At this point we all know that Tyler Boyd wants to go about his contract negotiations with good faith towards the Bengals. However, he does have an extension in mind that he would like the Bengals to be competitive with.
“I definitely look at the market and see where guys is at. A great example is Sterling Shepard. I feel like our game is kind of similar, kind of close,” Boyd told Paul Dehner Jr. of the Athletic. “He got four for $40 million. I kind of feel like I’m in that area. Hopefully, they come like that or a little bit more or around that way. I feel like my ability is worth that much. I feel like my value is that much. But I’m not going to go out there asking something crazy because I had one great year. I want to continue to show them that I can do that every single year, that I’m a 1,000-yard receiver every year.”
It is interesting when you look at the career numbers for both players. They were both drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft and where given meaningful roles in their rookie season. Shepard tops Boyd in all meaningful receiving stats over their three-year careers. Shepard has already eclipsed 2,000 receiving yards, 190 receptions while adding 14 touchdowns. Boyd has just a hair over 1,800 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 152 catches. It is also worth noting the Shepard accumulated those stats with 75 more targets.
Even with all of that, Boyd showed last season he’s the real deal and is on Shepard’s level. His breakout season was unrelenting even with A.J. Green sidelined for half the season, and that may be the difference that separates the two. Both have had the luxury of playing alongside an elite receiver, but Boyd proved to be reliable as a first and second option in the passing game. Now that Odell Beckham Jr. is gone from New York, Shepard’s job will become a bit more difficult.
You can’t fully grasp how great Boyd’s season was last year without covering how vital he was to converting third downs last season. The Bengals were one of the worst teams at moving the chains on third down, but Boyd did his part by converting 25 conversions for first downs on either third or fourth down, according to Dehner Jr. That is worth a similar extension to Shepard all on its own.
Now let’s talk about logistics for a second — especially with all the talk about the Bengals and Gerald McCoy having a chance to make a deal. It is important to remember that Boyd would be signing an extension, meaning it would have very little impact on the Bengals’ cap space for this season. In other words, Boyd’s extension has no barring on any other deal the Bengals could make this season.
Let’s take a look at what the future of the extension could be. If we assume Boyd signs the exact same extension, his cap hits the next four years in order would be $8.5 million, $9 Million, $10.5 million and $11.5 million. Boyd would have the sixth highest cap hit in 2020 of deals that are currently done, and if no one gets cut. He would then be the fourth highest in 2021. Although you should assume that A.J. Green, who is also looking for an extension, will be ahead of Boyd both seasons.
Boyd is certainly worth the investment, and it is a great deal for both sides. Boyd hasn’t had the consistency you’d like to see to give a large contract to, but this is a nice middle ground to lock him up and reward him for last season.