The real story on the Delhomme deal

2398.jpgAs it turns out, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson shouldn’t send Browns owner Randy Lerner a ham.

But Richardson also shouldn’t send G.M. Marty Hurney a dead fish.

When we saw last night that the Browns had signed quarterback Jake Delhomme to a contract that will pay him $7 million in 2010, we assumed that Hurney had protected the franchise for which he works by ensuring that an offset would apply as to any money Delhomme earns elsewhere this year.  When we thereafter saw that Delhomme possibly gets to double dip, earning nearly $20 million in 2010, we assumed that Hurney had committed an apparent blunder even more egregious than, say, understanding that a cap hit still applies to players cut before the start of the uncapped year.

Annnnnnd that’s why they’re called assumptions.

We’ve spoken with Delhomme’s agent, Rick Smith.  (It was what other media types would call an “exclusive” interview, but only because Smith was talking “exclusively” to us at that specific time.)  And Smith explained to us in detail the realities of the deal.

Smith said that Delhomme’s 2009 contract extension included $12.7 million in guaranteed money due and payable in future years as an alternative to a large signing bonus earned at the time the deal was finalized.  The Panthers were facing serious cap issues last year, given that the franchise tag applied to defensive end Julius Peppers and long-term deal paid to tackle Jordan Gross as the Panthers faced the possibility of letting Peppers or Gross hit the open market due to the availability of only one franchise tag.

So the present and future guarantees of $12.7 million were part of a $19 million signing bonus on a five-year deal — numbers that aren’t all that out of line given the overall quarterback market.  Smith worked with the Panthers to structure the deal in a manner that gave the team maximum cap space in 2009, and that ensured Delhomme would definitely get the money, in the same way he would have definitely gotten the money if he had received a $19 million signing bonus in 2009 with payments deferred into future years.

The concept is simple.  With teams using exotic structures to save cap space, the players should not have been penalized for cooperating. 

Thus, the contract was negotiated to simulate a $19 million signing bonus.  Hurney and Smith intentionally placed the guarantees into future years, and they intentionally added and omitted terms aimed at ensuring that the money will be paid.  For example, the contract fully guaranteed the future payments for injury, skill, and cap, unlike the Julius Peppers deal.  And the contract did not include a term allowing the Panthers to derive an offset based on the money he makes elsewhere in 2010 or beyond.

So that’s the story.  And it’s honorable, in our view, for Smith to take the high road by publicly defending Hurney’s role in the process.  Though the Panthers fairly can be criticized for giving Delhomme what amounted to a $19 million signing bonus on a five-year deal only weeks after he coughed up six turnovers in a playoff game the Panthers were supposed to win, the $12.7 million that Delhomme will make from the Panthers in 2010 is money that, but for cap issues in Carolina, Delhomme would have earned upon signing the deal in 2009.

It wasn’t, then, about Smith snookering the Panthers or Hurney blowing $12.7 million of his employer’s money.  It was an arm’s-length transaction from which both sides derived a benefit.  The Panthers got theirs in 2009, and Delhomme is getting his in 2010.

35 responses to “The real story on the Delhomme deal

  1. I’ll be the first person to admit I like this site and stop on multiple times daily. That being said, I’ve never been so turned off by self righteousness than I am from Florio. He pats himself on the back more than any personailty on tv, radio, or online. Florio is a tool.

  2. ‘It was what other media types would call an “exclusive” interview’ … but we won’t call it that. Ew, we won’t do that atall. Perish the thought.

  3. So now can he also take his base salary for 2010 as termination pay if he hasn’t done it before? That will add a few more dollars to what he is getting.

  4. None of this excuses his horrid play and why the Panthers gave him that kind of money.

  5. An awful lot of money for a washed up bum. I don’t know how much longer I can support the Browns. If they draft a QB with the 1st rounder I’m done.

  6. A great move by Holmgren and the Browns. If they’re worried about QB, this is a step in the right direction. Bring in Delhomme now, and either get Clausen in round one or wait and snag LeFevour or Pike in 2. This move paves the way for one of those two picks used for the future of that position.
    Don’t think they’re getting much in offers for Quinn, because they flubbed up a bit and already stated he’s not in the future plans of the organization. All interested teams will wait until his outright release, which may be forced soon.

