The 5: The best bargains for Phoenix sports teams
Black Friday is about bargain hunting.
Can we help you find the best deals? Not at all.
But maybe you can find some deal-finding tactics in how the Valley’s sports teams have brought in talent. Through trades and more often the draft, the Cardinals, Suns, D-backs and Coyotes have excelled at finding productive players without spending money.
This Black Friday, take advice from them. Here are the best bargain contracts for the Phoenix area sports teams.
David Johnson: $708,843
The second-year Cardinals running back is 137 yards shy of eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark as a rusher with six games left. He’s added 510 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns this year. And Arizona’s 2014 third-round pick is hardly denting the franchise’s pocketbooks on a $708,843 cap hit for 2016 with a $525,000 base salary. Including bonuses, that’s just ahead of cornerback Marcus Cooper’s $675,000 and behind backup running back Stepfan Taylor’s $725,125 deal. The closest average base salary on the roster? Long snapper Aaron Brewer’s contract that matches recently-cut linebacker Joplo Bartu’s at $555,882.
Devin Booker: $2,223,600
With the 10th-most expensive contract on the team, the Suns’ Devin Booker has two more years on his deal that will gradually increase from $2,223,600 this season. Phoenix’s young star, the 2015 draft’s 13th-overall pick, is averaging 20 points per game but makes less than 2016 first-round picks Dragan Bender ($4.3 million) and Marquese Chriss ($2.9 million). Not far behind Booker and just shy of making this list is T.J. Warren, who is earning $2.1 million this year. After them? John Jenkins’ nonguaranteed deal worth $1.1 million.
Paul Goldschmidt: $5,850,000
It was second baseman Jean Segura on a $2,600,000 contract who actually finished with a better Wins Above Replacement score than America’s First Baseman last season. He bested Goldschmidt in batting average (.319 to .297) and slugging (.499 to .489) — and recorded more doubles (41 to 33) and triples (7 to 3) while finishing with 203 hits on the season. Some call it a down year for Goldy, but he was still a steal with his production of 95 RBI to Segura’s 64, 110 walks to Segura’s 39, and 172 hits. And if you hadn’t heard, Segura was traded this week.
Max Domi: $863,333
Sixteen Arizona Coyotes on the active roster make more than Domi, but it’s he who leads the team with 13 points this season. While his two goals haven’t exactly been other-worldly through 17 games in 2016-17, the 21-year-old has carried over his rookie year success into this year. The 2013 first-round pick by the Coyotes is not alone in producing on a value of a contract. Wing Jordan Martinook, who is third on the team with 10 points with five goals and five assists this year, is in the consideration as another young bargain player. He’s making $612,500 this season.
Tony Jefferson: $1,671,000
Arizona’s second-leading tackler through 10 games received a tender offer last offseason and took it. It would seem he did right by betting on himself for a big contract next year, but by doing so, he made himself one of the Cardinals’ best bargains for 2016. Jefferson has nine tackles for loss, including a sack, plus two pass deflections, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries this year. The safety’s $1,671,000 deal is the same as that of D.J. Swearinger, who by the way has been earning his own keep in place of the injured Tyvon Branch. Jefferson, who made the team as an undrafted free agent four years ago, makes just less than backup running back Andre Ellington ($1,696,966), and just more than hardly-used rookie defensive end Robert Nkemdiche ($1,563,745).
All salaries via Spotrac.com.