Richard Seymour has re-signed to stay with the Oakland Raiders for the next two seasons. It was previously bandied about that he might get the franchise tag slapped on him while the team attempted to work out long term deals with other players set to become free agents. But in the end it was Seymour who got a deal done, and it was a big one.
The Seymour deal is a reported $15 million per season which means he becomes the highest paid defender in the NFL, according to Jim Trotter at SI.com. The deal eclipses the $14 million deal Julius Peppers signed when he joined the Chicago Bears last offseason, and includes $22.5 million in guaranteed money.
Seymour joined the Raiders just prior to the 2009 season after a last minute trade brought him over from the Patriots. The Raiders will not have a first round draft pick in the upcoming draft as the price for acquiring the Pro Bowl defensive lineman. The Raiders are pleased with the trade in part because Seymour returned to the Pro Bowl this season after the Raiders switched him from 3-4 defensive end to 3 technique defensive tackle in their 4-3. His play helped the Raiders sustain a playoff run late into the season and finish at 8-8 — their best record since 2002.
If the Raiders had given up a 2010 first round pick, it would have been the seventh overall. With the improved record, that pick dropped ten places to 17.
Seymour’s line mate Tommy Kelly was once the highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL when the Raiders locked him up long term. Signing big contracts to keep free agents in Oakland has become commonplace of late.
Nnamdi Asomugha got the richest deal by any defender ever when he signed a three year $45 million deal. He would have made over $16 million this season if his deal hadn’t voided itself. Punter Shane Lechler and kicker Sebastian Janikowski were both given the richest deals ever at their respective positions when they came up for free agency last offseason.
This is a message Al Davis wants to send to free agents: if you want to be rewarded for your play on the field, come to the Raiders.
The new deal with Seymour allows the team to apply the franchise tag to another free agent player. Zach Miller and Michael Bush are two of the more important players to re-sign and it would appear that Miller is the one most likely to get tagged. Everyone seemed to think Seymour would get tagged too, so it is hard to say for sure.