So the fact that Broncos linebacker Elvis Dumervil suffered a likely season-ending torn pectoral muscle not long after inking a six-year deal that guarantees him $43 million means that he’ll get the $43 million, right?
A league source points out to us that, even though Dumervil’s contract is fully guaranteed against injury, there’s a potential scenario in which Dumervil simply won’t get the bulk of the money.
Players receive money that’s guaranteed for injury only if they can’t pass a physical. Many players have serious injuries, the injuries heal, they pass a physical, and then at some point they injure the area again. (See, e.g., Atari Bigby.)
So, as the source explains it, the Broncos could determine in the future that Dumervil is healthy — and then the Broncos could cut him before the first day of the next league year, when $14 million of his base salary for 2011 and another $14 million of his base salary for 2012 become guaranteed for skill.
We’re not saying that the Broncos will dump Dumervil before the first day of the next league year. We’re saying that they can, if they so choose.
And while such a move would allow Dumervil to hit the open market, who will give him $28 million guaranteed for injury and skill given that he missed all of 2010 with an injury?
That’s why there’s only one truly guaranteed form of guaranteed money. A signing bonus. It’s why guys like Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis aren’t interested in $100 million in non-guaranteed base salaries, and why they want to maximize the signing bonus they receive. That way, if Revis tears an ACL or rips a pec or breaks a leg, the bulk of the money will be guaranteed because the money already will be in his bank account.