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Bears can pull the plug on Peppers after one year

We mentioned earlier tonight some of the details relating to the Julius Peppers deal.  We’ve picked up some more information about the contract, and it’s now clear that if the Bears clean house after the 2010 season, it’ll be easier for the new regime to bid Peppers adieu.

As Peter King of SI.com pointed out this afternoon, Peppers gets $20 million in 2010 (all but a $100,000 workout bonus is guaranteed).  But the $22 million in guaranteed money that he’s due to receive in 2011 and 2012 is guaranteed for injury only.

This means that the Bears can decide after the 2010 season to cut Peppers for skill reasons — and they’ll owe him nothing.

Specifically, Peppers’ 2011 base salary of $900,000 is guaranteed for injury at the time it’s signed; on February 10, 2011, it becomes guaranteed for skill.  Also, a $10.5 million roster bonus due in 2011 is guaranteed for injury at signing.  On February 10, 2011, it becomes guaranteed for skill. 

An $8.9 million base salary in 2012 is guaranteed for injury at signing and then for skill as of February 10, 2012. 

Finally, $1.8 million of Peppers’ 2013 base salary is guaranteed for injury only.

So, basically, if the Bears decide before February 10, 2011 that Peppers isn’t what they thought he’d be, they can treat it as a one-year, $20 million deal, and walk away.

Also, by our calculations the actual guarantee is $42.0 million, which comes from a $6.5 million signing bonus, a $12.5 million roster bonus in 2010, a $900,000 guaranteed base salary in 2010, a $10.5 million guaranteed roster bonus in 2011, a $900,000 guaranteed base salary in 2011, a guaranteed base salary of $8.9 million in 2012, and a $1.8 million base salary guarantee in 2013.

Still, only $19.9 million of the money is guaranteed for skill.  If the new coach and G.M. decide that Peppers doesn’t have enough of it to justify the remaining money, Peppers could be out of more than $22 million that supposedly is destined to land in his bank account.

And there’s also a chance that Peppers could be in trouble even if the current regime survives.  If the Bears get to the postseason without much of a contribution from Peppers, coach Lovie Smith and G.M. Jerry Angelo likely will be back.  But maybe they’ll decide to cut their losses on Peppers.

If nothing else, Peppers still has a reason to try to play hard, and the Bears did a great job of structuring the deal to allow themselves the opportunity to declare that the move was a mistake — and to avoid more than $22 million in guaranteed compensation.

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29 Responses to “Bears can pull the plug on Peppers after one year”
  1. JaggedMark says: Mar 8, 2010 11:14 PM

    That’s all very interesting if you believe that, which I don’t.
    There has to be “some” misinformation there.
    It wouldn’t be King’s first mistake.

  2. SmackMyVickUp.com says: Mar 8, 2010 11:21 PM

    Did Angelo finally manage to do something right?

  3. mzezulak says: Mar 8, 2010 11:27 PM

    Not to worry after facing the rival NFC North Turnstile OT’s and posting team record sacks Da Bears will gladly keep Peppers

  4. bugslayer says: Mar 8, 2010 11:28 PM

    waiting to hear from all the “how big a joke is the Bears” people who have been spouting crap for 3 days about how bad of a deal it is…..but yet when the facts come out it seems they didn’t know squat to begin with. Nice job, now see if you can get the crap back in the horse so you guys don’t look like complete dolts

  5. mzezulak says: Mar 8, 2010 11:32 PM

    Hmmm. Could this be an exceptionally shrewd move by the Bears? Hypothetically they could use Peppers for a Super Bowl run and cut him in the event of a lockout thus avoiding his 2011 guarenteed salary

  6. SonOfNOLA says: Mar 8, 2010 11:34 PM

    What was the point of signing him then??…Well, he’ll be in New Orleans in 2011 if Chicago fails to make the postseason again.

  7. sullijo says: Mar 8, 2010 11:43 PM

    I bet they wish they had this clause in the Cutler deal.

  8. Opie says: Mar 8, 2010 11:49 PM

    @ Florio says: “Still, only $19.9 million of the money is guaranteed for skill. If the new coach and G.M. decide that Peppers doesn’t have enough of it to justify the remaining money, Peppers could be out of more than $22 million that supposedly is destined to land in his bank account.”
    So, he’ll make $20M for one season……..did you just use “still” and “only” in the same sentence as $20,000,000?!?

  9. JP says: Mar 8, 2010 11:59 PM

    Wow. Very interesting. Maybe the Bears didn’t “waste” as much money in this deal as some of the pundits would say.

  10. J.Cannon says: Mar 9, 2010 12:04 AM

    Smart move by the Bear’s. Maybe this will force Peppers to play hard… maybe.

  11. snnyjcbs says: Mar 9, 2010 12:25 AM

    Yes. sounds like a great deal. If he does not pan out after one year he only cost the club 20,000,000 for the one year of play. Under those conditions I would say the Bears got by on the cheap lol.

