Time for Bengals to Re-Negotiate with Hall and Peko

Andy Lyons

With big contracts expiring after 2014 (Dalton, Green, Burfict, etc.), the Bengals need to free up some cap space. With high cap numbers and concerns with injuries and production, Leon Hall and Domato Peko are prime candidates for contract re-structuring.

Earlier this week we took a look at why, despite nearly $30M of cap space, the Bengals are likely to be quiet in free agency and stick to signing (and extending) their own in the 2014 off season. In fact, with some big player contracts coming due in 2015 (Dalton, Burfict and Green), the Bengals may need to free up some space in the off season. Though the Brown family does not generally re-negotiate contracts, they would be wise to renegotiate the following players:

1) Leon Hall

Base Salary: $6,800,000

Cap Number: $8,700,000
Cap Savings: $5,100,000

I like Hall as both a player and locker room leader. But, with a $8,700,000 cap number and coming off his second Achilles tear in three years is risky. Coming back from a torn Achilles is a tough for anyone, but cornerback is likely the toughest position in football for a torn Achilles. The toughest part about an Achilles injury is the sudden change of direction and no position in football requires sudden change of direction like corner does. Corner is the one position in football where every movement is determined by reacting to the guy you are covering. I hope Hall comes back as well from this Achilles injury as he did from his last Achilles, but to bet $8.7M on that happening is not smart football. The Bengals would be wise to restructure this contract and save some money here.

Ideal Cap Number: $4-5M

Ideal Cap Savings: $3.7-4.7M

2) Domato Peko

Base Salary: $3,965,000

Cap Number: $4,165,000
Cap Savings: $4,165,000

Like Hall, I love Peko as a locker room and community presence. And also like Hall, Peko is a fan favorite...especially when he and his mane come in at full back. Unlike Hall, I am not as sold on Peko's on-field contributions. According to ProFootballFocus, over the last three seasons, Peko's highest single season grade was -3.0. Take it for what it's worth, but Peko consistently grades out poorly amongst his DT peers. While throwing him in at full back creates excitement amongst fans, his use at full back is only the result of a glaring hole at the full back position and Peko's #1 job is to play DT - which is where he is falling short. Fan excitement is great, but fan excitement can be generated for far less than $4.2M. Apparently Peko's representatives have already approached the Bengals about an extension and given his cap number, the Bengals would be wise to listen. I would like to see Peko stick around as a leader and 3rd or 4th guy in the DT rotation, but the Bengals will be a better team with Thompson or Still next to Atkins rather than Peko.

Ideal Cap Number: $1.5-2M

Ideal Cap Savings: $2.1-2.6M

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