With the 2015 NFL season inching closer, Bengals safety George Iloka is set to play out the final year of his rookie deal.
Iloka will be making $1.5 million this season, but he'll be getting handsomely paid next offseason if he has another year like he did in 2014. Pro Football Focus gave Iloka an overall grade of +9.4 last season while being the highest-graded Bengals defensive player. PFF also had Iloka tied as the NFL's 12th ranked safety and rated him second on the Bengals in run defense (+3.6) and pass coverage (+3.9).
With no sign yet of Iloka getting an extension this year, the guys at Spotrac went ahead and attempted to project what his next NFL contract will look like when/if he signs a new deal with the Bengals next offseason. To do this, they first took a look at four players around the same age and with about the same ability at the time they signed their newest contracts:
|PLAYER||LENGTH||VALUE||AVG. SALARY||GUARANTEED||AGE WHEN SIGNED|
The averages here are four years, valued at $26,692,963 with a $6,673,241 yearly salary and $9,956,250.
Here's how Spotrac sees Iloka's potential extension by the numbers:
Low Value (HOMETOWN DISCOUNT)
Utilizing our Median Prime Percentage (4.07%), we're forecasting Iloka as the 7th AAV paid S, highest SS:
4 years, $28,284,041 | $7,071,010 per year | $10,925,000 guaranteed
High Value (MAX-VALUE DEAL)
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (5.50%), we're forecasting Iloka as the 7th AAV paid S, highest SS:
4 years, $28,672,685 | $7,168,171 per year | $11,225,000 guaranteed
For the sake of discussion, we looked at some other big deals big-time safeties signed in recent years. After doing a little digging, here are some other contracts that safeties that were/are close to the caliber of player Iloka ended up signing:
*Former Browns safety T.J. Ward (26 at the time) signed a four-year, $22.5 million contract with the Broncos in 2014, including $14 million guaranteed. He did so after earning a 15.0 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2013.
*Former 49ers safety Dashon Goldson (then 28) signed a five-year, $41.2 million contract with the Buccaneers in 2013, including $18 million guaranteed. He did so after earning a 6.4 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2012.
*Reggie Nelson (28 at the time) signed a four-year, $18 million contract with the Bengals in 2012, including $5 million guaranteed. He did so after earning a 6.4 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2011.
With those deals in mind, it's safe to assume Iloka's next deal will be for at least four years and pay him at least $20 million, as long as he has a solid showing in 2015. If he has a good-to-great year, he could be in line for a deal in the neighborhood of $27 million. If he has a so-so season, he'll still probably command $20 million. He'd need to have a disastrous season to get anything less than that.
Depending on who the Bengals get re-signed between now and the start of next offseason could determine how much they're willing to pony up for Iloka. And if his deal doesn't come before the start of the season, his performance in 2015 will have a big impact on whether he's back in Cincinnati in 2016 and how much he'll make in the process.