On Wednesday, the Lions extended the contract of receiver Calvin Johnson. Initially reported as a seven-year, $132 million deal, this characterization overlooked the reality that: (1) it covers eight years; and (2) Johnson already was due to earn $18.5 million in 2012. Also, the report that Johnson will receive $60 million in guaranteed money is, as reports regarding guaranteed money usually are, inflated.
We heard last night that the numbers may have been grossly inflated. Here’s the real story on the deal.
It’s an eight-year, $131.95 million contract. Until, however, the team chooses to fully guarantee $3.5 million in base salary in 2018 and $3.5 million in base salary in 2019, the last two years will void, making it a six-year, $96.7 million deal.
So, basically, the last two years are phony, for now.
Factoring in the $18.5 million Johnson already was due to make in 2012 before the extension, it’s a seven-year, $113.45 million deal. Dropping the phony-for-now base salaries for 2018 and 2019, it’s a five-year, $78.25 million contract.
Not eight (or seven) years and $132 million. Five years, and $78.25 million.
Without the phony-for-now final two years, the contract has an average new-money value of $15.7 million. If the Lions choose to buy back the last two years by guaranteeing $7 million total in salary, the new-money average increases to $16.2 million.
It gets more confusing than usual when trying to decipher the guaranteed money. Before a non-guaranteed option bonus of $20 million is exercised in 2013, the deal has $48.75 million in fully guaranteed money (not including a $4.5 million roster bonus Johnson already has earned). After the option is exercised (and including the $20 million option bonus), $37.25 million is fully guaranteed.
The $60 million in guaranteed money arises from a $16 million signing bonus, a fully-guaranteed base salary of $1.25 million, the $20 million non-guaranteed option bonus, and another $22.5 million in fully-guaranteed base salary that becomes guaranteed for injury only after the option bonus is paid.
Though not guaranteed, the option bonus undoubtedly will be paid, because until the option is paid the deal has $31.5 million in fully-guaranteed base salaries. (It’s an excellent device for ensuring that the option bonus will be paid.)
For the Lions, the contract gives much-needed cap relief, dropping Johnson’s cap number from $21 million to $11.5 million in 2012. The current cap number for 2013 is $12.2 million. Ditto for 2014.
The cap number jumps to $19.7 million in 2015 and to $23.15 million in 2016. It drops to $20.5 million in 2017. With no remaining bonus allocation in the final two years, the cap numbers match the base salaries.
And now for the nuts and bolts of the deal . . . .
1. Signing bonus: $16 million.
2. 2012 base salary: $1.25 million, fully guaranteed.
3. 2012 roster bonus: $4.5 million. (Earned under prior contract.)
4. 2013 option bonus: $20 million.
5. 2013 base salary: $5 million, fully guaranteed before option is paid, guaranteed for injury only after option is paid.
6. 2014 base salary: $5 million, fully guaranteed before option is paid, guaranteed for injury only after option is paid.
7. 2015 base salary: $12.5 million, fully guaranteed before option is paid, guaranteed for injury only after option is paid.
8. 2016 base salary: $15.95 million, $9 million of which is fully guaranteed before option is paid, not guaranteed after option is paid.
9. 2017 base salary: $16.5 million.
10. 2018 base salary: $17 million, $3.5 million of which is fully guaranteed if the team buys back the last two years.
11. 2019 base salary: $18.25 million, $3.5 million of which is fully guaranteed if the team buys back the last two years.
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