The Detroit Lions' two big moves on Wednesday were a re-signing and a free agency pull. Haloti Ngata inked a two-year deal with Detroit, while Marvin Jones reportedly signed for five years. Details on the contracts emerged later in the day. Here's a look:
Jones received a five-year, $40 million contract, but the breakdown of that deal is more important than those raw numbers. Jones received an $8 million signing bonus spread over five years, and a $2 million roster bonus this year. Here's the yearly breakdown along with the annual cap hit (courtesy of OverTheCap.com):
As you can see, the contract is a bit front loaded in terms of dead money. After the first two years of his contract, the Lions can cut ties with Jones and save a good amount of cap space. This is in pretty stark contrast to contracts under Martin Mayhew, who tended to restructure contracts to have heavy dead money toward the end of the contract. If the Lions get cap-strapped at any point, they could do the same to this contract, but for now this is essentially a two or three year contract for Jones that the Lions could slip out of if things don't work out.
Ngata re-signed to Detroit on a two-year, $12 million deal according to FOX Sports' Alex Marvez:
This is compared to last year, when the Lions traded for Ngata and absorbed the last year on his contract for $8.5 million. The Lions will pay a little less for Ngata this time around, but the second year is the more interesting part of the deal. Dave Birkett has the details:
More specifics on Haloti Ngata's 2-year deal: $4M signing bonus. $2M base this year, $5.5M base next. Per game roster bonuses of $250k total— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 10, 2016
So this is what Ngata's cap hit looks like year-by-year:
|Base Salary||Signing Bonus||Roster Bonus||Total|
|2016||$2 Million||$2 Million||$218,750||$4.22 million|
|2017||$5.5 Million||$2 Million||$250,000*||$7.75 million|
*Subject to change based on 2016 play time
Ngata's roster bonus is $15,625 per game that he's on the active gameday roster, per Dave Birkett. So if he is active for all 16 games, he will earn that $250,000. However, his cap hit is actually slightly less, because the roster bonus hit is based on his Likely To Be Earned (LTBE) number. In other words, the cap hit is based off a projection on how much of that bonus Ngata will earn. That projection is based on his performance last year. Ngata was active in 14 games last season, so his roster bonus cap hit is actually $218,750 in 2016. His 2017 cap hit will be based on his performance in 2016.
If that sounds confusing, let me simplify things. Because Ngata will be paid all of the guaranteed money in his first year ($4 million signing bonus plus his $2 million base salary), the Lions could cut Ngata after one year and only owe him $2 million in dead money.