Drew Brees signed a record-setting contract extension for $20M per year over five years. That's about what the numbers suggested for a QB averaging 150 EPA per season. The analysis said $18M should be the going rate for Brees at his peak, which is what $20M per year translates to after discounting over five years. That assumes Brees won't decline over that time, which is a risky assumption for a 33 year old QB. In reality, the final year or two of the contract may not be honored, so overall I have to endorse the deal. The Saints absolutely needed Brees on board as the weather a tough 2012 season in the shadow of the bounty scandal.
Ray Rice signed for five years and $40M, $24M of which is guaranteed. I still believe that RBs are paid about double what they should be relative to their impact on game outcomes, but this deal was right at the going rate for RBs. RBs who reliably average 2,000 total yards per season command about $9M per season in 2011 cap dollars. Rice is only 25 and will be in his prime for at least a couple more seasons. In terms of absolute value I can't endorse any top RB contract, but in terms of the market this is a fair deal for both Rice and Baltimore.