Terms of the contract between the Green Bay Packers and their most recent free agent signing, Julius Peppers, have finally been filed to the NFL Player's Association. We now know that Peppers will carry a salary cap hit of only $3.5 million for the 2014 season.
Here are the numbers, courtesy of USA Today's Tom Pelissero:
Been on a plane so this might be out but Julius Peppers' deal with #Packers is 3 years, $26M. Got a $7.5M bonus, $1M base in 2014.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 17, 2014
Peppers has a base salary of $8.5M in 2015 and $7M in '16. Can earn another $1M in bonuses those last 2 years, plus escalators.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 17, 2014
Now that we know the basic structure of the deal, we can break it down year-by-year below:
|Year||Base Salary||Signing Bonus Deferral||Roster/Workout Bonuses||Salary Cap Hit||Actual Money|
|2014||$1 M||$2.5 M||$0||$3.5 M||$8.5 M|
|2015||$8.5 M||$2.5 M||$1 M||$12 M||$9.5 M|
|2016||$7 M||$2.5 M||$1 M||$10.5 M||$8 M|
As you can see, this is a rather back-loaded contract from a salary cap standpoint, but it is pretty flat in terms of actual money. The cap hit of just $3.5 million allows the team to try to hold some flexibility to sign another veteran free agent or two and still try to extend the contracts of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
If the Packers choose to cut Peppers before the 2015 season, they would absorb approximately $5 million on their salary cap for 2015, thanks to the deferred signing bonus. However, only that bonus and his 2014 salary are guaranteed, so they will not be on the hook for any of Peppers' 2015 or 2016 money.
Ultimately, this deal is structured in a way that allows the Packers to maintain financial flexibility for the rest of this offseason while allowing them to get out from under the contract next season if Peppers does not live up to the deal.