During his introductory press conference, new Jaguars defensive lineman Malik Jackson repeatedly referred to his desire to earn $90 million.
“They don’t give you 90 today,” Jackson said. “So if I can have it in my account and I can just go sit down and not do anything – it’s not like basketball where I can get it all guaranteed. I still have to go out there. You still have to play. I have to go earn all of it. It’s six years, 42-45 guaranteed. I want 90 of it. I want all 90. So I have six years to go out there and earn it. That’s how I feel about it. Anything that’s given to you can be taken away from you at any time. So just have to go out there and do my best and earn all 90. That’s how I feel about it. It’s nice to have a contract that — to say at the end of the sixth year, I’d like to say I earned all 90. I think that’ll be the biggest accomplishment.”
It’s an accomplishment he won’t be able to accomplish alone, because the contract has a base value of only $85.5 million. To get to 90, he has to hit playing-time triggers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 — and the team must win a certain number of games and make the playoffs, each year.
Jackson definitely will receive (whether it’s earned or not) $10 million to sign, $8 million fully guaranteed in 2016, and $13.5 million fully guaranteed in 2017. That’s $31.5 million fully guaranteed at signing. Another $13.5 million is guaranteed for injury only until the fifth day of the 2018 league year, when it becomes fully guaranteed.
So, basically, he needs while receiving $31.5 million over the next two years to earn the chance to make $13.5 million in 2018. Then, in 2018, he has to earn the chance to make $13 million in 2019. In 2019, he has to earn the chance to make $13.75 million in 2020. Finally, in 2020, he has to earn the chance to make $13.75 million in 2021.
He has the right mindset, but a lot of factors will influence whether he gets the full $85.5 million or the extra $4.5 million, from injuries to ineffectiveness to aging to coaching or G.M. changes. That’s why the most important factor in any of these contracts continues to be the amount fully guaranteed when the player signs his name at the bottom — ideally in the form of a signing bonus.