  12. evilmajortom says: Mar 9, 2010 12:30 AM

    So let me get this straight. A guy who many criticized for being “lazy” or “disinterested in playing football” got a front loaded deal; and this is supposed to be a good thing for the Bears?

  13. djruetune says: Mar 9, 2010 1:29 AM

    Good call Chicago. As a Skins fan, I admire that approach. If only Albert Butterworth had such a deal.

  14. TheGoldsmith says: Mar 9, 2010 1:33 AM

    While I do agree this is a good deal for the Bears, this could be viewed as a good deal for Peppers as well. If Peppers were cut for performance related reasons it would be likely several other NFL teams would be waiting to open their check books again to take a crack at a perennially premiere pass rusher in their system (Patriots, Eagles). With back to back years entering the free agency market a player can cash out on guaranteed money up front increasing in value each off-season. Gibril Wilson and his agent Alvin Keels, of the Andre Smith debacle hosed both Oakland and Miami for $24 million of under performance, precedent for a player to cash in twice. With a new CBA likely in place before the signing of another contract by Peppers if he were dropped, he would once again be a premiere free agent and receive a max deal barring any off-the-field incidents.

  15. AbeFreshly says: Mar 9, 2010 2:12 AM

    Wow! I don’t believe that. Translation: “We don’t really trust you to play hard enough to earn the back end of this contract, sooo..sign here to verify that you understand this: We are telling you, our fans, your fans, & PFT (who will, in turn, tell everyone else) that we suspect you might pull a ‘JaMarcus’ on us, & we don’t have to pay you if you do. Please sign here in front of all the aforementioned witnesses (courtesy of PFT) if you agree”

  16. Adam says: Mar 9, 2010 2:33 AM

    So this year is still sort of a contract year for him, giving incentive to play hard? Wacky.

  17. AcidSoda says: Mar 9, 2010 2:37 AM

    If only such deals could be made for first round draft selections.

  18. afiresnake says: Mar 9, 2010 4:48 AM

    Was put in for the new CBA. If the salary cap comes back, this gives them at least a tiny bit of leverage to renegotiate the deal after 2010

  19. useyourfeet says: Mar 9, 2010 5:51 AM

    EVERY year EVERY player is injured. That is the NFL. I see a lawsuit on the horizon.

  20. Florio-is-a-tool says: Mar 9, 2010 7:32 AM

    That’s incredible and barely believable. Of course I mean the part about Peter King actually providing any real information. Did he do it so he can ram “coffee flavored water” across SI until the draft?

  21. FireJerryJones says: Mar 9, 2010 7:45 AM

    Pretty much guarantees a soft tissue injury in late December… so he’ll be guaranteed his 2011 contract.

  22. Ditka0185 says: Mar 9, 2010 7:59 AM

    @ sullijo
    As usual someone needs to slam cutler whenever talking about the bears.
    You’re a G damn retard. If you think the bears would have cut cutler after a year, then you are even stupider then you sound. Too bad profootballtalk couldn’t cut you after a year.

  23. Eric Q says: Mar 9, 2010 8:01 AM

    It would be poetic justice if Pep underperforms and is out on his ass in 2011.

  24. JoeyJoeJoeJr.Shabadoooo says: Mar 9, 2010 8:39 AM

    oh great. we get to hear speculation where he will be next year then too already?

  25. bugslayer says: Mar 9, 2010 8:39 AM

    It’s a great deal for both the team and the player…20 Million is a big chunk for one year, but then it doesn’t count against any future salary cap. The contract insures Pepper plays hard for at least the first 3 years of the contract or he’s gone and the “takes plays off” tag will be even larger (which Coach Fox said was untrue). For the Bears it keeps thier liability lower and doesn’t stick them long term if he doesn’t work out. THIS is exactly what contracts for over 30 players should look like.

  26. The Troof says: Mar 9, 2010 9:37 AM

    Interesting….
    So on January 10, 2011 Lovie, Martz, Martinelli, Angelo, Phillips ANNDDDDD Julius Peppers will be unemployed.
    Sweet!

  27. FireJerryJones says: Mar 9, 2010 9:43 AM

    If they don’t like him… they can…
    …Pull the Plug on Pickled Peppers

  28. paul says: Mar 9, 2010 11:13 AM

    That’s actually not bad because this guy has a history of showing up when he feels like it.

  29. rchyrch187 says: Mar 17, 2010 9:47 PM

    Way to go Cliff Stein, Now that is earning your money… For those of you that don’t know Cliff Stein, is the Chicago Bears contract Negociator. So this falls under the brillance of Cliff Stein not Jerry Angelo!!! Who should be fired by the way, he has not had a solid first round pick in 8 years, well I will give him Tommie Harris but that’s it.

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