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Projecting Colts’ free agent cornerback Pierre Desir’s contract

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Pierre Desir had a strong second season with the Colts. He fit well in the Colts Cover 2 base system and played a lot of physical press coverage throughout the year. He finished the season with an interception and 8 pass deflections. He also finished as the 18th best cornerback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

Current Contract

Desir signed a 1-year, $1,750,000 contract last offseason. That ended up being one of the best valued contracts on the team as Desir performed like a top-tier starter at a backup’s price.

Market Value + Player Comparisons

Moving forward, Desir would be a great fit as a #2 cornerback in Indianapolis. There are 5 players who filled a similar role and who signed recent contracts, these players are very good, physical press coverage corners. While they might have a few more years of proven production than Desir, I believe all to be in the same tier or very close. The five players are:

  • Robert AlfordArizona Cardinals — 3 year, $22,500,000 ($7,500,000 Average Per Year)
  • Morris ClaiborneNew York Jets — 1 year, $7,000,000
  • Prince AmukamaraChicago Bears — 3 year, $27,000,000 ($9,000,000 Average Per Year)
  • T.J. CarrieCleveland Browns — 4 year, $31,000,000 ($7,750,000 Average Per Year)
  • Captain MunnerlynCarolina Panthers — 4 year, $17,000,000 ($4,250,000 Average Per Year)

Claiborne, Amukamara and Carrie’s contracts were signed in 2018. Munnerlyn’s contract was signed in 2017 and Robert Alford’s was signed earlier this week.

If we adjust their contracts to the 2019 salary cap and the inflation in the salary cap over the past couple of years, their contract value in today’s terms/dollars look like this:

  • Robert Alford — Arizona Cardinals — 3 year, $22,500,000 ($7,500,000 Average Per Year)
  • Morris Claiborne — New York Jets — 1 year, $7,500,000
  • Prince Amukamara — Chicago Bears — 3 year, $29,100,000 ($9,700,000 Average Per Year)
  • T.J. Carrie — Cleveland Browns — 4 year, $31,000,000 ($8,300,000 Average Per Year)
  • Captain Munnerlyn — Carolina Panthers — 4 year, $19,320,000 ($4,830,000 Average Per Year)

If we take the average of those five contracts (in today’s terms), it would be:

3 years, $22,680,000 ($7,560,000 Average Per Year)

The issue for Desir will come down to a shorter period of consistent high level production. Desir has been a decent player but took a huge step up last season. While he might belong in the same tier as the five names above, he is likely at the bottom of it.

Claiborne, Carrie and Alford seem to be the most accurate player/style comparisons of the five players listed. If we take an average of their contracts, we come out with:

3 years, $22,750,00 ($7,583,333 Average Per Year)

Again, the issue of consistency arises so it will be hard to justify him getting over $7,500,000 with only one strong season under his belt.

The five players listed above are similar in terms of their role and their style of play. There are a couple of players who are similar in terms of their free agency situations. Rashaan Melvin and E.J. Gaines are two players who bounced around a bit before making a splash in their contract year. Both signed their contracts last offseason.

Adjusted for inflation, their contracts are:

  • Rashaan Melvin — Oakland Raiders — 1 year, $5,900,000
  • E.J. Gaines — Buffalo Bills — 1 year, $4,292,000

The average of those two contracts is:

1 year, $5,096,000

It’s important to look at both groups of comparison, because while Desir’s style of play is more similar to the first group (with five players), his contract situation is almost identical to the second group (with two players).

Contract Projection

2 years, $6,328,000 per year

In terms of his guarantees, if we take the average of all seven players from both groups, we get an average of 57.2% of the contract being guaranteed. Ballard’s guarantee percentage is usually between 30 and 45%. If we take the midpoint of 30 and 45 (37.5) and average it against 57.2%, we get a figure of 47.35%.

I project Desir’s contract to be:

2 years, $12,656,000 ($6,328,000 Average) with $5,992,616 Guaranteed