A big-money deal for Lions receiver Calvin Johnson had been expected, but no one really expected how big it would be.
And now the question is whether it’s really as big as claimed.
Initial reports pegged the contract as being worth $132 million over seven years, with $60 million guaranteed. That equates to an annual average of nearly $19 million. And the truth is it’s nothing close to that.
The problem arises from the disconnect between “seven years” and the value of the deal. Lost in the description is the fact that Johnson already is due to make more than $20 million in 2012, the final year of his rookie deal. And so it’s a seven-year extension, creating an eight year deal — and resulting in an annual average somewhere between $15.5 million and $16 million.
The guaranteed money also is believed to be more like $50 million, with the fully guaranteed money under $40 million.
Without and extension and if the Lions used the franchise tag in 2013, Johnson would have made more than $46 million in the next two seasons.
We’ll defer further comment until the full contract can be obtained and analyzed. For now, the talk in league circles is that Johnson’s deal is being grossly overstated.