Rob Brzezinski has been working salary cap magic for the Minnesota Vikings for a very long time. How long? Brzezinski has been on the job so long that I can totally spell his name without having to conduct a badly misspelled Google search.
(That’s a long time.)
Vikings’ fans know what sort of salary cap magician Brzezinski has been over the years, but now he’s getting some recognition for it from a league-wide source. In an article for CBS Sports, former NFL agent Joel Corry identified the five teams that he thought were the best in the NFL in managing the salary cap and handling player contracts. Not surprisingly, the Vikings were on that list.
The primary example that Corry cites is the way the Vikings handled the contract of defensive end Danielle Hunter, in contrast to the way that the Seattle Seahawks handled the contract of Frank Clark.
One contract where Brzezinski is getting tremendous value is Danielle Hunter’s. He signed a five-year, $72 million extension with $40.007 million of guarantees last offseason. Hunter would have been facing a 2019 franchise tag for $17.128 million by merely duplicating his 2017 performance, which he easily exceeded in 2018. He tied for fourth in the NFL with 14.5 sacks. Since Hunter had a career year while playing out his contract, he would have been in a position to leverage the franchise tag into a long-term deal averaging in excess of $20 million per year like Frank Clark did. Clark signed a five-year, $104 million contract with $62.305 million in guarantees where $43.805 million was fully guaranteed at signing in connection with his pre-draft trade from the Seahawks to the Chiefs.
Sure, the Seahawks managed to get a first-round pick from the Chiefs in exchange for Clark, but honestly. . .who would you rather have? A first-round pick that may or may not work out, or Danielle Hunter, a 24-year old monster who is already on the short list of the best young edge defenders in the NFL? (If you’re scoring at home, “the first round pick” is the wrong answer here.)
With all the intricacies of the salary cap and how it can hinder building an NFL roster, having a guy like Rob Brzezinski running things is absolutely invaluable. I’m glad he’s on our side, folks.