The Detroit Lions reportedly came to terms with Pittsburgh Steelers unrestricted tight end Jesse James on Monday and he’s expected to sign that contract at the start of the new league year. On Tuesday, the financials related to James’ deal were reported on Twitter by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network and it shows that the former fifth-round draft pick out of Penn State cashed in nicely.
According to Rapoport, James will sign a four-year contract with the Lions worth $25 million with $11 million of that being fully guaranteed. That averages out to be $6.25 million per season, which is slightly more than a few other tight ends reportedly recently re-signed for in Nick Boyle and C.J. Uzomah.
The Steelers loss of James as an unrestricted free agent to the Lions now gives the team their first compensatory draft pick value of the 2019 offseason. According to Nick Korte, who handles compensatory draft pick speculation for Over the Cap, the contract that James signed should result in a fifth-round compensatory pick value for the Steelers.
The Steelers aren’t likely done losing unrestricted free agents this offseason as running back Le’Veon Bell should be signing a very lucrative contract with another team very soon. Obviously, Bell’s new deal figures to make him the highest-paid running back in the NFL, or at least very close to it. If that happens, the Steelers will likely receive a third-round compensatory draft pick value for the loss of Bell as compensation.
The Steelers have yet to come to terms with any outside unrestricted free agents thus far. When and if they do, it will be interesting to see the contracts related to those deals to see how much they offset what the Steelers have as positives on the compensatory draft value balance sheet.
While Steelers didn’t receive any compensatory selections this offseason for the 2019 NFL Draft, it does seem as though they are now on course to get something awarded to them next offseason for the 2020 NFL Draft. We will continue to track the Steelers free agent gains and losses for you throughout the remainder of the signing period.