Two years ago today, Danielle Hunter inked a five-year deal worth $72MM. It was a serious pay bump for the former third-round pick, who was still a few months away from his 24th birthday. The add-on gave him ample security – a $15MM signing bonus, $40MM in overall guarantees, and favorable cashflow with $48MM over the first three years. Still, the deal proved to be a win for the Vikings.
The Vikings didn’t want to let Hunter get anywhere near the open market. In his first three pro seasons, Hunter registered 25.5 sacks, more than any other player who entered the league in 2015. He waited a while to hear his name called on draft weekend, but he outperformed Vic Beasley, Leonard Williams, and other notable edge rushers in that class by a longshot. Also, Hunter and teammate Everson Griffen combined for 57 combined sacks from 2015-17, the second most of any duo in the NFL in that span.
In 2017, just prior to the extension, Hunter graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 29 ranked edge defender in the NFL. Last year, Hunter finished seventh in the category, ahead of Cameron Jordan, Myles Garrett, Demarcus Lawrence, and a host of other big names. He’s notched 14.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons, bringing his career tally to 54.5.
Meanwhile, his $14.4MM average annual value ranks 18th among edge rushers, according to Over The Cap. The Vikings have four more years of control over Hunter and, at this time, he stands as one of the league’s best veteran values.
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