Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was picked higher than 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. It’s possible that Dalton also ended up with a better second contract.
Like Kaepernick, Dalton committed for six more years, putting him under contract through 2020. But how long are the Bengals committed to Dalton?
When the details emerge (and they inevitably will), the key factors to consider will be: (1) signing bonus; (2) fully guaranteed money at signing; (3) money guaranteed for injury only at signing; and (4) the timing of future triggers, if any, for converting injury-only guarantee to full guarantees.
Dalton’s deal also need to be scrutinized for de-escalators, like those in Kaepernick’s deal that drop his pay if he doesn’t take the team to the Super Bowl or become a first-team All Pro. And it remains to be seen whether Dalton will have to dig into his own pocket and pay for a disability policy with benefits payable to the team, if Dalton suffers a catastrophic injury.
For now, all we know is that the deal is worth $115 million in new money, if the Bengals choose to keep Dalton for seven years. That’s more than $19 million per year. Chances are that, unless Dalton keeps taking the Bengals to the playoffs, he won’t make all of that money. Based on the structure, it’s also possible that, if Dalton continues to thrive, he may realize that, come 2017 or so, he’s underpaid.