The San Diego Chargers gave Philip Rivers the surprise monster contract of the NFL offseason

Philip riversDonald Miralle/GettyPhilip Rivers’ new deal gives him $US37.5 million upfront.

Heading into training camp and preseason, San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was perhaps the most notable quarterback still seeking an extension.

After it seemed like a deal wouldn’t get done at all, the two sides suddenly came to an agreement on a four-year, $US83.25 million deal.

While that deal may not look as flashy as some quarterback extensions — like Cam Newton’s five-year, $US103 million deal — it contains a whopping $US65 million in guaranteed money.

Also notable, according to ProFootball Talk’s Mike Florio, Rivers’ base salary is $US15 million this season — down from $US15.7 million last year. However, he also received a $US22.5 million signing bonus, bringing his earnings this year to $US37.5 million!

This is huge, because in most of these deals it is the first-year money that is only truly guaranteed with the rest of the guarantee only being tied to a career-ending injury.

In comparison, Russell Wilson’s four-year, $US88 million extension had $US61.5 million in guaranteed money. But besides for Wilson’s massive $US31 million signing bonus and $US700,000 in salary this season, the rest of the deal is basically team options.

Rivers’ deal is similar except that he gets more first-year money and more guarantees than any of the five biggest guaranteed contracts agreed to in the last year:

Ndamukong Suh is actually a rare exception in that he got his 2016 and 2017 salaries fully guaranteed; however, the percentage of his deal that’s guaranteed is actually still less than Rivers.

Each of these monster extensions become bargaining chips for the next quarterback due for an extension. Wilson was likely able to use Newton’s deal to get more guaranteed money. Rivers was likely able to use Wilson’s deal to get such a large first-year guarantee. Now, Eli Manning, due for an extension, wants to become the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, likely after seeing Rivers’ deal.

Going forward, it will be interesting to see how teams navigate these waters, paying their quarterbacks while also not falling victim to topping each contract, one after the other.

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