Inside the Brian O’Neill deal

NFL: NOV 03 Vikings at Chiefs
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Not long after Vikings coach Mike Zimmer publicly bemoaned the extent to which financial concerns impact the depth of the roster, the Vikings announced a transaction that definitely won’t make it easier to have money around for a second-tier of players who can step if if/when starters get injured.

The Vikings signed tackle Brian O’Neill to a lucrative extension, at five years and $92.5 million.

Here are the details of the O’Neill contract, per source with knowledge of the terms of the deal.

1. Signing bonus: $20 million. Of that amount, $3 million will be paid within 10 days, $13 million will be paid in 2022, and $4 million will be paid in 2023.

2. Roster bonus: $1.576 million, earned September 8.

3. 2021 base salary: $1.05 million, fully guaranteed.

4. 2022 base salary: $4.4 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed one the third day of the 2022 league year.

5. 2023 base salary: $14.5 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2023 league year.

6. 2024 base salary: $14.4 million, $7.7 million of which is guaranteed for injury at signing and $12 million of which becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2024 league year.

7. 2025 base salary: $17.4 million.

8. 2026 base salary: $18.9 million.

The deal includes $100,00 workout bonuses and $500,000 per-game roster bonuses from 2022 through 2026. It also has $1 million escalators for 2022 through 2026 based on O’Neill being named a first-team All-Pro.

The total guarantee of $53,376,118 ranks third for right tackles, behind Ryan Ramczyk and Lane Johnson.

The deal is another example of the Vikings taking care of their own, rewarding players who perform well and earn healthy second contracts. Still, it becomes yet another big contract for the Vikings, one that will chew up cash and cap space for starters, at the expense of having the money available to ensure that, if/when starters go down, appropriate cash will be available for those who are pressed into service.

And while the move gives Vikings certainty at right tackle for 2021 and several years to come, Zimmer’s primary concern is 2021. If things go haywire for the Vikings this year, he may not be around to enjoy the presence of O’Neill for several years thereafter.

5 responses to “Inside the Brian O’Neill deal

  1. This is a good move to lock up one of the few bright spots on the offensive line. The salary cap will only be an issue for one more season because then we can finally be rid of the $45 million liability we have behind center. We’ll have plenty of cash to pay players that actually help the team win, and we can go young at QB. Hopefully, it’s lesson learned that you only pay franchise $$$ to a franchise quarterback.

  2. This is a cap friendly deal for the first two seasons — best I can tell it’s ~$6 million this year and $7.75MM next year before jumping to $17+ million in 2024. At that point, new tc deals will be in hand and Cousins will be gone. Pretty good set up for the Team.

  3. They could have saved a lot of money if they had signed him earlier in the offseason before those other right tackles got their big money.

  4. With 38 draft picks in the last three years, I’m trying to figure out why we don’t have enough depth. Can any of these guys play?

  5. The cap in gonna go way up in 2 years, so this contract won’t be a problem. Glad they locked him up.

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