Now that this battle is finally over and we can stop debating it to death every other day I at least feel comfortable enough to comment again and explain a few things. But I needed a break and I took it.
Here's a link to the Trib article on the details. Sorry if it's already been done. http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports...,5130163.story
Here's a summary of it;
The base value of his deal is worth $28.1 mil with $17.1 mil guaranteed. $16.1 mil will be earned over the first two years. $9.8 mil in 2012 (probably an $8 mil signing bonus and $1.8 mil in salary), $6.3 mil in 2013 and $6.6 mil in 2014. He can earn up to $7.8 mil in 2015 and up to another $1 mil in incentives across all four years for $31.5 mil total contract value.
This is where I think the sides finally came together and it's about what I figured the Bears would do once Cliff Stein got out his fine tipped pencil. They stuck with the amount and length they were comfortable with but pushed more of the money towards the front end of the deal for him. There's $2 mil more than the tag amount this for him this year and roughly the equivalent of what two years of tagging him would get him in both 2012 and 2013. I think this is what cinched it.
So Matt gets 94% of his guaranteed $$$ in the first two years with just 6% paid in year three. The guaranteed amount may be less than some others are getting but it pays out at least one year sooner. The deal also calls for him to get $22.7 mil over the first three years (72% of the total) if he hits all of his bonuses.
So there is some risk on Matt to stay healthy and productive but if he does he gets $2mil to $5 mil more over the first three years if his deal than some of the others that were handed out. Where his contract pays out as much as 72% of it's total value over three years many of the the others pay out just 50% to 55% and they may see only some or even none of the rest of the dollars.
So who really came away with the better overall deal?
How the Bears benefit;
If I'm basically correct about the structure including an $8 mil SB then by amortizing that over the four year length of the deal the Bears are charged just $2 mil per year against the cap each of those four years. $2mil X 4 = $8mil. That $2mil, his salary for that year, and any incentives earned will be his cap cost each of those four years.
So for 2012 the Bears have effectively lowered his cap cost from $7.74 mil to $3.8 mil and cleared up roughly $4 mil more badly needed dollars they can use on Urlacher, Melton or Cutler this year or simply reserve for emergencies or roll over into their 2013 cap where it will add to that anticipated excess.
His cap cost goes up to $8.8 mil in 2013, $9.45 in 2014 and 2015 provided he earns 100% of the deal. So for the first two years his cap cost is $4.5 mil less than if they'd tagged him both years yet Matt gets almost exactly as much money as if they had. This will give Emery time to replace some of the more expensive vets with younger less expensive guys in 2013 and 2014 but still allows us to keep some of that experience around for a real push towards championships this year and next.
The Bears have also protected themselves against a decline in his production or a career ending injury. If they cut him or trade in after 2013 they owe him just $1 mil and the dead cap space left will be $3 mil in 2014 ($6.45mil in cap savings ) and just $2 mil in 2015 ($7.45 mil in cap savings). The only money and cap costs they're 100% on the hook for is that $17.1 mil. The rest is on Matt to stay healthy and productive and my guess is that he will.
So Matt got the security he was looking for and the Bears got what they needed out of the deal to protect themselves too plus got a major league "cap monkey off their backs in 2012.
From what I understand this final deal is almost exactly what Ted Phillips called a "very strong offer" earlier this year. With the exception of shifting some money forward and adding about $3 mil to the total with incentives this was for the most part what's been on the table all along. So why do I think that?
A person in my own field whom I know (not a football guy) has some contacts with knowledge of what was being offered and said that the Bears would not go beyond 4 years or $17-$18 mil in guarantees over three years and around $30 mil total. At that time Matt was still stuck on a 5 year deal with at least $20 mil over three years so he turned it down. I wasn't gonna pull that "a friend of a friend of a friend told me" deal because no one buys it anyway, and beside that I didn't want to say anything that could come back to haunt me or this person.
But......this person does business with pro athletes and is fairly well known and respected in the agent community as a financial professional so what was said made some real sense at that time and I believed it. The Bears (or Angelo's) final offer to Matt last fall averaged around $6.8 mil per year with a bit less than $15 mil guaranteed over three years and there was no logical reason to make that same offer a second time when it had already been turned down hard and fast.
Then Emery came into the picture this winter and after they tagged Matt he lobbied to make a better offer that would reduce his cap charge because the cost of the tag would restrict his ability somewhat in free agency. Phillips and Stein must have agreed and that's what prompted that "strong offer" back in March or whenever it was. I can't recall exactly. And from what I've been told that's essentially what's been on the table ever since.
Now we get to last week as time grows short and Matt says they're making some progress. What I was told is that the Bears offered to add a 5th year worth around $7.5 mil with incentives if that's what it would take to close the deal but the guaranteed money would remain the same (no $20 mil or more) and the total was somewhere around $36-$37.5 mil not $40 mil plus. So to me it was about 60/40 they'd come to terms.
Now I'm guessing because that's all I've heard to date. I think Cliff Stein did some of his cap magic and found a way to get Matt the majority of his guaranteed money over two years as opposed to three (less money but faster payout) and showed him how he could make almost $23 mil over three with incentives which is more than others are getting over those three years. I think he convinced him that from a pure economic standpoint the Bears offer was actually a little better than some and a lot better than others over it's first two years while still giving him a decent back end if he stays healthy and productive.
That's when I think Matt began to listen more to Cliff Stein and less to Adisa Bakari and said we're gonna get this deal done. It was actually a good deal all the way around for both sides. Maybe more pro athletes should hire financial guys to negotiate for them rather than attorneys. Most attorneys only know how to tabulate the 3% of a contracts total value or their billable hours so they know just how much THEY"LL make and not how well the deal serves their clients best interests financially.
Well gang that's what I believed, why I believed it, what I suspected, and why I posted as I did. Nuff said.
We're definitely on a roll now and I can't wait to see how the Pack and Lions will deal with this restructured Bears team. This is gonna be fun to watch.