A detailed look at Patrick Willis' contract (and what it means for Chris Johnson)

We're all aware of Patrick's recent 5 year $50 million extension and at the time there was much confusion as to how the money breaks down. Thanks to Tre9 for linking to Football Outsiders which has a great breakdown of the numbers plus what it could mean for Chris Johnson.

The first thing that we were getting wrong is looking only at base salary. To quote Football Outsiders:

For the purpose of 30-percent rule calculation, "salary" is defined as base salary plus amounts not treated as signing bonus (for example, option bonus proration and roster bonuses). Willis' 2009 salary of $500,000 plus $1.16 million comprised of amounts not treated as signing bonus resulted in a 30-percent rule "salary" of $1.66 million. This "salary" is then multiplied by 30 percent, resulting in an increase/decrease threshold of $498,000.

That makes things much more easy to navigate.

Rookie Contract -- 30-Percent Rule Threshold Base
Year Base Salary Option Proration Roster Bonus "Salary" 30 Percent Threshold
2009 $500,000 $1.06 million $100,000 $1.66 million $498,000

New Contract -- 30-Percent Rule Threshold Base
Year Base Salary Option Proration Roster/
Workout Bonus
"Salary" YOY Increase
2010 $1.098 million $1.06 million $0 $2.158 million $498,000
2011 $1.596 million $1.06 million $0 $2.656 million $498,000
2012 $1.904 million $0 $1.25 million $3.154 million $498,000
2013 $2.402 million $0 $1.25 million $3.652 million $498,000
2014 $2.900 million $0 $1.25 million $4.15 million $498,000
2015 $3.398 million $0 $1.25 million $4.648 million $498,000
2016 $3.896 million $0 $1.25 million $5.146 million $498,000

 

New Contract -- Amounts Not Considered in 30-Percent Rule
Signing Bonus $15.5 million
2011 Supercede Signing Bonus $4.8 million
2014 P5 Escalator $2.385 million
2015 P5 Escalator $3.667 million
2016 P5 Escalator $4.039 million

 

His contract includes easily reached incentives from 2014-2016 totalling $10.1 million. To reach these escalators the Niners defense has to improve in any CBA accepted category from year to year. So if the Niners are ranked 15th overall in sacks in 2013 if they move up to 14th overall in 2014 Willis gets his bonus money. If in 2014 the Niners are ranked 20th overall in INTs and move to 19th he gets his bonus. 

 

What does this mean for Chris Johnson? Based off recent extensions of Maurice-Jones Drew and Stephen Jackson it might go down like this. 

Rookie Contract -- 30-Percent Rule Threshold Base
Year Base Salary Option Proration Roster Bonus "Salary" 30-Percent Threshold
2009 $385,000 $965,000 $0 $1.35 million $405,000

 

 

New Contract -- 30-Percent Rule Threshold Base
Year Base Salary Option Proration Bonus "Salary" YOY Increase
2010 $790,000 $965,000 $0 $1.755 million $405,000
2011 $945,000 $965,000 $250,000 $2.16 million $405,000
2012 $1.35 million $965,000 $250,000 $2.565 million $405,000
2013 $1.97 million $0 $1 million $2.97 million $405,000
2014 $2.375 million $0 $1 million $3.375 million $405,000

 

New Contract -- Amounts Not Considered in 30-Percent Rule
Signing Bonus $6.75 million
2011 Supercede Signing Bonus $2.25 million
2013 P5 Escalator $1.5 million
2014 P5 Escalator $2.13 million

 

The deal would include a signing bonus of $11 million and guaranteed money of $5.5 million per year

 

To quote Football Outsiders again:

This hypothetical deal represents a two-year extension worth $19 million in new money for an average per year of $9.5 million. The deal guarantees $11 million with a guarantee per year of $5.5 million. The 2013 and 2014 P5 Salary Escalators would be achieved, similar to Willis, if the Titans improve in any CBA approved offensive category once over the term of the deal.


This deal and the Willis deal are primarily achievable due to the presence of option bonus proration in their rookie contracts. Option bonus proration helps increase the 30-percent rule "salary" number, which in turn provides for a higher 30-percent rule threshold. Unfortunately for the Eagles' DeSean Jackson, he did not have an option bonus in his rookie contract because he was picked in the second round.

 

This seems easy enough to do and I'm not sure why the Titans aren't talking about it with Johnson and his agent. Maybe they're waiting 'til the end of the next season and the status of the CBA before making a move. Should be easily doable though. 

Today the NFL is reporting that the team wants to meet with Johnson and his agent to have contract talks. Apparently they had met earlier with Johnson's agent and had kept that secret to avoid a media circus. Maybe something will get done for Johnson after all. 

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