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Jimmy Graham Contract Details: Packers give tight end $11 million guaranteed

Graham gets a bigger signing bonus than initially expected.

Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Last week, when the initial reports of the contract between Jimmy Graham and the Green Bay Packers were leaked, we at Acme Packing Company theorized a possible structure for the three-year, $30 million contract between the two parties. On Sunday night, however, the bulk of the actual structure of the deal was reported, so we can devise the actual breakdown of the deal.

Our initial estimate put Graham’s signing bonus at $7.5 million, but we underestimated by quite a bit; instead, the real bonus is reportedly $11 million, which spreads more money out over the final two seasons of the contract. That bonus gets applied as $3.67 million over each of the three years of the deal, and it represents the only guaranteed money and thus the only potential dead money on the deal.

Graham also reportedly has a $5 million roster bonus due early next March, so the Packers can get out of the deal after just one year if they so choose. Doing so would cost the Packers about $7.333 million in dead money, but it would still save over $5 million against the cap thanks to the remaining contract structure.

Finally, we know the cap hits and the base salaries on this contract. Based on that, we are estimating the breakdown of the per-game active roster bonuses and workout bonuses at $300,000 and $250,000 per year respectively. We know those two categories of compensation sum to $550,000 per year, but exactly how that money is divided was not yet reported.

One other interesting note is that the Packers reportedly have the flexibility to shift some of Graham’s cap hit in year 2 out to year 3 by guaranteeing the $5 million roster bonus due next March. By doing so, that would split that bonus in half, applying it evenly over 2019 and 2020. That would change the cap hits from $12.67M in 2019 and $11.67M in 2020 to $10.17M and $14.17M respectively.

With this deal now on the books, the Packers reportedly have about $20 million in salary cap space remaining for 2018, assuming that Muhammad Willkerson’s deal counts at $5 million against the cap.

See below for the full contract structure, noting that the per-game and workout bonuses may be divided slightly differently.

Jimmy Graham Contract

Year Base Salary Signing Bonus Amortized Bonus Roster Bonus Per-Game Roster Bonuses* Workout Bonus* Cap Hit Cash
Year Base Salary Signing Bonus Amortized Bonus Roster Bonus Per-Game Roster Bonuses* Workout Bonus* Cap Hit Cash
2018 $1.45 $11.00 $3.67 $0.30 $0.25 $5.67 $13.00
2019 $3.45 $3.67 $5.00 $0.30 $0.25 $12.67 $9.00
2020 $7.45 $3.67 $0.30 $0.25 $11.67 $8.00