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Dev Diary #66 SimNFL Contract Extensions


Piercewise1

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Hello NFL owners!

 

Today we are implementing the first iteration of a contract extension calculator. Going forward, a team has the option to offer any player in the final year of his contract an extension, to keep him on the team before he hits free agency. The Value required to re-sign the player is determined by the salaries of other players in the league who play the same position and have a similar skill level. This year, the extension window will open after the trade deadline (aka RIGHT NOW) and will close on the Saturday before the Super Bowl at 11:59 PM.

 

The master list of players eligible for extensions, along with their current team and requested Value, is here. This Dev Diary will cover how those amounts were calculated.

 

Value Calculation

 

To figure out how much Value a player wants, we need to establish a baseline. To do that we take every non-rookie contract in the league, separate them by position, and rank them by their player’s Overall score. To determine an eligible player’s requested Value, we look at the 6 players at their position closest to their Overall - 4 above and 2 below. The average of these 6 contracts becomes the initial baseline.

 

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Seattle’s Eric Palkovich is an 80 OVR receiver. The salaries of the six veteran receivers nearest to his OVR are averaged and come out to 22.15. This is the initial baseline, but we’ll run through a few more checks.

 

If that average is less than the player immediately below them in OVR, they will ask for that amount instead. This ensures that one other player being on a cheap deal will not devalue the eligible player’s asking price. In this case 22.15 is higher than 12.46 so no adjustment is needed.

 

If that average is less than the player’s existing contract, they will ask for a 10% raise in Value over their current contract. This ensures that a player won’t take a pay cut without testing free agency. In this case 22.15 is higher than their existing contract of 8.73, so no adjustment is needed.

 

Special case #1: if the player is one of the top-4 players at their position (i.e. there aren’t 4 players with a higher Overall with which to calculate the average) they will ask for a contract equal to the highest-paid player at their position.

 

Special case #2: if the player is a sub-60 Overall veteran (a Below Average pool player), their required Value is fixed as the higher of 0.7 or 10% above their current value. This prevents 59 Overall players from asking for comparable salaries to 70+ players.

 

Ideally, the sim will fill in the 60-69 overall range over time with newly drafted college players, lessening the gap between starter and non-starter and removing the need for this step. But for now it’s an important balancing measure.

 

Once all these factors have been considered, we end up with a final number. If a team is willing to offer a contract with that Value, the player will sign the extension. How you reach that Value is up to you; you can offer any combination of Bonus* and Salary for any number of years to meet that Value, as long as the contract follows all the same rules from free agency (listed here under Contract Rules). The Value Calculator for NFL contracts is here.

 

*Note that the rules include the 30% Bonus requirement - veterans will not sign extensions without at least some guaranteed money.

 

Currently the sim has no mechanism for negotiation – you can sign the player for the Value they request, or you can let them enter free agency when the season ends and see what the “market” will pay them. The goal of this system is to provide teams with a means to retain good players already under contract, while ensuring that the salaries for star players make sense compared to the money they might expect to make in free agency. In an ideal world it rewards owners who can manage their cap, while still providing a robust free agent pool every off-season, while also pushing superstar players into bigger and bigger deals (as in real life). Of course this is a first attempt, and there may be improvements made in the future to better align the process with these goals.

 

Next Steps

 

To offer an extension, we will use the same form we used for free agency. I’ve added checks on my end to confirm that the offers follow all the contract rules and that the Value you list is accurate for the terms provided (and is sufficient for the requested player). You have until 11:59 PM on the night before the Super Bowl to submit extension offers. You do not have to submit all your offers at once, but you must submit them by the deadline or they will not be considered. As with free agency, any submitted offers are binding and cannot be rescinded.

 

I will keep the master list updated as players sign, and might even write up some media headlines when big contracts are finalized. As always I am happy to address any questions or concerns that you have.

 

-Pierce

Edited by Piercewise1
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