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Browns target Delhomme

QB’s windfall: No matter where he signs, his Panthers contract is guaranteed, with no offset. Andrew Brandt

Print This March 11, 2010, 12:15 PM EST

Jake Delhomme is visiting the Browns today, and a source close to the situation has told me the Browns “want him bad.” In the event the Browns do sign him – which I think will happen – it will be another windfall for Delhomme. Unlike the contract discussed here Wednesday with the Eagles and Michael Vick, Delhomme has no offset in his Panthers contract. He’ll receive the entire amount owed by the Panthers ($12.68 million), no matter what he might receive from the Browns (more on that below).

A deal to forget

As detailed previously, the Panthers decided to extend Delhomme on April 23, 2009, as he entered his contract year. Delhomme made $6.325 million last season but was benched late in the season as signs of buyer’s remorse started to show in Carolina. Then last week, the Panthers assigned the “super tender” – first- and a third-round compensation -- to Matt Moore and released Delhomme. Matt Moore? Who knew?

Delhomme’s contract had options, non-exercise fees and supersedes that ensured he would make $12.675M guaranteed after 2009 as long as the contract continued.

But what if the unthinkable – a release prior to 2010 – happened, never reaching the time to trigger the option or non-exercise fee or supercede? Fortunately for Delhomme, and unfortunately for the Panthers, he was protected.

Protection from release

The contract provides for guaranteed salaries in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and ensures payment to Delhomme, even if he’s terminated (his contract, not him) prior to 2010, for the following amounts totaling $12.675M:

2010: $4.16M

2011: $5.12M

2012: $3.395M

So Delhomme had $12.675M of protection no matter what the circumstances after 2009.

No offset

Delhomme’s agents were able to further insure him by a lack of offset on the guarantee. As I wrote yesterday in my Vick post, the Eagles are protected in the event they release Vick and he signs elsewhere, with the $1M he has guaranteed in 2010 offset from any compensation he receives from another team if he’s released.

The Panthers will get no such relief. There is no offset of the $12.675M owed to Delhomme. No matter how much he signs for with another team – including the Browns -- that money is not credited against the Panthers’ obligation.

The $4.16M for 2010 will be paid out as it was scheduled this season.

The remaining guarantee of $8.515M will be paid out on March 1, 2011, for the present value of that money according to the one-year treasury note rate published in the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 1 next year. Not really much, if any, relief, but at least Delhomme will be off Carolina’s books a year from now.

An NBA contract?

It’s one thing for teams to have cap charges of players no longer on the team, as is the case during capped years unlike 2010. It’s quite another – and much less common – for a team to have cash charges to a player no longer on the roster for one or more seasons. This is rare indeed for the NFL, although much more common with NBA contracts, as teams often buy out future guarantees.

The Delhomme contract proves the mantra that all NFL front offices realize at different times: Some of the best deals are the ones that are not made.

Follow me on Twitter: adbrandt

For a look at six quarterbacks who could impact a new team, check out this article from Bleacher Report.

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