Bengals beef up offensive line without changing their outdated contract structure

NFL: JAN 30 AFC Conference Championship - Bengals at Chiefs
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The good news for Joe Burrow is that the Bengals added a pair of offensive linemen on Monday. The bad news is that the Bengals still haven’t deviated from an outdated approach to the structure of veteran contracts.

The deals to be signed by guard Alex Cappa and and center Ted Karras do not have fully-guaranteed money beyond the first year.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Cappa contract has a base value of $35 million over four years. The deal pays a $9 million signing bonus and a $2 million guaranteed roster bonus in 2022. There are no other guarantees in the deal.

The contract otherwise has a base salary of $1.5 million in 2022, along with non-guaranteed base salaries of $5.5 million, $6 million, and $7 million in 2023, 2024, and 2025, respectively.

The contract also includes up to $500,000 in per-game active roster bonuses per year, and annual workout bonuses of $500,000.

Cappa also can earn $1 million in each of the four seasons of the deal, if he makes it to the Pro Bowl.

Karras will sign a there-year, $18 million contract. It has a $3 million signing bonus and a $2 million 2022 roster bonus. Beyond the $5 million, there are no guarantees.

Karras otherwise will receive non-guaranteed salaries of $1.6 million in 2022, $4 million in 2023, and $5.8 million in 2024. (Obviously, the 2022 salary is as a practical matter guaranteed.)

Karras can earn up to $300,000 annually in per-game rotes bonuses, and $100,000 each year in workout bonuses.

It’s unclear whether the Bengals were serious suitors for the likes of Brandon Scherff and Ryan Jensen. However, the persistent resistance to guaranteeing money beyond the first year of the deal would have made it much harder to attract the biggest names on the 2022 market, if they even tried.

17 responses to “Bengals beef up offensive line without changing their outdated contract structure

  1. Sounds like they didn’t need to change it. They got the guys they wanted, the way they wanted. Sounds like they did quite well.

  2. They better change that when they offer the big bucks to joe otherwise he’ll play 2 years on the tag and make bank in FA

  3. I like how you question whether they were serious suitors for Jensen, who didn’t hit free agency, in order to criticize their approach, when their approach obviously worked by landing Cappa, Karras, and signing Hill.

    You also know that while these deals don’t technically guarantee money beyond the first year, the structure of front loading the deals with cash I’m the signing bonus makes it a 2 hear practical guarantee since they won’t cut the player after year 1 based on the contract structure.

    Regardless, they are obviously going to have to change ways next year when they sign Burrow, so it doesn’t really matter.

  4. Sorry, no one is trying to win the offseason Super Bowl. Good contracts, good deals. Those wanting them to overpay and in cap trouble like these other teams will have to look elsewhere.

  5. It is really weird, almost like the Bengals don’t value your constant droning on about their outdated ways. They just choose a path of sticking to their plan and adding pieces that fit their culture. At least you have Rodgers to bang on for a few more years.

  6. It would seem that the way they do business is working. Players usually get the bulk of the contract they sign. The team isn’t known for salary dumps. They also have perhaps the best young QB in the league. Maybe a ring is possible?

  7. Pittsburgh and Green Bay are the same way. Watt’s holdout was over this, and he made them make an exception, but they are no doubt back to the old structuring for everybody else. Why target Cincinnati? It’s bizarre. They did a great job yesterday, and have done very well in free agency the last two years.

  8. Criticize all you want but it’s working and the Bengals aren’t constantly in cap space hell like some other teams having to keep reworking contracts. They’ve also got to keep in mind they’ve got some huge contracts they’re going to have to come up with in a couple years.

  9. You say outdated, I say smart. Burrow’s next contract isn’t going to be cheap…

  10. So you saying they signed two younger interior offensive lineman who although they may not have been the most recognized, are still a huge improvement over what they have for inexpensive contracts that other teams are unable to pull off. Darn those Bungles!

  11. Outdated? Maybe. But they’ve never been in salary-cap hell, they never have to restructure contracts, and they almost always honor the terms of the contract. Name any other NFL team for which the same can be said.

  12. What you call outdated I call smart. If I gauranteed my employees a specific salary for a specific period of time, no matter how much effort they put in or how available they were, I would be in the unemployment line.

  13. This seems like an odd critique. The Bengals have been pretty successful as of late in free agency with this “outdated contract structure”.

  14. These super opinionated spicy takes are why I rarely visit anymore. The Steelers structure contracts in a similar manner, but you pick on the Bengals. Hence my name being what it is for the last decade.

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