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Analysis: Pay raise for Lorenzo Alexander

J.I. Halsell

The ascension of defensive tackle-turned-linebacker Lorenzo Alexander into a starter has been one of the more surprising revelations of the Redskins' season thus far. A former street free agent, Alexander's versatility on offense, defense and special teams has been well documented over the past few seasons, and he was rewarded in March with a three-year contract extension.

Entering the 2010 offseason, Alexander was set to play under a one-year restricted free agent tender of $1.1 million. Unlike fellow restricted free agents Rocky McIntosh, Carlos Rogers, and Reed Doughty, Alexander was able to come to an agreement on a multi-year deal.

In exchange for the one-year RFA contract with non-guaranteed money of $1.1 million, Alexander accepted a three-year deal that guaranteed him $200,000 and had a base value of $2.2 million. Alexander's contract contains salary escalators that, based upon defensive playtime, can escalate his existing 2011 and 2012 salaries by up to $300,000 in each of those years. Given Alexander's increased role this season, it would appear he's well on his way toward earning a deserved $300,000 pay raise in 2011.

One could argue that this current contract represents Alexander's windfall contract for his career because by the time it expires, he will be 30 years old with an uncertain market value. Perhaps, given his performance of 2010 thus far, Alexander may have been better served by playing under the one-year deal initially offered, as he could have potentially made more money on the 2011 free agent market.

But Alexander is a player who has really ingrained himself in the Washington community through his charitable efforts and wanted to remain a Redskin, so accepting a multi-year deal with guaranteed money in lieu of the uncertainty of a one-year, non-guaranteed contract makes sense.

The pay-for-performance structure utilized by the Redskins' front office via the escalators and an additional cumulative $350,000 available to Alexander through "per-game" roster bonuses is symptomatic of a new approach toward contract structuring at Redskins Park. "Per-game" roster bonuses have been hallmarks of Bruce Allen contracts going back to his days in Tampa and Oakland.


Detroit: Poster child for compensation reform in the draft
In three of the last four drafts, the Lions have had either No. 1 or 2 overall picks in the draft. The result is $110 million in guarantees between Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and Ndamukong Suh. With the addition of first-round picks Gosder Cherilus, Brandon Pettigrew and Jahvid Best, the Lions have $134 million in guarantees tied up in six starters.

The current Redskins offensive starting unit has guarantees totaling $70.5 million. With $70 million guaranteed, Johnson and Stafford's guarantees nearly match the entire Redskins offense.

The Lions' offensive starting unit alone has guarantees totaling $141.5 million; by comparison, the Redskins' offensive and defensive starters combine for $132.5 million.


A native Washingtonian, J.I. Halsell spent two seasons as a salary cap analyst for the Washington Redskins. Prior to his tenure in Washington, he spent two years working in the NFL Management Council, and now pens a blog entitled "Under the Cap" for FootballOutsiders.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SalaryCap101.

By J.I. Halsell  | October 29, 2010; 6:09 AM ET
Categories:  Lorenzo Alexander, Roster analysis  
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Next: Jim Haslett calls London Fletcher's consecutive-games streak "amazing"

Comments

Whoever actually reads this post will be the FIRST one to do so...I'm done with these lame statistical analyses...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Actually Brown that one was not bad it talks about LA97 contract, and about hoiw much the Lions are paying just to there top draft picks.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 29, 2010 6:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm done with these lame statistical analyses...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 6:25 AM |

Give it another try. If you'd actually read it you'd see it's not a "statistical analysis."

Anyway, this stuff is better than what Reid puts up here or any post involving a video of LaVar Arrington.

Posted by: beep-beep | October 29, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Whenever I see that guy's pic, I just move down to the comments. I mean, did you guys just hear yourselves? Dude is discussing a guy who's under contract for THREE MORE YEARS. What the hell do I care what he's making two days before gametime? I'll grant you that the tidbit on the Lions is kinda interesting, but geez...our standards have definitely been lowered here...

Oh, and here's videos I'd be more interested in seeing than anything featuring LaVar "I Yell Like Samuel L. Jackson" Arrington:

-Surgery on Discovery Channel

-A 6 foot black guy f*cking a midget

-A 10 minute monologue from John Mayer before he signs

-Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Sarah Palin having a heart to heart

I think you see where I'm going with this...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

I never thought I'd see an article comparing the Redskins favorably to any team in the area of salary structure! How times have changed....

