The contract: Porter agreed to a two-year contract with a base contract value of $6 million.
The player: Tracy Porter, who will turn 28 prior to the season, has played on two consecutive one year contracts since leaving New Orleans as a free agent after the 2011 season. The Redskins will be the first defense he plays for without ties to the guys who drafted him in New Orleans. His position coach the first three years of his career was Dennis Allen, now the Raiders head coach. As a free agent in 2012, he signed with the Broncos, whose defensive staff was populated by Dennis Allen hires, as Allen was the defensive coordinator in Denver in 2011. Last year, he played for Allen with the Raiders.
Porter was Oakland's best cornerback a year ago. He played outside in base defense personnel packages, and as a slot corner in the team's nickel packages, Porter was frequently used in run fits and to rush the passer. In doing so at a level better than any of Oakland's defensive backs, Porter showed his versatility.
As a coverage player, he had a largely inconsistent season. He was roasted by T.Y. Hilton in Week 1 against the Colts, but settled in as a quality cover man learning to handle the slot for the first time until a really terrible game against the Jets in Week 14. The Raiders struggled to rush the passer most of the season, and Porter was oftentimes a step slow in coverage. He was considerably better for the Raiders last season than his teammates D.J. Hayden and Mike Jenkins were.
Tracy Porter has never been anyone's idea of a shutdown corner, but he displays plus route recognition, is a willing tackler, shows some short area quickness, and is generally a high awareness player with good hands. He is overmatched against bigger, more physical players, and the slot is a really good role for him.
The analysis: Ideally, the starting CB job gets won in camp by 22 year old David Amerson, a better size/speed/smarts specimen than Porter, who can play slot corner exclusively if DeAngelo Hall and Amerson are healthy.
Unlike the Hatcher deal, the Redskins are paying for Porter's age 28 and 29 seasons, which is generally a much better idea than grabbing a guy's age 32-34 seasons.
2/$6 for a nickel corner is a very reasonable price tag, and there's a lot of surplus value potential on this contract. It's something the Redskins don't get enough of when they do free agent deals. In a much tougher market for the players three years ago, the Redskins gave Josh Wilson 3 years and $14 million dollars. Porter is a very similar player to Wilson. He just comes with lower stock at the moment than Wilson had. The Redskins are likely to receive $4-5 million per year in performance from a contract where they are only paying $3 million a year with incentives.
This is a very team friendly deal given the cornerback market. The Redskins safety issue may be unsolved at the moment, but they spent a total of $23 million over 6 years for DeAngelo Hall and Tracy Porter this offseason, an average annual value of under $4 million, and less than $10 million in first year money. You can argue with the quality of the corners they invested in, but it's hard to argue against the value they got on the market.