When it comes to analyzing long-term contracts, it’s important to distinguish payments guaranteed for injury only from payments guaranteed fully and completely, for injury, skill, and salary cap.
When it comes to fully-guaranteed payments beyond the current year, the requirement that the guaranteed payments be fully funded becomes an issue for teams. For players, the concern becomes the possibility that the player will do something to trigger a voiding of the future guarantees.
When it comes to the negotiations between the Cowboys and receiver Dez Bryant, it’s currently expected that the language regarding the voiding of future guarantees will become a significant factor, if the two sides ever begin to approach a total dollar value that player and team find acceptable.
The Cowboys, concerned about the possibility of off-field issues (even though Bryant has had none for several years), are expected to push for strong terms, allowing the guarantees to be voided not just if he’s suspended for as little as one game but if he misses a practice, a meeting, or a rehab session while injured. Bryant’s goal will be to restrict the language or, alternatively, to maximize the only truly guaranteed payment in any contract — the signing bonus.
It won’t become relevant unless the two sides get in the same ballpark regarding dollars. But the language regarding the voiding of guarantees could become a major impediment if/when the Cowboys sweeten their current commitment, along with a condition that the commitment will get a lot worse if/when the guarantees go away.