Dez Bryant has agreed to a five-year, $US70 million with the Dallas Cowboys, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, ending the threat that Bryant would hold out and potentially miss games this season.
The contract includes $US45 million in guaranteed money.
The deal was reached just before the Wednesday deadline for for franchise-tagged players to sign a long-term contract. Earlier in the week, Bryant had indicted he would sit out regular season games if he didn’t get a contract by the deadline, which would have been a disaster for Dallas.
While Bryant gets the long-term contract he so desperately wanted, this deal is a big win for the Cowboys.
1. Bryant did not get Megatron money.
Before reaching the deal, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Bryant wanted “more than Megatron money” meaning a contract larger than seven-year, $US113.5 million deal signed by Calvin Johnson with the Detroit Lions. That contract included $US48.8 million guaranteed.
While Bryant’s deal is still the second-biggest among wide receivers it is nowhere near the amount Johnson received.
2. The fully guaranteed money is not that much.
The next issue is the amount of money guaranteed. As with most NFL contracts, there are two forms of guaranteed money. There is the money guaranteed against injury, $US45 million in the case of Bryant’s deal, and there is the “fully guaranteed” money. For most contracts, the latter generally includes any money a player will make in his first year, including salary and any bonuses (since that player is unlikely to get cut before the first year of the deal) and any future salaries guaranteed at the time of the signing.
According to Pro Football Talk, Bryant will get $US23 million in the first year and the other $US22 million of the $US45 million guaranteed doesn’t truly become guaranteed until March, 2016. Of the first-year money, $US20 million is in the form of a signing bonus, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Like most of these deals, after the first year it becomes a year-to-year proposition for the Cowboys and the contract can be ripped up, thrown out, or renegotiated whenever they want.
3. The Cowboys freed up salary cap space.
The final issue is how much Bryant would count against the salary cap this season. If the deadline passed and Bryant had accepted his franchise tag, he would have made $US12.8 million, which would would have also been his salary cap figure. The Cowboys can now prorate the $US20 million signing bonus over five years which means Bryant’s salary cap figure in 2015 will now likely be just $US7 million.
In other words, the Cowboys had to fully commit just $US23 million to Bryant and at the same time they were able to save nearly $US6 million in cap space that can be used on another player.
That’s a big win.
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