Periodic suspensions notwithstanding, linebacker Vontaze Burfict remains a valued member of the Bengals. And they gave him significant value on Thursday. Sort of.
Per a source with knowledge of the contract, here are the details of the deal:
1. $3.3 million signing bonus.
2. 2017 base salary of $7.936 million.
3. 2018 roster bonus of $2 million, due March 31, 2018.
4. 2018 base salary of $3.81 million.
5. 2019 base salary of $5 million.
6. 2020 base salary of $6.188 million.
7. Annual per-game roster bonuses $2.25 million in 2018, 2019, 2020.
8. Offseason workout bonuses of $500,000 for 2018, 2019, 2020.
9. He also has escalators based on Pro Bowl appearances of $250,000 per year, which doubles for two and triples for three, which can (with three Pro Bowl appearances from 2017 through 2019) add another $1.5 million.
Here are the highlights of the deal:
1. The only guarantee is the signing bonus.
2. The $2.25 million per year in per-game roster bonuses in 2018 through 2020 ties a whopping $132,352 to his ability to suit up each and every week. For any absence from the active roster (suspension or injury), the $132,352 disappears.
3. The increase in Burfict’s base salary from $3.95 million to $7.936 million inflates his game checks from $232,352 to $466,823. Which, in turn, bumps the price of his three-game suspension from $697,056 to $1.4 million.
So while the initial reports look good, the structure and specifics don’t. The Bengals will be able to cut ties with Burfict after any year of the deal, with minimal financial consequences.