The deal that isn’t allowed to be a deal will be one heck of a deal, once it can legally become a deal.
Per a league source, the contract that defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will sign with the Dolphins will include $60 million guaranteed over three years. And that’s fully guaranteed, not guaranteed for injury until 2015 or 2016 before it converts to fully guaranteed.
Teams usually won’t fully guarantee large amounts because the NFL requires teams to fund the fully-guaranteed payments at signing. In this case, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross will be required to write a check for $60 million, with Suh getting plenty of it up front and the rest going to an escrow account for future distribution.
Other teams (and likely the league office) won’t like this. If owners who have the cash to make that kind of commitment start making that kind of commitment, they’ll have a huge advantage when it comes to signing players. Eventually, the richest owners will take over the league.
Some believe that, previously, the richest owners have resisted doing it out of respect for the owners who can’t. Ross may be blazing a trail that sparks renewed acrimony between the NFL’s haves and the have-mores.