I'll be honest, when I first heard that tight end Brandon Pettigrew agreed to a four-year deal with the Detroit Lions, I wasn't exactly thrilled. And when I heard that he got a deal worth $16 million, I especially wasn't thrilled. However, a closer look at Pettigrew's contract reveals that it's actually a pretty good deal for the Lions, all things considered.
According to Aaron Wilson, Pettigrew got a $4 million signing bonus, and he's set to have a base salary of $1.2 million in 2014. This gives him a cap hit of only $2.2 million for the upcoming season.
Next year, Pettigrew's base salary is scheduled to go up to $2.8 million, giving him a $3.8 million cap hit. This means that between the signing bonus and base salaries, he is scheduled to earn around $8 million in the first two years of his deal.
The base salaries in the final two years of Pettigrew's contract are scheduled to be $3.65 million and $4.35 million. What this means is that if Pettigrew doesn't perform to their liking in the next couple years, the Lions could theoretically cut him in 2016, save $8 million and take a cap hit of only $2 million that year. That's not bad by any means, especially when you put the deal in this context:
Pettigrew got less than I expected. $4 million per season ranks 15th among TEs, behind Delanie Walker.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) March 14, 2014
Like I said, I wasn't overly thrilled that the Lions brought Pettigrew back. His inconsistency over the years has been frustrating, and it seemed like the Lions overrated him a bit internally. Then again, when you consider how the Lions structured his contract and take into account how few options they had at tight end in free agency, I suppose they could have done a lot worse than re-signing Pettigrew.