At the Scouting Combine, one thing we learned is that cornerback Chris Culliver was in line for a significant payday in free agency. He got one.
Per a source with knowledge of the contract, Culliver’s contract with Washington includes $16 million guaranteed at signing. The money comes in the form of a $5 million signing bonus, a fully-guaranteed 2015 base salary of $3 million, and a fully-guaranteed base salary of $8 million.
Culliver also is due to receive a base salary of $8 million in 2017 and a base salary of $8 million in 2018.
The fact that the team would give the former 49er $5 million to sign despite pending criminal charges arising from allegations that he fled the scene of a hit-and-run accident in March 2014 and that he threatened a teenage witness with brass knuckles suggests that Washington became satisfied that the criminal charges won’t result in Culliver going to jail or otherwise being unavailable for an extended period of time. If, however, Culliver ends up being suspended even for only one game, he’ll have to pay back a chunk of the signing bonus — and any remaining guarantees will be voided.
Culliver, who made waves prior to Super Bowl XLVII with homophobic comments, also is being sued for the incident by the family of the 15-year-old boy who allegedly was threatened with brass knuckles.
In hindsight, it’s somewhat surprising that Culliver’s situation didn’t land him on the Commissioner-Exempt list after the release of the Ray Rice in-elevator video, along with Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy. Maybe Culliver didn’t have enough name recognition to move the needle at 345 Park Avenue. Maybe the Ray McDonald brouhaha in San Francisco gave Culliver cover.
Either way, Washington undoubtedly knew about the situation and came to the conclusion that it won’t affect Culliver’s availability. If Washington had real concerns about Culliver, he never would have gotten $5 million to sign.