710ESPN Seattle audio: Follow the money

May, 22, 2012
5/22/12
7:22
PM ET
Brock Huard, Mike Salk and I discussed Kellen Winslow during our most recent conversation on 710ESPN Seattle.

One of the questions -- what risk might Winslow carry for the Seahawks? -- reminded me to start with the money when analyzing how a veteran player fits into a new environment.

With that in mind, I've sketched out a few thoughts on deals for Winslow and a few other notable NFC West newcomers this offseason (one per team):
  • Cortland Finnegan, St. Louis Rams: Finnegan signed a five-year deal that could be worth $50 million, with guaranteed salaries in each of the first two seasons. This deal identifies Finnegan as a starter, team leader and a core player for new coach Jeff Fisher. The risk should be low because Fisher knows Finnegan well. But the investment is high. The Rams are counting on Finnegan to produce and set a high standard.
  • Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers: Moss signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal. There was no bonus. Moss must be on the roster during the regular season to collect. Concerns over Moss becoming a negative influence, if valid, would be premature at this point. The organization hasn't invested enough in Moss to make this an issue now. The 49ers can release Moss before the season at no cost.
  • Winslow, Seahawks: The Seahawks inherit the long-term deal Winslow signed in 2009, but without being on the hook for guaranteed money. At most, Winslow will cost Seattle a sixth-round choice and $4.8 million in 2012. But if the Seahawks released Winslow before the season, they would avoid paying any money. That puts Winslow in the low-risk category, at least until the season.
  • Adam Snyder, Arizona Cardinals: Arizona didn't really make any high-profile additions this offseason. Deals for veteran guards generally don't make waves. But ignoring the Cardinals wasn't an option, either. So, here goes. The $5 million bonus Arizona paid to Snyder identifies him as a starter for the 2012 season. It identifies him as a projected starter for the future. But with 2013-and-beyond salaries at less than $3 million annually, Snyder's deal is not a cap killer.
Note: My usual Tuesday conversations with 101ESPN St. Louis' Bernie Miklasz will continue as we get closer to football season. In the meantime, follow Bernie's work through stltoday.com and on Twitter.

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