So how much will Richard Sherman really make under his new four-year extension?
Sherman’s self-report of $40 million guaranteed and $57.4 million over four years is close to being completely accurate, but it’s not completely accurate.
For starters, the deal has a five-year, not four-year, value of $57.4 million. (Actually, $57.431 million.) It comes from the $1.431 million he was due to make in the final year of his rookie deal plus $56 million in new money over the next four years.
Of the amount, only $12.431 million is fully guaranteed at signing, via the $1.431 million base salary in 2014 plus an $11 million signing bonus. The rest of the guarantee ($27.569 million) covers injury only at first. By February 2016, it will all be fully guaranteed.
The first chunk, a $10 million 2015 base salary, becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the waiver period after the next Super Bowl. The remaining $17.569 million ($12.569 million in 2016 base salary and $5 million of his $11.431 million base salary in 2017) becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the waiver period after the Super Bowl to be played in February 2016.
If the Seahawks cut Sherman after one season (highly unlikely), he hits the market next February with $12.431 million earned under the new contract. If they cut him after two seasons (possibly but not likely), he walks away with $22.431 million for two seasons, and becomes a free agent.
If they don’t cut him by February 2016, he’ll earn $40 million guaranteed. If he plays out the full deal, he’ll make $57.4 million and hit the market while still under the age of 30.
It’s a darn good deal for a guy who was still a year away from becoming a free agent (or having the franchise tag applied) and who had no leverage to force the team to give him the kind of contract that few fifth-round picks ever receive.