When the Bills first announced they were retaining Tyrod Taylor on a restructured contract, the concept of pushing money into the later years of the deal, thus lowering his cap hit for this upcoming season may have crossed your mind. Similar to a credit card transaction that strategy provides short term financial relief, but that money must be eventually and could have wound up handicapping the Bills in future offseasons.
Taylor’s restructure however, is essentially an entirely new deal. Instead of picking up the option on the original five-year $90 million contract and shifting money around, this is a two-year deal worth $30.5 million. It includes a $7 million signing bonus and $15.5 million is guaranteed to Taylor at signing.
Those are the basics of the deal, but the deeper logistics can be a bit complicated. Let’s break it down.
First, let’s take a look at the original deal Taylor signed last summer, courtesy of Spotrac.
As you can see, outside of the 2016 numbers, the rest of the yearly figures are crossed out because they’ve been voided. That’s right, so that option the Bills had until Saturday to pick up? Gone, and with it goes that $30.75 million that would have been guaranteed to Taylor upon exercising the option.
All that remains from last summer’s deal is $2,853,334 in signing bonus fees. That number was derived from a combination of the $3.4 million signing bonus Taylor received in that 2016 deal, + an additional $266,667 that carried over from Taylor’s 2015 signing bonus when he first joined the team, – the $813,333 proration figured not crossed out above. That means it’s already been paid. Now technically, all that signing bonus money was paid to Taylor upfront when he signed each contract, but the luxury of a signing bonus is that it can be prorated or spread out over the life of the contract to help manage the cap.
If you’re still a little confused I’ll break it down individually.
On his his first contract, Taylor had a signing bonus of $400,000. That number was prorated over the life of the contract (three years). It would have looked like this
The third year of that deal was ultimately voided because of a clause in the contract that promised as much if Taylor started more than half the team’s games in the first season, leaving $266,667 in signing bonus money, which was accelerated onto the 2016 cap. Now entering a contract year, the Bills decided to extend Taylor’s contract ahead of last season, with the five-year $90 millon deal above.
Adding the remaining $266,667 from the previous signing bonus to that new one $3.4 million signing bonus, brings us to $3,666,667 in signing bonus fees that Buffalo had to prorate over the life of the five-year deal. Of that, just $813,333 was paid in 2016, leaving $2,853,334 to carry over to this latest deal. That figure won’t technically be reflected in the basic description of the new deal, but it’s there.
To understand, lets take a look at the new, two-year, $30.5 million contract, once again courtesy of Spotrac.
Ok so if the first thing you’re wondering when you look at the framework of this deal is: if it’s a two-year deal, how come the signing bonus is prorated into 2021? Don’t worry, you’re not alone in asking that. Basically, the original framework of the deal (five years) remains intact for the sole purpose of prorating the signing bonus over more years. The deal actually voids after the 2018 season, leaving the remaining signing bonus prorations to accelerate onto the Bills 2019 salary cap. That figure would be about $5.56 million.
As Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News reported, starting in 2019 the contract will run on a year-to-year basis where the Bills can decide whether or not to extend Taylor in each individual year. This structure leaves the Bills with an easy escape route after each of the next two seasons. This deal couldn’t be much more team friendly.
Now before we get into more specifics of this two-year deal, remember that the remaining $2,853,334 million from previous two signing bonuses has been carried over onto this contract. The box labeled ‘signing bonus’ at the top of the image only accounts for the $7 million signing bonus included in the new deal. However, if you go through and add up each individual prorated signing bonus figure…
$2,213,334 + ($2,080,000×3) + $1,400,000 = one lump some of $9,853,334
Another way to look at it is…
$7,000,000 (the new signing bonus) + 2,853,334 (the money remaining from the two previous signing bonuses
It’s all there, and it’s money already in Taylor’s wallet, but that hasn’t been accounted for in the Bills cap yet.
In year one, you’ll notice Taylor’s 2017 base salary and prorated signing bonus figure combine for a cap hit of $9.7 million. That figure is $6.2 million less than the $15.9 million cap hit the quarterback would have held had Buffalo opted to pick up the option in the previous contract. That previous deal would have also paid Taylor $10 million more ($40.5 million) over the next two years, than this new one ($30.5). Naturally, Taylor’s dead cap hit if the Bills were to cut him before this upcoming season is north of $17 million; obviously that ain’t happening. This new deal means they’re committed to him, at the very least, for 2017.
That dead cap figure consists of the 2017 base salary of $7.5, the new $7 million signing bonus and the carry over signing bonus amount of $2,853,334.
In case you need to visualize it…
$7,500,000 + $7,000,000 + $2,835,334 = $17,353,334
In year two, the cap hit nearly doubles to $18.08 million and includes a $10 million base salary, a $6 million roster bonus – paid for being on the roster on a certain day next year – as well as a signing bonus proration of $2.08 million.
You’ll also notice that the dead cap hit in the second year drops from $17,353,334 to $8,640,000. Again, the dead cap figure is the amount of cap space that would be taken up if the team were to cut that player. It basically consists of all the guaranteed money the team still has invested in that player, in that year. So if Buffalo decided to part ways with Taylor and eat the $8.64 million, they’d have to release him prior to his 2018 base salary and roster bonus payments locking in, or else the dead cap hit would jump to more than $23 million.
Now, prior to all that extra stuff kicking in, that original $8.64 dead cap figure should account for all the remaining guaranteed money invested in that player. In this case, that includes the remaining prorated signing bonus amounts, and just $1 million of his 2018 base salary. Let’s add those numbers up…
$2,080,000 + $2,080,000 + $2,080,000 + $1,400,000 + $1,000,000 = $8,640,000
Perfect. That number is still a bit high if Buffalo was to contemplate releasing Taylor next offseason, but manageable enough where they can weigh their options again if they still don’t believe he’s “the guy.” Given their cryptic statement on bringing him back and the reported interest in veteran QB Brian Hoyer, that’s a very real possibility.
Hopefully this helped break down the specifics of Taylor’s new deal. If you have any further questions on it, feel free to leave them in the comments or Tweet me: @Spencito6