Kevin Demoff and Les Snead of the the St. Louis Rams sure do know how to work magic when it comes to free agent signings. You don't have to look farther than the Jake Long contract signed this off season.
Ryan already took a look at the salary cap implications of the Long and Jared Cook signings. Mike Sando of ESPN's NFC West Blog takes a look at the actual numbers involved in Jake's deal. These are the obvious: Jake Long's deal with the Rams is for four years and it's worth $34 million. It averages out to $8.5 million per, if you want to look at it that way. The average per year number is under the $10 million-plus that Jake and his agents reportedly were looking for.
As for the actual per year numbers, they are as follows; Long has a cap count of $4.25 million in 2013. The number then balloons to $9.25 million in 2014. He then counts $10.5 and $10 million in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Now, here is were things get sticky. The deal has a guaranteed salary of up to $16 million in total. "Up to" because the entirety of the guarantees aren't actually fully guaranteed.
Long gets a $5 million signing bonus. That is fully guaranteed. His $3 million base salary for 2013 is also fully guaranteed. The Rams guaranteed $8 million in base salary for 2014 as well. The full 2014 base salary is guaranteed if Long is healthy. Half of the $8 million is guaranteed if Long is injured.
So just to recap; in 2013, Long is entitled to $8 million dollars – five in the form of a signing bonus and three as base salary. That's $8 million in gaurantees in year one. His 2014 base salary is also guaranteed. The total amount of the guaranteed money depends on whether Long can remain healthy. If he stays scratch-free, he'll earn another $8 million. if he gets hurt, the number goes down to $4 million. Again, let's recap: if Jake stays healthy, he'll earn his $16 million in guarantees. If he cannot shake the injury bug, the number goes down to $12 million.
The guaranteed salary is a relatively small amount considering Long has Pro Bowl-caliber ability. The fact that Long can earn his guaranteed salary in the first two years of the the deal also has great implications. If Jake's health further deteriorates or if his play doesn't regain its form, the team can easily cut ties after the 2014 season. If the Rams indeed let Long loose after two years, they'd only be on book for $2.4 million in dead money for the 2015 season, according to Sando.
So there it is, y'all. Let me know what you guys and gals think.