When Jimmy Graham and the Saints initially announced that they had agreed on a new contract, we wanted to see what the real numbers were, as the headline numbers in NFL contracts are often inflated. Now we’ve seen the real numbers. So we’ll pass them on to you.
For starters, Graham really does get $10 million a year over four years if he plays out the full contract. Sometimes when a nice round number like “$10 million a year” gets floated in the immediate aftermath of a signing, that’s an inflated figure based on some fluff in the contract that won’t actually be earned, but Graham’s $10 million a year is real.
Graham’s signing bonus is $12 million and his total guarantee is $20.9 million. Graham would get $21 million if he only plays two years of the deal and $30 million if he plays three years of the deal.
In 2014 Graham gets a base salary of $1 million guaranteed in addition to that $12 million signing bonus. His cap number is $4 million — less than he would have counted against the Saints’ cap if he had signed the franchise tender.
In 2015 Graham gets a base salary of $2.9 million guaranteed, a roster bonus of $5 million due on the third day of the league year and a workout bonus of $100,000. His cap number is $11 million.
In 2016 Graham gets a base salary of $8.9 million and a workout bonus of $100,000. His cap number is $12 million.
In 2017 Graham gets a base salary of $7.9 million, a roster bonus of $2 million if he’s on the team on the third day of the league year and a workout bonus of $100,000. His cap number is $13 million.
If Graham plays out the full contract, without renegotiating or extending or getting released, he’ll be a free agent in March of 2018. At which point the Saints could franchise him. And we’ll all obsess over whether Graham lined up for most of his 2017 snaps within four yards of an offensive tackle.