So why did the Raiders dump cornerback Stanford Routt today?
Per a source with knowledge of his contract, Routt’s $5 million base salary for 2012 would have become fully guaranteed if he had been on the roster five days after the start of the 2012 waiver period.
Though Routt loses the $5 million, he gets more than a fair crack at free agency, hitting the market more than a month before the official launch of the spending spree.
Thus, either way, tying guaranteed payments to presence on the roster early in the waiver period provides maximum protection. Either the team keeps the player and incurs the full guarantee (as the Jets did with receiver Santonio Holmes) or the team cuts the cord and the player walks away free and clear.
In Routt’s case, he carries with him $10 million paid out in 2011, the first — and ultimately only — year of his contract. (And he’ll also get another $5 million roster bonus, which the Raiders won’t be able to avoid.)