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Re: Bye Bye Chicago
posted at 1/7/2014 6:24 PM EST
In response to DeadAhead2's comment:
In response to pcmIV's comment:
In some sense this contract is a perfect example about how all unguaranteed money is not created equal and that more nuance is needed when looking at NFL contracts than just guaranteed and unguaranteed money. How that guaranteed money is accounted for via the salary cap is important too. In the case of Cutler's contract all of the unguaranteed money is actually unguaranteed in the sense that they can cut him in any time after year 3 with no salary cap implications.
Now consider a contract like Flacco's. Flacco signed a similar deal with 52 million in guaranteed money. Consider that in 2016 Flacco is set to earn 18 million dollars in salary that is technically unguaranteed. However cutting Flacco in 2016 would incur over 25 million in dead money. The same sort of situation exists in 2017 because of the salary cap accounting the Ravens used to make his contract more affordable from a cap perspective in the first few years. The point is that while those high base salaries are not technically guaranteed the Ravens can't afford to eat the cap hit from terminating the contract in those years which means for all intents and purposes he is going to see that money one way or another. That money is essentially guaranteed even though it doesn't get presented that way in the anaylsis of the contract. Many contracts for high paid players are like this, but Cutler's is not. The guarantee really is just the first 3 years. It is a much better deal for the Bears which they can afford to do since they can afford to eat Cutler's cap number in the first few years.
Cutler was drafted in 2006. He won't be doing any improving. He is what he is. I believe there is dead money if they just cut him, too, so that is as guaranteed as guaranteed money gets.
Not after the 2016 season. There is zero dead money if they cut him at any point after the 2016 season. There is very little chance they would find a suitable replacement before then with or without Cutler on the roster; the only thing this assures is that they don't overpay for one of those flash-in-the-pan career backups who always seem to get big money deals in free agency, and never work out (think Matt Schaub, Matt Flynn, Kevin Kolb, Matt Cassel). If they want, there is no reason they couldn't draft a QB to develop even THIS year.
Until then, a cap charge of 18 million for your starting QB does NOT put you in "cap hell."