Clayton in TB has also signed. All I have heard regarding Taylor is that he finally selected an agent, and they were going to begin serious negotiations.
As to Robinson! Whew Hoo!!
FYI - Update on Profootballtalk.com (sorry for the length but thought it was worth posting:
CASSERLY CONFIRMS DUNTA DEAL
Houston Texans G.M. Charley Casserly confirmed for us on Thursday afternoon that, as reported here and only here, the team has reached an agreement with cornerback Dunta Robinson.
Casserly acknowledges that the bonus money indeed reflects a significant increase over the bonus money paid in 2003 to No. 10 overall pick Terrell Suggs. But Casserly explained that, from the Texans' perspective, it was more important to consider the difference between the total value of the two deals, which Casserly pegs at an increase of only 6 percent -- far less than the 28 percent increase in the bonus money.
Casserly referred us to Dan Ferens, the Texans' cap guy, who gave us the numbers on Robinson.
Robinson will receive a signing bonus of $4.070 million, a 2005 option bonus of $3.930 million, and a 2004 salary of $962,000, which equates to a first-year haul of $8.962 million.
In comparison, Suggs received a signing bonus of $2 million, a 2004 option bonus of $4.25 million, a first-year salary of $1.1 million and a "one-time guaranteed playing time bonus" of $1.05 million -- which some folks around the league call a "falling off the log" incentive, since it's virtually guaranteed to be earned.
As a result, the total first-year money paid to Robinson represents an increase of only 6.7 percent over Suggs' total year-one pay. Comparing the bonus money (i.e., signing and option) only, however, Robinson's $8 million take represents a 28 percent raise -- as we reported earlier on Thursday.
The key, as Casserly told us, is that Robinson's representatives didn't consider the $1.05 million "log" incentive in their comparison of the Robinson deal to the Suggs deal. The Texans, on the other hand, believe that the $1.05 million payment should be deemed part of the first-year haul.
Thus, the agents think they got a 28 percent raise in bonus money, and the team thinks the increase was less than a fourth of that.
Apart from payments made in year one, Casserly explained that, for a player like Robinson, it's more important to look at what will be paid over the life of the deal, since he's likely to be with the team for the full five years (actually, it's a six-year deal with voids to five pursuant to a "basic" trigger, as Ferens told us).
Comparing the amounts to be paid over five years under the two deals, the Robinson will get $10.7 million and Suggs will get $10.09 million. The Robinson deal represents, then, a six percent raise, which the Texans believe is clearly in line with current NFL trends.
Finally, Robinson's deal includes up to $4.2 million in tiered escalators to be paid in 2008. He gets the full amount if the Texans make the playoffs four years in a row, if Robinson makes the Pro Bowl four years in a row, and if he has at least eight picks in each of the next four seasons.
(Frankly, we've got as good of a chance as Robinson as earning the full value of the incentives.)
The lesson to be learned through all of this is that the comparison of contracts is a subjective, complex process. Some league insiders look at certain factors in the contract, others seize on different provisions (and the media -- us included -- generally is clueless as to these niceties). From Casserly's perspective, however, the deal is a good one that represents a modest increase over last year's contract for Suggs.