When the basic contract details of Anquan Boldin’s new deal with the Detroit Lions came out, it was clear the veteran receiver was part of the team’s plans in 2016. A basic one-year, $2.75 million contract is pretty big for an aging receiver like Boldin, especially with the $750,000 signing bonus, as first reported by Ian Rapoport. Now, thanks to a report from Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, we know some additional details about Boldin’s contract.
Like many of the contracts that Bob Quinn has constructed this offseason, Boldin’s deal includes several performance-based bonuses. For every week Boldin is on the 53-man roster, he’ll earn bonuses that can total up to $350,000; for every active gameday roster he makes (top 46 players), he’ll make up to $100,000. If Boldin remains healthy, that’s basically an additional $450,000 guaranteed.
Additionally, Boldin has the opportunity to gain bonuses based on his play. According to Birkett:
Boldin's contract includes an additional $1 million in not-likely-to-be-earned bonuses tied to receptions, receiving touchdowns, playtime and being selected to the Pro Bowl.
So here’s the breakdown of what Boldin can earn and what he’ll likely earn. If Boldin plays in every game this year, he’ll earn his $1.55 million base salary, his $750,000 signing bonus and $450,000 in bonuses (providing he doesn’t reach his unlikely performance goals). That’s a total of $2.75 million. That total could be as high as $3.75 million if Boldin becomes one of the best players in the league this year, but that seems unlikely.
In the equally unlikely scenario in which Boldin and the Lions decided to part ways, Boldin is only guaranteed his signing bonus, meaning he would only account for $750,000 in dead money if cut before the end of the season. He wouldn’t earn his base salary of $1.55 million, nor his $450,000 in bonuses for making the roster, nor up to $1 million in performance bonuses.
This contract looks mutually beneficial on all sides. If the Lions realize they made a huge mistake in signing Boldin (which is very unlikely considering he’s already getting first-team reps at training camp), they can cut ties with very little dead money. On the other hand, if Boldin does well, he remains somewhat cheap at $2.75 million with the rare possibility of earning up to $3.75 million.