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Butler’s seven-year deal is actually three with a significant option payment

Butler Getty Images

When no details had emerged regarding the contract signed by linebacker Donald Butler with the Chargers, the silence was either attributed to the deal not being a great one — or Butler not wanting every relative, friend, and/or acquaintance asking for money.

The ultimate explanation could be a little of both.

Per a league source, Butler’s deal covers seven years.  It has a total value of $51.8 million.

But only (only?) $11.15 million is guaranteed at signing.  After three seasons, another balloon payment is due, in the form of a $12 million option bonus.

So the Chargers can walk away after paying $15.15 million over two years, in the form of a $750,000 base salary for 2014 and a non-guaranteed base salary of $3.25 million for 2015.  Alternatively, they can pay another $4.65 million in 2016 and extend it to a three-year, $19.8 million contract.

On the fifth day after the Super Bowl played in the 2016 league year (i.e., in February 2017), the $12 million option bonus comes due.  If it’s paid, the final four years kick in, at base salaries of $4 million in 2017, $4.65 million in 2018, $5.35 million in 2019, and $6 million in 2020.

The cap numbers are $2.98 million in 2014, $5.48 million in 2015, $9.28 million in 2016, $8.63 million in 2017, $9.28 million in 2018, and $7.75 million in 2020.

Ultimately, Butler will play at least two years and possibly three under this contract.  After that, the Charges will have to decide whether to write a check for $12 million and pick up the final four years of the deal.

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6 Responses to “Butler’s seven-year deal is actually three with a significant option payment”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 5, 2014 9:35 PM

    3 years is a long time there will be plenty of enticing new options for better fresh deals to do that they can afford after tearing this deal up then.

  2. duffer58 says: Mar 5, 2014 9:46 PM

    To say it is 7 years is meaningless. Never ever get that far.

  3. realitycheck21 says: Mar 5, 2014 10:04 PM

    It’ll be a 3 yr deal at best. He’ll then be released and sign with another team, which more than likely will be a key Charger adversary. It’s the Charger way.

  4. meatcarroll says: Mar 5, 2014 10:42 PM

    Hope he sees the money. Great player and an even better person.

  5. accipiterq says: Mar 5, 2014 10:48 PM

    Why do these guys sign these deals that are BLATANTLY not going to come even close to going the full length, then whine about getting cut, or how ‘football is just a business’. I mean, I think the idea of a non- guaranteed contract is ludicrous, but guys like this signing these awful deals aren’t making that position any easier to defend.

  6. icanspeel says: Mar 6, 2014 5:14 PM

    I actually like the contract since it gives him more incentive to play well the first 3 years.

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