Catching Contracts

Receivers catch deals as Free Agency opens Andrew Brandt

Print This March 15, 2012, 06:01 AM EST

Redskin Receiver Roundup

The Redskins acted right out of the box, as per a tradition not slowed by recent Cap penalties, in securing Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan.

Garçon was signed to a $42 million deal with $21.5 million guaranteed, although the guarantees are "stair-stepped": $13.1 million this year, $5.6 million triggering next year and $1.8 million triggering in 2014..  Unlike Jackson, saddled with the Tag, Garcon played three teams off each other, with the Colts trying to stay in the game and strong interest from the Rams.  

Morgan's contract, with $7.5 million guaranteed, is technically five years in length in order to prorate the signing bonus ($5.5 million), but voids after two.  The Redskins – docked $18 million of Cap room – had to be creative with the Cap to remake this position in a matter of hours.

Vincent Jackson

Jackson, the marquee free agent receiver of the group, changes coasts, signing a five-year $55.5 million deal with Tampa Bay, including $26 million guaranteed, all in the first two years of the deal. 

The Bucs, armed with $45 million of Cap room, were able to structure the deal in a “pay as you go” model, loading $13 million into both 2012 and 2013 with no proration nor potential future Cap charges should things sour.  The Bucs did the same with Nicks.  It is a smart way to structure a deal and protects the team in the future. 

Comparing to Redskin issue

Many have asked about this laudable structure and as to why the Redskins and Cowboys incurred penalties from the league.  I cannot speak to the Cowboys -- it appears the Miles Austin deal was frontloaded in the same manner as Jackson -- but the Redskins' issues were different.

The Redskins did not negotiate contracts in 2010 to frontload money into the uncapped year.  They renegotiated existing contracts to bring forward proration from future years into the uncapped year.  I am not defending the penalties levied against the team -- it is still puzzling that there were no written prohibitions against what they did -- but there is a difference.  One is negotiating; one is accounting.

There are even more receivers to catch deals in the past couple days, and there will be more to come. Meanwhile, Dwayne Bowe and Wes Welker – saddled with the Tag – can only watch and wait.

Follow me on Twitter at adbrandt.

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