The Pittsburgh Steelers gave linebacker James Farrior a five-year, $18.25 million contract extension today, with $5 million guaranteed. Here is a link to the ESPN.com story.
I mention this not because I have any special affinity for Farrior or the Steelers -- and I know most of you are disgusted by the Steelers -- but because Farrior was one of the linebackers who was going to be a free agent this summer -- along with Leroy Hill.
So not only does this take one more linebacker off the table in free agency, thus making Hill inherently more valuable, it also gives you at least some parameters for what Hill should earn.
You figure Lofa got a $42 million contract extension over six years, an average of $7 million a year. Farrior got an average of about $3.5 million a year, half of what Lofa got. Given that Hill is much younger than Farrior and with much more upside, you figure he has to be seeking close to $5 million or $6 million a year.
These figures are not exact because the story says Farrior is only supposed to play for three more years, and guaranteed money obviously plays a factor in all this, but it is at least a starting place.