  7. Perhaps if they’d managed their cap better, they wouldn’t have had to renegotiate a $19M signing bonus/prorated guarantees to a guy who was showing clear signs of decline in performance with advancing age.
    So while Hurney might not look like quite the idiot for the structure of the deal, it doesn’t change the fact that he mismanaged the team’s cap to the point he had to dole out that kind of money in the first place.

  8. Now I know why Delhomme cried at the news conference announcing his release from the Panthers.
    He knew he was headed to Cleveland.

  9. How this guy is cleaning up is beyond me. I don’t even pretend to understand how the Browns are paying this washed up loser a cent.

  10. Florio, could you please provide more background on this?
    It sounds like this is not a simple “breach of contract, remedy for breach” situation.
    Does Delhomme get the money because the Panthers breached, and those are his expectation damages? OK, but if that were the case, how could he double-dip? Double-dipping would put him in a better situation than he would be with the contract.
    Why can’t the Panthers offset? Why did there need to be a special provision in the contract? I thought there would typically be an offset rule for a contract, without a special provision.

  11. Jake “Give & Take” Delhomme should back up Ben Forceitberger with the Browns. Make the trade Cleveland. Browns vs. Steelers, an epic set of match-ups for 2010.

  12. Just a well balance an informative story without the emotional stimulation.
    You have done a very good with this Mike or perhaps Rick Smith’s calm tone was an influence.
    This is the type of story that attracts the audience to this site. The extra look at things is what differentiates you from the rest of the market.
    People can hear the emotional crap on sports talk radio and their web sites.
    Continue to keep it in mind.
    Even though you are a hated lawyer and are accustomed to everyone being angry with you, a deserved a word of encouragement is in order.

  13. I pray Holmgren knows what he is doing. Then again, after watching DA and BQ command that 32nd rank offense year after year, Paul McDonald may be a good option right now.

  14. Chuck Norris once commented, “There are few problems in this world that cannot be solved by a swift roundhouse kick to the face. In fact, there are none.”

  15. All you know-nothings who have nothing better to do than sit around trying to think of new ways to insult Florio are really a hoot. He gets on my nerves too, but silly me, I still make several visits a day (even during the off-season, no less).
    I’m sure he’s insulted all the way to the bank.

  16. HEY “pft nation” as flo calls it…let us get on our knees and thank the Lord above…for if not for florio thinking eeerrrrrrr telling us he can explain things so even us pee-ons can understand, we would be a wondering mass os fools

  17. How is Delhomme and Wallace a upgrade from Quinn/Andrerson?
    Looonnnggg days are ahead in Cleveland.

  18. Holmgren is getting Delhomme for a true leader on the Browns.. They have no true leader and Jake is a stand up guy who never makes excuses and plays with a lot of heart.. He’s had a year and a half of bad play, but I think he’ll bounce back.. Good luck Jake, I hope you don’t get booed out of town by classless Browns fans

  19. If Hurney had spent $12.7 of my dollars on a deal like this, he would be fired regardless of how it’s structured.

  20. God help the Cle Brownies….Your newest “head of state” is too busy making dinner reservations than finding a new QB….wtf…those 2 guys…
    You need a complete overhaul…new name..new colors..a LOGO…something… cause it AIN’T working… and neither of those 2 bums will ever get you anymore than a possible 500 club..

  21. Just a another reminder that no matter how right you think you are in the media (YEAH YOU FLORIO) you arent and never will be a capable GM in the NFL.
    Too bad the Washington Times gigged everybody in their “Sports” section or he might have had somewhere to go where he belongs.
    Reminder to all you sportswriters… You write about sports, that really doesn’t qualify you for uh… anything but …. writing about sports.
    Columns, not contracts. LMFAO

  22. I can’t believe the negativity to this story. That was good journalism. If you want demoralizing gossip go to sportsbybrooks. If you want quality material, which I am sure over 60% of people in the NFL read, then stay here and enjoy.

  23. you love to “hear” yourself talk don’t you?
    You could have summed that up in 2 sentences –
    Although it appeared the Panthers looked like idiots, it was written in the contract that he would receive the money anyway due to cap pressures in 09.
    My bad, one.

  24. Its sad to see that you needed an interview for what logic would of told you before…
    OOOh wait you needed articles to fill space so it was just easier to knock the Panthers blindly…

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