It took more than a week, but the new deal signed on The View by Bears receiver Brandon Marshall finally is available to be fully scrutinized. And, as usual, the numbers are originally reported were a little better than the reality.
Per a source with knowledge of the contract, Marshall gets $14.8 million fully guaranteed at signing, via a $7.5 million signing bonus and a fully-guaranteed $7.3 million base salary for 2014. His $7.5 million base salary for 2015 is guaranteed for injury only until the third day of the 2015 league year, at which time it becomes fully guaranteed.Initial reports of the value had pegged the guarantee at $22.3 million, glossing over (as initial reports usually do) the distinction between guaranteed and fully-guaranteed money.
In 2016, Marshall has a non-guaranteed base salary of $7.9 million. In 2017, the final year of the contract, the base salary moves to $8.3 million.
He also has workout bonuses of $200,000 each year, and a $700,000 escalator tied to winning the Super Bowl. The escalator pushes the four-year deal from a base value of $39.3 million to a maximum package of $40 million.
The cap numbers are $9.375 million in 2014, $9.575 million in 2015, $9.975 million in 2016, and $10.375 million in 2017. If, for whatever reason, the Bears decide to dump Marshall before the final $7.5 million in guaranteed money becomes fully guaranteed, he will have received $15 million for one season.
They can also move on after the 2015 or 2016 season, with a relatively small cap consequence.
So despite the four-year, $40 million figure trumpeted by Marshall, it’s a year-to-year arrangement for Marshall and the Bears. For most teams and players, that’s how the NFL currently works.