You could argue that center Rodney Hudson is the Raiders best returning player, and has been their best offensive player in recent years. While Hudson’s success helps the team, this also means Oakland will have to open its checkbook if the team wants to re-sign the center.
The Raiders and Hudson are apparently working on a new deal, so clearly both sides are interested in continuing this relationship. The only question that remains is how much?
After spending his first four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, Hudson signed a five-year, $44 million contract with Oakland in 2015. He has more than lived up to that contract, as the center has only allowed two sacks in four years and is considered one of the best at the position. With Hudson’s contract expiring at the end of the season, it’s a smart move by general manager Mike Mayock to start the negotiations early.
According to OverTheCap.com, Hudson is the tenth highest paid center in the league, however that is about to change. This offseason centers: Mitch Morse, Maurkice Pouncey and Matt Paradis all received new contracts. These three players provide a good baseline for what Hudson’s contract might look like. The chart below is a breakdown of their contracts.
|Name||Age||Total Contract Value||Years||Money/Year|
*Pouncey signed an extension to his current contract
While you can argue that because of Hudson’s pedigree, he deserves to be the highest paid center in the NFL, his age might get in the way. Morse enters the 2019 season as the highest paid center and he is 27-years old. When the season kicks off, Hudson will be 30-years old and that will work against him during contract negotiations. Also, Morse has only allowed three sacks in his four-year career and all three of those were in his rookie year. While it’s not out of the question for Hudson to supplant Morse, it might be a bit unrealistic given the latter is younger and equally productive.
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This leaves Pouncey and Paradis as measuring sticks for Hudson’s new contract. While Paradis has been successful, Hudson is still the more accomplished player. The former Bronco and current Panther has never been selected to a Pro Bowl, however the Raiders’ center is a two time Pro Bowler. Paradis has also given up six sacks in his four-year career. Thus, we can expect Hudson’s new contract to eclipse the $9 million per year mark.
In his eight seasons, Pouncey has made the Pro Bowl seven times and has been an All-Pro twice. That is part of the reason why the Steelers rewarded him with a new contract. While Pouncey has the accolades, Hudson actually has better statistics and constantly out grades Pouncey. As mentioned above, in the last four years, Hudson has allowed two sacks. In that same timeframe, Pouncey has allowed six and posted PFF Grades of 69.0, 72.3, 78.1 and 76.1.
For reference Hudson’s last four PFF Grades are 76.5, 75.7, 82.3 and 78.4. The two centers are also the same age, so that leads me to believe that Hudson will receive a similar or even better contract.
Taking all of this into consideration, I’m predicting Hudson’s new contract will be: four years, $44,400,000. That puts the Raiders center right between Morse and Pouncey as the second highest paid center in the NFL. How does this affect the cap? Oakland currently projects to have just over $56 million in cap space for 2020 and the way Hudson’s contract is structured, he carries $4.25 million cap hit for the Raiders regardless if he gets a new contract.
Seeing as a new contract for Hudson would only cost Oakland about $7 million more than they already have to pay him (assuming my projection is correct), Mayock has an easy decision to make…PAY THE MAN!
(All information gathered from OverTheCap.com)