The Raiders reportedly were prepared to pick cornerback D.J. Hayden with the third overall selection in the draft. Instead, they gave him a deal with a similar structure to the one the third overall pick received.
Per a source with knowledge of the deal, Hayden’s contract uses the same structure employed by the Dolphins at No. 3 (Dion Jordan), the Eagles at No. 4 (Lane Johnson), and the Browns at No. 6 (Barkevious Mingo). It’s a structure that neither the 11th pick (D.J. Fluker) nor the 13th pick (Sheldon Richardson) received.
In exchange for keeping offset language in the deal, Hayden will receive guaranteed training-camp roster bonuses of $379,000 in 2014, $758,000 in 2015, and $1.1 million in 2016. He’ll also get guaranteed base salaries of $405,000 in 2013, $495,000 in 2014, $585,000 in 2015, and $675,000 in 2016.
Hayden’s signing bonus was $5.88 million.
While Hayden won’t be able to double dip if the Raiders cut him before the expiration of the four-year contract, pushing money into roster bonuses reduces the salary for which the Raiders would receive credit if, for example, Hayden is cut between the launch of camp and the start of the regular season.
Regardless, if the Raiders cut Hayden at any point between now and the end of the 2016 season, they’ll have far bigger problems than owing Hayden money, or recovering some of it based on what he earns elsewhere.
Hayden is one of the more compelling figures of the rookie class. He nearly died after a practice collision at the University of Houston ruptured his inferior vena cava, resulting in heavy internal bleeding. He had surgery in the offseason to remove scar tissue.