordan had 7 1/2 sacks in his fourth season. Yeah, um, Vernon expects to be better than that in 2015 for his fourth season.
Vernon can easily look at himself as a $12 million per year player after this season because the only way the Dolphins can keep him after this season is to sign him to a multi-year deal that pays him market dollars now established by Jordan ... or use a $15 million or so franchise tag on him.
(Because Vernon was not a first-round draft pick there is no one-year option the team can apply to him. In that regard, Jordan had less leverage in his negotiations than Vernon will have).
And if the Dolphins apply the franchise tag on Vernon in 2016, the only way they keep him in 2017 without signing him to a deal that by then probably averages $15 million APY is by franchising him again. And that second franchise tag would be 120 percent higher than the first or about $17.7 million for one year.
So the choices really are to get a multi-year deal that pays around $12 million annually ... or franchise him the next two years for $32.7 million ... or lose Vernon in free agency -- at age 25 next offseason or at 26 in 2017.
Obviously all this is contingent on Vernon performing this year. But he is going to bet on himself that he can easily match the 7 1/2 sacks Jordan had in his fourth year. With Ndamukong Suh joining the defensive line and Cameron Wake playing on the other side, it is pretty clear Vernon isn't likely to get a ton of double-teams.
If Vernon stays healthy, he's going to perform. If Vernon performs, he's going to get paid. And the floor to that payment came in today with Cameron Jordan's deal.