Derek Cox deal illustrates the problem with injury-only guarantees

AP

When a player signs a big-money contract, two numbers usually get leaked, if any — the total value and the amount of guaranteed money.  There are two types of guaranteed money, and we always (or at least usually) try to point out the difference.

First, there’s fully-guaranteed money, which the player definitely will get upon signing the contract.  Second, there’s money guaranteed for injury only, which becomes guaranteed only if the player gets (wait for it) injured.

Typically, money guaranteed for injury only eventually becomes fully guaranteed, unless the player is cut.  For example, the $4.25 million in guaranteed base salary (injury only) for 2014 would have become fully guaranteed if Chargers cornerback Derek Cox were on the roster next Thursday.

That’s why he was cut.  And that’s why reports of Cox signing a deal with $10.25 million guaranteed ultimately were $4.25 million too high.

We’ll try to keep those facts straight in the coming days, as more and more deals are done, and as many reports list more guaranteed money than what may ultimately be guaranteed.