Posted by: Jason10 | October 29, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

"The pay-for-performance structure utilized by the Redskins' front office via the escalators and an additional cumulative $350,000 available to Alexander through "per-game" roster bonuses is symptomatic of a new approach toward contract structuring at Redskins Park."

Pay for performance...with us, not your last team,....what a novel concept.

Posted by: MColeman51 | October 29, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

I never thought I'd see an article comparing the Redskins favorably to any team in the area of salary structure! How times have changed....

Posted by: Jason10 | October 29, 2010 7:12 AM


Kinda misleading though...the reason the Lions have so much money tied into so few players is because they pick so damn high every year. So it's more about the lack of a rookie wage scale than it is fiscal irresponsibility on the Lions' part. If they could win even 7 or 8 games, they wouldn't have that problem.

I hope the NFL remedies that...giving that much money to rookies is a massive mistake and in some ways, I'm sure it contributes to the amount of guys who get the "bust" label. I guarantee you'll see a lot fewer JaMarcus Russells if they get this done...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Gotta' agree with some of the others here BROWNIE. This article points up some of the changes being wrought by ALLEN in his GM duties, and I like learning about them. It does affect on field performance. Looks like HAYNESWORTH's contract for example is a dinosaur by comparison. This might be the wave of the future in the league. Performance-based 'Play for pay,' what a novel concept.

Posted by: glawrence007 | October 29, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

think you see where I'm going with this...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

All too well, brownie, all too well.

Seems like my man LO-A is happy though, judging by his on-field performance so far this season.

Posted by: glawrence007 | October 29, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Whoever actually reads this post will be the FIRST one to do so...I'm done with these lame statistical analyses...

Posted by: brownwood26

That would be me. Curious how they compensate one of the most valuable core Redskins, and pleased to see the fiscal profligacy of the prior administration is on the wane.

Posted by: TheCork | October 29, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

The title of this thread made me think it was going to be an argument for giving Alexander a new, more lucrative, contract because of his ascention to starter. It wasn't really that so much as an explanation of the deal he just signed, making mention of the fact Alexander might have done much better this offseason. Point is, it was good timing and a nice signing for the Skins front office.
Say Alexander were to play like a superstar for the rest of the season. The resulting upswell of pressure for the Redskins to reward him with a new contract that then would happen raises an interesting question: Teams that give disastrous contracts have to pay every penny of guaranteed money and take all cap pain that they agreed to. Too bad! You made a bad deal. You have to live with all the consequences you can't wiggle out of within the rules. But when they win with a signing, they don't get to reap the benfits without pressure to give away the benefits for fear of alienating the player and his fans. Shouldn't we, as fans of the Skins, be glad when they get a good deal? God knows, we need something to offset some of the bad old deals on the books. Or is it inevitable that we like certain players, like Lorenzo, and want them to get paid when they "outplay" their contract?

Posted by: MColeman51 | October 29, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Actually it's more about the 180 in Washington than anything to do with the Lions or the rookie pay scale.

I agree that the money thrown at top draft picks is absurd, but you cannot deny that the Redskins are a much more fiscally responsible team than they have been in past years. Give credit where it's due.

Posted by: Jason10 | October 29, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, gl...just seems like a lot of talk reserved for the offseason when we don't have a sh*tload of actual football we could be talking about. Guys are injured, we're underdogs to a 1-5 team, AH vs. Schwartz after being together in TN...there's a ton of topics to choose from that you don't have to resort to stuff that's probably going to be offseason headline material...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 6:55 AM

-Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Sarah Palin rubbing each other's asses.

It's not that good but it's interesting to read about a guy that with salary escalators has the possibility to make in one year what AH makes in 2 weeks.

Posted by: Diesel44 | October 29, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I agree that the money thrown at top draft picks is absurd, but you cannot deny that the Redskins are a much more fiscally responsible team than they have been in past years. Give credit where it's due.

Posted by: Jason10 | October 29, 2010 7:42 AM


I was talking more about the Lions in my last comment, so I wasn't withholding credit from the Redskins at all. There's definitely an air of fiscal responsibility and I've seen nothing but evidence to support the notion that the culture here has indeed changed. All I said was that the Lions having $134 million tied up in 6 players has more to do with the rookie wage scale and their inability to get a pick outta the top 5 than it does the Lions overspending in FA or arbitrarily blowing cash.

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

The only stat Im into this week is whatever teams records are coming off a Bye. I know its good, so that means Detroit has a good chance of winning. Not twice in 2 years over us though. Last year still stings and I think the guys open up a can on the rusty Stafford. Just hope D.Hall doesn't bite on the double move deep ball they will try!!!!

