During the latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun stated that Adam Fox and the New York Rangers have had very preliminary talks on the star defender’s next contract.
ICYMI on Insider Trading, NYR and Fox have had very preliminary discussions, "nothing serious in nature", on his next contract. Fox's camp is looking for a deal that starts with a 9. pic.twitter.com/eoKxHvEijI— Tom Urtz Booooonior (@TomUrtzJr) October 20, 2021
The biggest news from this report, which describes a conversation that wasn’t very serious in nature, is that Fox’s camp’s number starts in the $9 million range, and not higher. Over the last year there’s been a number of mega deals signed by defenders, and here’s just a few in order of most recently signed via Cap Friendly.
- Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins — $9.5 million x 8 years
- Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers — $9.25 million x 8 years
- Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets — $9.583 million x 6 years
- Dougie Hamilton, New Jersey Devils — $9 million x 7 years
- Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche — $9 million x 6 years
- Seth Jones, Chicago Blackhawks — $9.5 million x 8 years
- Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars — $8.45 million x 8 years
Makar is a defender who on aggregate is slightly ahead of Fox, but him signing for just six years, allowing himself to sign another big deal that could take him to the end of his career, means that Fox is in line to get more now. Fox also just won the Norris, and that should bump his rate up to $10 million based on recent deals signed. That doesn’t even factor in potential performance from 2021-22 which could push his rate even higher. But it is worth mentioning that Fox forced his way to New York, and this is where he wants to be.
This doesn’t mean he’s going to work for much less than he’s worth though. Truth be told, if he really wanted to set a new bench mark for defender contracts, he could easily push for a short deal to use as a launching pad for a mega extension. Fox will be 24 at the start of next season, and an eight-year deal would cover through his age 31 season. His contract likely will be structured like Artemiy Panarin’s, which means getting paid the bulk in signing bonuses upfront. This is an advantage the Rangers have vs. other teams in the league, and one they have used quite often.
Assuming that he continues to be an elite player who ages gracefully, that would put him in a position where he could sign a five-year deal upon completion, and at that point sign short deals until he wants to retire. This is thinking way beyond into the future, but the fact remains that financially it is better for the team to go long now, short later as opposed to the opposite. That gives them flexibility in the event things go south, while keeping him around during the team’s prime contention window.
The Rangers certainly have options, but this should be one of the easier contract negotiations in recent memory based on his age, production, potential, and the team’s financial situation.