A long-term deal with a franchise player routinely creates cap space by pushing the franchise tender — which counts entirely as cap space in the current year — into a signing bonus that is then spread over multiple years. That’s precisely what happened when the Raiders did a four-year deal with franchise-tagged safety Tyvon Branch.
As our corporate cousin Paul Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com first reported and as we’ve confirmed, Branch’s new deal dropped his cap number from $6.212 million down to $2.4 million — creating roughly $3.8 million in total cap space for the Raiders in 2012.
The four-year, $26.6 million contract has an annual average of $6.65 million, putting him behind Titans safety Michael Griffin, who signed a five-year, $35 million deal last month.
Branch’s deal has only $6.6 million in fully guaranteed compensation at signing, via a $5.6 million signing bonus and a $1 million fully-guaranteed base salary in 2012. Another $3.5 million in 2013 becomes fully guaranteed as of the first game of the 2013 regular season, and $7.5 million in injury-only guaranteed money for 2013 and 2014 become fully guaranteed if Branch remains on the roster as of the third day of the 2013 league year.
Though delayed vesting of the guarantees often arises from an outdated funding rule, the Raiders could decide based on the 2012 season to avoid another $7.5 million in guaranteed money by dumping Branch before 2013.
Of course, if that happens the Raiders will have given Branch $10.1 million for one season of football, nearly $4 million more than the franchise tender.
Then again, with a sky-high $10.9 million cap number in 2013, the Raiders easily could clear $6 million by moving on from Branch.
The full breakdown, for the one or two of you who actually are interested in that kind of stuff, appears after the jump.
1. $5.6 million signing bonus.
2. $1 million fully-guaranteed base salary in 2012, with no offset language.
3. $250,000 Pro Bowl incentive in 2012.
4. $6 million base salary in 2013, guaranteed for injury only at signing and fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2013 league year. (Only $1.5 million of the salary is subject to offset language.)
5. $3.5 million roster bonus due on third day of 2013 league year, which is guaranteed for injury and skill at signing and fully guaranteed as of the first game of the 2012 regular season.
6. $250,000 Pro Bowl incentive in 2013.
7. $3 million base salary in 2014, $1.5 million of which is guaranteed for injury only at signing and fully guaranteed as of the third day of the 2013 league year, with no offset language.
8. $1 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2014 league year.
9. $250,000 Pro Bowl incentive in 2014.
10. $5.5 million non-guaranteed base salary in 2015.
11. $1 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2015 league year.
12. $250,000 Pro Bowl incentive in 2015.