Posted by: FedorEm | October 29, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

The only stat Im into this week is whatever teams records are coming off a Bye. I know its good, so that means Detroit has a good chance of winning.

Posted by: FedorEm | October 29, 2010 7:59 AM

Vegas agrees. That's why a 1-5 team is favored by 2.5 pts going against a team that is 4-3.

Posted by: Diesel44 | October 29, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Whenever I see that guy's pic, I just move down to the comments.

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 6:55 AM

This is not typical of Brownwood. He hasn't read the post, but he has strong negative impressions because he doesn't like the picture of the guy? A picture is worth a thousand words!

Wow, brownwood, you're lowering yourself to the level of beantowngreg. He doesn't need to watch the games and you don't need to read the posts to hate on what's in them.

I think you're having a bad day.

Posted by: beep-beep | October 29, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I never thought I'd see an article comparing the Redskins favorably to any team in the area of salary structure! How times have changed....

Posted by: Jason10 | October 29, 2010 7:12 AM

Kinda misleading though...the reason the Lions have so much money tied into so few players is because they pick so damn high every year. So it's more about the lack of a rookie wage scale than it is fiscal irresponsibility on the Lions' part. If they could win even 7 or 8 games, they wouldn't have that problem.

I hope the NFL remedies that...giving that much money to rookies is a massive mistake and in some ways, I'm sure it contributes to the amount of guys who get the "bust" label. I guarantee you'll see a lot fewer JaMarcus Russells if they get this done...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 7:21 AM
------------------------------------------
I understand the team's not wanting to blow their bank account on unproven rookies. You would think this would act as a natural deterrent and teams would endeavor to trade down and comb the free agent market, but it hasn't. I would like to see something a little more realistic as a cap and I would also like to see a big cut of the players' compensation go into a bona fide retirement fund for the players. Despite getting enormous amounts of money while they are playing, a lot of players leave the NFL penniless. Instead of overpaying rookies, they could level out salaries a little while putting something away for a rainy day for players.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | October 29, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Bw26-

A native Washingtonian, J.I. Halsell spent two seasons as a salary cap analyst for the Washington Redskins. Prior to his tenure in Washington, he spent two years working in the NFL Management Council, and now pens a blog entitled "Under the Cap" for FootballOutsiders.com.

Seems to me that he's pretty qualified to post about anything salary related. If anything, we should see more posts from this guy.

Posted by: Diesel44 | October 29, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

NNNNEEEEERRRRRDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: monk811 | October 29, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

This is not typical of Brownwood.
I think you're having a bad day.

Posted by: beep-beep | October 29, 2010 8:14 AM

I gotta agree. C'mon Brownie! Pull it together for one more weekday morning until the Bye! We need you to carry the blog in the early a.m. We just went 10 mins w/o a post on Friday morning in Week 8 of an NFL season.

Posted by: MColeman51 | October 29, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

not sure I've ever seen a relatively new poster "jump the shark" so soon..

Posted by: Diesel44 | October 29, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Beep, I'm just weary of offseason posts smack dab in the middle of the season. There's roughly 1,000 topics better than a guy's contract 3 years before it expires. That's it...that's my gripe. It's just unbelievable that the WaPo can be this bad on purpose when papers with a fraction of the resources like the Examiner (which I never even heard of until someone started posting Keim's stuff up here) and whatever rag they publish down in Fredericksburg can cover the Redskins well. I mean, really...give RI to Steinberg. It's the no-brainer of all no-brainers...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Matt Millen = Vinny C. Lite

Posted by: monk811 | October 29, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse


Whoever actually reads this post will be the FIRST one to do so...I'm done with these lame statistical analyses...

Posted by: brownwood26

not bad reading at all for this blog. beats the stuffing out of JReids gossip column

Posted by: hessone | October 29, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Seems to me that he's pretty qualified to post about anything salary related. If anything, we should see more posts from this guy.

Posted by: Diesel44 | October 29, 2010 8:19 AM


100% agree. All I'm saying is don't do it in Week 8...do it in the offseason.

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse


Beep, I'm just weary of offseason posts smack dab in the middle of the season.

