As a sleepless MDS pointed out in the wee hours of the morning (I should send him a copy of Quarterback of the Future, which will cure his insomnia far more quickly than monitoring the Raiders’ official website for announcements), the first top-ten pick of the 2010 draft class has agreed to terms.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports from his Partridge Family training camp tour bus, which Jay Glazer has yet to deface, that Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain, the eighth overall selection in the draft, will receive $23 million guaranteed on a five-year, $40 million deal.
That’s $8 million per year for a middle linebacker who has never participated in an official NFL practice. Paid at a time when many teams are refusing to pay that kind of money to proven players.
As to the $23 million guaranteed, we’ll believe it’s guaranteed when we see that it’s guaranteed. All too often of late, reports have emerged of huge guaranteed amounts (e.g., Brandon Marshall, D’Brickashaw Ferguson) that ended up being one-year deals with team options for the rest.
That said, when it comes to top-ten rookie deals, the guaranteed amounts that are reported in the media usually are accurate. And, if the report regarding McClain isn’t accurate, don’t be surprised if the Raiders eventually put the word out that the numbers are wrong, as they once tried to do after signing receiver Javon Walker. (As it turns out, the Raiders’ effort to point out the erroneous nature of the reports on Walker’s deal ended up being, well, erroneous.)
The McClain deal as reported contains $4 million more in guaranteed money than the No. 8 pick in 2009, Jaguars tackle Eugene Monroe, received. Per NFLPA records (as communicated to us by two separate sources), McClain received $19 million in guaranteed money.
Still, the devil on these deals dwells deeply in the details. For example, the one-time incentive bonus based on minimum playing time often isn’t truly guaranteed, and if the guy for whatever reason doesn’t meet the threshold (35 percent in the first year, 45 percent thereafter), he doesn’t get the money. Tight end Kellen Winslow, for example, never received one-timer money that typically is included in the calculation of guaranteed cash.
In this case, it’s possible that Monroe’s guarantee as reported didn’t include the one-timer, and that McClain’s does. We’re in the process of tracking down those details, and we’ll sift through them for you, if our adult ADD doesn’t kick in first.
[Editor's note: A prior version of this article reflected guaranteed money for Monroe of $25 million, based on multiple reports published at the time the deal was done. This dynamic further illustrates the often inaccurate or incomplete information that is disseminated when first-round contracts are signed. The agents have a strong incentive to overstate the value of the deals, since they believe this will help them in recruiting future clients.]