Last week, former Titans running back Chris Johnson agreed to a two-year deal with the Jets.
Reported as having an $8 million base value, the details show that it indeed does. Here’s how it all breaks down.
Johnson gets $3 million to sign. (Of the amount, $500,000 has been deferred to March 1, 2015.) He receives a non-guaranteed base salary of $1 million for 2014, which as a practical matter is guaranteed — unless the Jets choose to let him walk away before Week One with the $3 million signing bonus.
Technically, Johnson’s deal is worth $4.5 million in the 2014 league year, because the deal contains a $500,000 option bonus due on the 22nd day after the post-Super Bowl waiver period begins. The technique, which moving could be used more often with veteran players, allows a team to move on without having to cut the player. The downside for the player is that he doesn’t hit the market until the first day of free agency.
If the Jets pay the option bonus, Johnson will be in line for a $3.5 million base salary in 2015. The salary potentially escalates by $1 million, based on Johnson’s production in 2014.
Either way, Johnson will at least get $4 million for one year and a chance to hit the market again. He’ll possibly get $8 million (and maybe $9 million) for two years with his new team.