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 8:24 AM |

brown, why do you have this problem with talking about the off season during the regular season ? we're not talking about where the players are going on their summer vacation. at least this guy halsell makes some good points and he smiles for the camera

Posted by: hessone | October 29, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

The list of guys that were limited in practice indicates the bye is coming at a pretty good time. Homefully, not a week too late. Do you guys dislike the bye week as much as I do? I should just enjoy the chance to watch other teams and enjoy an afternoon of football without getting so hung up on the Skins' game, but...I can't help it. I want the 3-1/2 hours of being totally wrapped up in every play of a game I care a lot about. Glad the team will be resting next weekend, but I'll be waiting anxiously for 8:30 p.m. Monday 11/15.

Posted by: MColeman51 | October 29, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse


give RI to Steinberg. It's the no-brainer of all no-brainers...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 8:24 AM |

amen brother 100% agree

Posted by: hessone | October 29, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

i hope you replace jason reid, i do not like him.

Posted by: cavalieri10 | October 29, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

#51-

The injury report is a joke. Which by the way is how it should be, no reason to give an opposing team a competitive advantage.

Posted by: Diesel44 | October 29, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

but I'll be waiting anxiously for 8:30 p.m. Monday 11/15.

Posted by: MColeman51 | October 29, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I know what you mean. Somehow we make it from February to August without football, and that's torture, but once the season starts the bye week seems like as long as the offseason! I know we need the rest, but f*ck it, I want to be selfish and see them EVERY week.

Posted by: monk811 | October 29, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse


The list of guys that were limited in practice indicates the bye is coming at a pretty good time. Homefully, not a week too late. Do you guys dislike the bye week as much as I do? I should just enjoy the chance to watch other teams and enjoy an afternoon of football without getting so hung up on the Skins' game, but...I can't help it. I want the 3-1/2 hours of being totally wrapped up in every play of a game I care a lot about. Glad the team will be resting next weekend, but I'll be waiting anxiously for 8:30 p.m. Monday 11/15.

Posted by: MColeman51 | October 29, 2010 8:37 AM |

agree, but the timing is right

its just not the same when the skins aren't playing and everyone else is. it's something I still can't get use to.

I'd rather see the skins get a bye in the middle of the season instead of the beginning of the season though

Posted by: hessone | October 29, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Monk, Coleman...I'm just happy that watching the Redskins is fun again instead of being a chore like it was the last two years...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

#51-

The injury report is a joke. Which by the way is how it should be, no reason to give an opposing team a competitive advantage.

Posted by: Diesel44 | October 29, 2010 8:40 AM
------------------------------------------
I think it's funny, but I'm surprised some bookie out there hasn't tried to break Shanny's kneecaps for putting all of the misinformation out there on injuries. Shanny is pretty sly about how he does it, too. This is in stark contrast to Jim "total transparency" Zorn.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | October 29, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse


oh, and happy friday everyone.

Posted by: hessone | October 29, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse


Shanny is pretty sly about how he does it, too. This is in stark contrast to Jim "total transparency" Zorn.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | October 29, 2010 8:52 AM |

didn't gibbs get in trouble one time over his listing of an injury report ?

Posted by: hessone | October 29, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

its just not the same when the skins aren't playing and everyone else is. it's something I still can't get use to.

Posted by: hessone | October 29, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Definately true, but the only consolation is that the rest of the NFC East is playing, so I can root for them to lose!!!

Posted by: monk811 | October 29, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse


beeps peeps to amazing

Posted by: hessone | October 29, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Its a good sign that even tho our team isn't playing close to our full potential, we are winning games. If we are 2-5 right now, people would wanna kill. 4-3 and a work in progress with tons of positive signs is great. Realistic chance to go 5-3 into the bye week. Woo Hoo Positivity!

Posted by: FedorEm | October 29, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if James Davis will be playing this week?

Posted by: iH8dallas | October 29, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Kinda misleading though...the reason the Lions have so much money tied into so few players is because they pick so damn high every year. So it's more about the lack of a rookie wage scale than it is fiscal irresponsibility on the Lions' part. If they could win even 7 or 8 games, they wouldn't have that problem.

I hope the NFL remedies that...giving that much money to rookies is a massive mistake and in some ways, I'm sure it contributes to the amount of guys who get the "bust" label. I guarantee you'll see a lot fewer JaMarcus Russells if they get this done...

