Technically, Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas has signed a four-year $28 million deal with the Giants. Per a league source, however, it’s a one-year contract worth $2 million, with the remaining $26 million hinging on whether he plays well enough in 2012 to justify the team picking up the option.
It’s a common tactic used for players who are coming back from serious injury. Indeed, the contract signed by Drew Brees six years ago in New Orleans contained the same kind of provision, forcing Brees to prove that his shoulder had healed before unlocking much bigger money.
In Thomas’ case, he tore an ACL in the 2011 preseason — the second time in the same knee.
And as to the $11 million in guaranteed money that Thomas is due to earn? It’s actually an $11 million option bonus, non-guaranteed.
There’s no reason to think he won’t play well enough to deserve the payment, if he’s healthy. But last year Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth wasn’t the same guy a year after tearing an ACL. If Thomas isn’t the same guy in 2012, his new contract won’t extend into 2013.
UPDATE: Per a source with knowledge of the specific details, the base value of the contract is indeed $2 million, via a $1 million signing bonus and a $1 million base salary. He also has another $1 million in roster bonuses tied being available for games, and 1.75 million in playing-time incentives, which begin to kick in if Thomas participates in 40 percent of the snaps.