When is a $45 mil Deal Not Really a $45 mil Deal?.............
I posted this in the thread asking whether Matt Forte is worth as much as LeSean McCoy. When I answered that question in the thread I said yes as long as his deal is for what McCoy will really get as opposed to what the papers report and Drew Rosenhaus is boasting about.
Just a note worth mentioning about all of these recent deals for RB's. The only real hard dollar value in these contract are their guarantees. All of them are structured so that the guaranteed money is paid out within the first three years and those guarantees range from around 45% to 55% of the total value of the contract. After that a player can be cut pretty easily without any cap penalty.
The trend seems to be away from large signing bonuses that create a ton of "dead cap space" if a player is cut or traded before the end of his deal and in some cases the entire contract is structured so that 100% is in salary with no upfront bonus at all. That also makes it very easy for the team cut that player and bring him back on a renegotiated deal.
With the value of these RB deals running as high as they are teams are fearing the risk of making long term commitments to a player whose career might end quickly due to injury or a significant drop in productivity. As a result the structure of these deals provides little or no security beyond whatever amount the contract guarantees.
Drew Rosenhaus can boast all he wants about this deal but after the guarantees are up this deal is likely to be renegotiated and I'd be willing to bet McCoy will never see the last $15 mil it advertises. This is not the only one either. Virtually all of these most recent contracts are structured in such a way that after 3 years the team can pretty easily cut the player if he's sustained a serious injury or his productivity falls.
So is a five or a six year deal really all that important? Not when the last two or three years of it are papered with the promise of money these guys aren't ever likely to see. This is all about getting these guys under contract now through their prime years and setting up the deal in such a way that they can be easily disposed of for less expensive players just as soon as those guarantees are paid out.
No wonder Matt wants the guarantee in his deal to be as high as he can get it. Especially at his age.