Posted by: brownwood26 | October 29, 2010 7:21 AM
------------
Good point Brown..
Its also why the Pats were focused on trades and deals that delivered picks in 2011/12, as far back as 2008.
Now they are stockpiled with multiple early picks (2 1sts, 2 2nds, etc) in a potential rookie salary cap scenario (CBA). Pats get early round talent at a fixed, low price.
Its pays to have your owner (Kraft) on these committee(s) and most likely why you will see this rookie cap getting done prior to the 2011 draft. Otherwise, Kraft cannot afford it (other than trading the picks away). Just more savvy personnel decisions by the low paying Pats...
With any other team and without Brady, Belichick would be the coach (losing record) he was in Cleveland, with Kosar.

Posted by: onanygivensunday | October 29, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Monk 811 -- You really think that London Fletcher 591 is as good as Ray Lewis 521? Do you base this on anything other than homerativity?

Posted by: beep-beep | October 29, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

In my current Madden Franchise I traded for Ray Lewis to be the second ILB with Fletcher. For the two remaining years they stayed in the league those two together made my 3-4 a run stopping machine.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 29, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Guaranteed money guarantees mediocrity.

You think Haynesworth would have so much leverage despite his behavior if he didn't already have his bacon in the bank?

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | October 29, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Why do we have to compensate a player just because he has 3 good games? Everytime a player has a good game, we have these stupid Insider posts of having to renew a contract or when is McNabb going to get his deal? That what has been wrong with this team for years...but the reporters want to keep the status quo so 2 years from now they can report how it was a bad move to extend this player. I'm sorry, these types of stories are ignorant. Do you think BA and MS are going to let a core guy like that go? Get real!

Posted by: urbanaslamma | October 29, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

the reporters want to keep the status quo so 2 years from now they can report how it was a bad move to extend this player.
Posted by: urbanaslamma

Winner winner chicken dinner! Certain reporters (JR) like to act as if an injustice is being done by the franchise because McNabb hasn't been extended; they even take it so far as to leave out what is probably the biggest factor in his not being extended( lack of a labor contract)when they write about the situation. But when a player doesn't pan out a few years down the road they criticize the Redskins for not being prudent in their dealings with players and act as if everyone but the team knew that it wasn't going to work out.

Posted by: Jason10 | October 29, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Ok, lots of interesting posts about how things are being done now as opposed to the two headed monsters "snyrato"...Reading this brings one thing to mind. Why let a rocky MacIntosh and Carlos Rodgers drift in the wind. Oh. i'm sure they offered them some watered down version of what alonzo took with the CA making them restricted FA, but my problem is going out every year and getting other teams has been players( archuletta, haynesworth ,etc for boatloads of money and not taking care of our own who have earned it. I'm still pissed that we let antonio Pierce walk for a pitence of what other contracts snyder pisses into the wind. Guy was a baller and so is Rocky. We extend Cooley and his play is starting to show chinks in his armour last two yrs, but he sells jerseys so we know the deal there. My point is Alonzo was not annointed anything when he signed, he was glad to get 3 years because of where he came from and how he got here. He earned where is is, a great story of a guy who obviously loves to play football(listening albert). But Rocky and rodgers have been starting for 5 years now and these are the guys the skins should be rewarding. "great players", no, but have served thier team as needed and show up and play every week to the best of their ability. OK, granted ,we might need to have rodgers get a hand transplant before we resign him but the team uses the system against them when they should be rewarding them for being a part of a top ten defense the last few years. And if we don't, the nimwits will be saying how we need to draft a linebacker and CB next year when those guys are here and we have other needs and fewer picks. Just saying!

Posted by: klangley69 | October 29, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey folks, really appreciate all the feedback (both positive & negative). To be clear on Zo's contract, I'm not saying he should get rewarded with a new contract because he's had 3 good games, but i'm saying that his current contract was prudently structured (contrary to what some may call recent "status quo" on contract structuring) to reward him if he became a contributor.

Signed, your resident & proud Salary Cap Nerd

Posted by: JIHalsell | October 29, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

If Allen and Shanahan are worth the money they are being paid, Washington shouldn't have to rely on Hall or Haynesworth type deals to bring talent to the Redskins.

Beathard used low round draft choices, undrafted rookie free agents and mid-tier veteran free agents to replace personnel on the Redskins for years.

Nowhere was this more pronounced then the offensive line.

Arguably one of the best offensive lines in NFL history over the 1980's the core performers were Bostic (free agent acquired on waivers from the Eagles), Grimm (#3 draft choice) and Joe Jacoby (undrafted rookie free agent).

Later other players like RC Thielmann and Jim Lachey came via trades.

The only player the Redskins drafted #1 for the OL was Mark May taken in 1981.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | October 29, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

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