It wasn't a surprise, but it certainly is raising some eyebrows. Santana Moss will sign a new deal with the Redskins today and he will collect #1 receiver type money, not bad for a player who caught passes for less than 900 yards last year. According to Redskins, the Washington Post: Moss's six-year deal totals about $31 million, sources said, with the first two seasons worth virtual guarantees of $11 million, including the signing bonus. The contract automatically voids the sixth year if Moss, 25, plays a minimum number of offensive snaps in any season between 2006 and 2010. Thus, sources said that the extension essentially is a five-year deal worth about $26 million.
It's safe to assume that the "virtual guarantees" are a combination of a signing bonus and a 2006 roster bonus. Until the split on that is determined, it will be impossible to calculate the cap impact of the contract.
The size of the deal was not a surprise. It was widely reported that the Redskins had reached terms with Moss even before they acquired him from the Jets in return for Laveranues Coles and the numbers in the contract have been an open secret for several weeks. The only puzzling aspect is why it took so long to get it finalized. It was thought that they were waiting to jettison Rod Gardner and his $2.1 million cap charge before inking Moss, but the Redskins have been sitting at about $2 million under the cap for the past month.
The move means that every anticipated 2005 starter on both sides of the ball will be under contract through at least 2006.
Is this too much money? Did the Redskins overpay? If these questions are to be answered in the negative, two things must happen. First, Moss must stay healthy. That's true of any player you sign to a premium deal, but in Moss' case it's a bigger "if" since he has a history of injuries, including a pulled hamstring that cost him some games last year.
The other variable is the state of Joe Gibbs' offense. The passing game was largely horizontal last year. Moss is effective in a vertical game. It appears that last year's offense was more a product of circumstances--Mark Brunell's weak arm, Patrick Ramsey's low comfort level in the offense and a weak offensive line--than of design. Gibbs has said repeatedly that he wants to throw deep more often and more effectively this coming season.