When news broke of Jordy Nelson's new contract on Saturday morning, public opinion from Packers fans was overwhelmingly positive. In addition to the $4 million or so he's making in 2014, he got an additional four years and $39 million, with a $11.5 million signing bonus. Not bad.
We learned some details today about how his contract is structured, and wanted to put together our best guess at the full structure of the deal from now through 2018. Joel Corry of CBS broke down some of the details of the deal:
Jordy Nelson's '14 base salary goes from $3.05M to $2M in his new deal. His per game roster bonus increases to $500,000 ($31,250 per game).— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) July 28, 2014
Jordy Nelson's '14-'18 base salaries are $2M, $1.3M, $5.5M, $8.25M & $9.25M.— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) July 28, 2014
Jordy Nelson has $500,000 46-man active roster bonuses ($31,250 per game) each year & $500,000 workout bonuses in '15-'18.— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) July 28, 2014
Using those data points, we can project how the deal is constructed for salary cap purposes, and it appears to shake out like this:
|Year||Base Salary||Signing Bonus||Total Prorated SB||Roster Bonus||Workout Bonus||Total Actual Compensation||Salary Cap No.|
Note that the prorated signing bonus in 2014 also includes $875,000 from Nelson's previous contract, which Corry pointed out.
Those cap hits in 2014 and 2015 are still miniscule for the likely production that the Packers can expect to receive.
Also, It is worth noting that only $14.2 million of the contract is guaranteed - that consists of Nelson's signing bonus, probably his 2014 base salary, and possibly some of his 2015 salary.
UPDATE: In fact, only Nelson's $11.5 million signing bonus is guaranteed. The rest of the contract is not, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky:
Nelson's SB was indeed $11.5 million, which is the only guaranteed money in the deal.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) July 29, 2014
Looking at this deal, it appears clear that the 2017 and 2018 years (and possibly even 2016) will be ripe for a restructuring. With so much of those years wrapped up in base salary, it is only logical to expect that Ted Thompson will want to shift back some of the cap hit for those years out into the future. Furthermore, it makes sense for Thompson and company to minimize the cap hit in 2014 and 2015, with the expectation that the salary cap will take another big jump in future years when the NFL's new TV contracts kick in.
In any case, the first two years of this contract should be very team-friendly. Expect Nelson to out-perform his cap hit in those years.