The Detroit Lions traded a 4th and 5th round pick for Defensive Tackle Haloti Ngata after losing Ndmakong Suh to an overpay by the Miami Dolphins (19 per season). Detroit has been negotiating with Ngata this summer and would like to lock up the big man to avoid another Suh situation next offseason. Ngata is 31 years old this season and is switching schemes. How much should Detroit pay him?
Defensive Tackle Contracts
Suh and McCoy make big money at 19 and 15.8 million per season, respectively. Ngata is the next highest contract making 12.1 per season. He is currently on the last year of that deal and Detroit picked up his 8.5 million salary that Baltimore couldn’t pay due to the salary cap.
Based on his age and contract, 10 million per season would be very fair for Ngata. This would match Geno Atkins and be more than Kyle Williams deal. Williams was given 7.5 million per year at the age of 32 from Buffalo. If Detroit could get Ngata on a deal like Williams, they should be very happy.
A 3 year extension for 30 million is more realistic for Ngata which would add 3 more years on top of the 2015 season. Ngata could be a Lion through the 2018 season.
A ten million signing bonus would be fair and spread out over 4 years (2015 plus the three year extension) for a 2.5 million charge each year. This would make Ngata happy because he would get 14 million instead of 8.5 million this season. Another 6 million in 2016 would be a nice salary for would be 32 year old. Ngata may want more money in year 2 however. This could be the big contract sticking point.
The 2015 and 2016 base salaries would be guaranteed. This would make Ngata eligible to cut if old age creeps up at 33 in 2017 with a 5 million dead cap hit. It would realistically be a two year deal with the option for Detroit to keep him in 2017.
Cap Hits with Salary and Signing Bonus
4 million (base)+2.5(SB)=6.5 cap hit 2015. Dead money 20 million
6 million (base)+2.5(SB)=8.5 cap hit in 2016. Dead money 13.5 million
8 million (base)+2.5(SB)=10.5 cap hit in 2017. Dead money 5 million
10.5 million (base)+2.5(SB)=13 cap hit in 2018. Dead money 2.5 million
The Lions should sign Ngata, even at a price of 10 million per season. Ngata has a hamstring injury currently but is a very good and durable player. Players like Justin Smith and Kyle Williams have done well into their early 30s. Ngata can be a force for Detroit for two or three seasons. Mayhew should get the deal done and avoid a franchise tag situation.