The case for extending Jermaine Kearse

0
304

This is the final installment in a four-part series examining whether the Seahawks should give speedy wide receiver Jermaine Kearse the type of long-term, low-cost contract extension that the team recently gave Doug Baldwin. In Part One I examined the Seahawks’ outlook at wide receiver; in Part Two I looked at Kearse’s strengths; and in Part Three I looked at Kearse’s weaknesses. Today, I’ll make the case for why the Seahawks should indeed give Kearse this type of extension despite his maybe-underwhelming raw numbers.

kearse

The 2013 Seahawks had some of the best bang-for-your-buck contracts in the history of the NFL: Russell Wilson earned $681,805; Richard Sherman earned $600,606. Compared to these contracts, Kearse catching 22 passes for 346 yards while earning $480,000 doesn’t quite catch the eye.

But don’t hold the flabbergasting dollars-to-production value of Wilson’s and Sherman’s contracts against Kearse! As a third-string wide receiver, Kearse in fact provided astronomical value to the Seahawks in 2013, and he will again in 2014 if he provides the same production while due to earn a $570,000 salary.

Take a look at Kearse’s 2013 offensive production compared to some of the other wide receivers who will be earning the exact same money as Kearse in 2014:

Name

2013 Team

2013 Catches

2013 Yards

2013 TDs

Jermaine Kearse

Seahawks

22

346

4

Lavelle Hawkins

Chargers

0

0

0

Josh Morgan

Redskins

20

214

0

Earl Bennett

Bears

32

243

4

Brian Robiskie

Falcons

0

0

0

Armanti Edwards

Panthers/Browns

1

10

0

Naaman Roosevelt

0

0

0

Marvin McNutt

Panthers/Dolphins

0

0

0

Chris Owusu

Buccaneers

13

114

0

 

Most receivers at this pay grade are simply not contributors to their teams. This is a far cry from Kearse’s production, which included touchdowns in both the Conference Championship Game and Super Bowl. While Earl Bennett’s production for Chicago looks quite similar to Kearse’s, remember that Kearse is a vital member of the Seahawks’ special teams unit — value that Bennett does not provide for his team.

Here’s a look at some of the players who provided comparable offensive production to Kearse in 2013, along with what they will be earning in 2014:

Name

2013 Team

2013 Catches

2013 Yards

2013 TD’s

2014 Salary

Jermaine Kearse

Seahawks

22

346

4

$570,000

Tiquan Underwood

Buccaneers

24

440

4

$925,000

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Colts

29

309

1

$635,000

Stephen Hill

Jets

24

342

1

$1,285,185

Tavon Austin

Rams

40

418

4

$2,897,955

Brian Quick

Rams

18

302

2

$1,469,072

Brandon Gibson

Dolphins

30

326

3

$3,735,000

Robert Meachem

Saints

16

324

2

$635,000

Miles Austin

Cowboys

24

244

0

$2,000,000

Sidney Rice

Seahawks

15

231

3

$1,275,000

 

Given how the rest of the NFL values this type of speedy, third-string production, it certainly seems that Kearse is due a significant pay raise.

I believe that, by signing Kearse to a three-year contract extension, the Seahawks would be bolstering their offense and their special teams with a valuable contributor of selflessness, consistent effort, and speed.

kearse

While three years is the same length as Baldwin’s new contract extension, any extension given to Kearse should not have the same financial value as Baldwin’s, which is good for $13M, $8.5M of it guaranteed. In his three years as a Seahawk, Baldwin has attained per-season averages of 43 catches, 644 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Although Baldwin does not regularly play special teams, Kearse has yet to approach these levels of production and reliability, and his salary is sure to reflect as such.

A deal that is in the ballpark of half the cost of Baldwin’s — $7.5M, an average of $2.16M a year — could work well for both sides, ensuring that Kearse stays in Seattle for his prime years.

Of course, the biggest factor in determining Kearse’s financial future is how he builds off his breakout 2013 campaign once the 2014 season starts.

[fanmob id=”9a2619ba-f353-4343-b1dd-b93c6c5d111b”]