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Breaking down the Lions free agent contracts of Charles Harris, Kalif Raymond

A deeper dive on the contract details of two recent re-signings.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

We’re now in the middle of free agency’s second wave, but we’ve still got some business to clean up from the first wave. Many of the Detroit Lions signings last week—okay, re-signings—had only basic contract details released to the public. And as we’ve seen time and time again, those numbers can be very misleading. For example, Josh Reynolds’ contract was originally reported as a two-year, $12 million contract, but in reality, it functions much more like a two-year, $6 million contract.

Some more extra contract details were released this week, and, again, it’s a good reminder not to overreact to the original contract terms reported.

So let’s break down the contract terms for both edge defender Charles Harris and wide receiver Kalif Raymond.

Charles Harris — Two years, $13 million ($7 million guaranteed)

Source: Over The Cap

2022

Base salary: $1.035M (guaranteed)
Signing bonus: $5.965M ($1.99M proration per year)
Cap hit: $3.02 million

2023

Base Salary: $6M
Signing bonus: $1.99M proration
Cap hit: $7.99M
Dead cap if cut: $3.98 ($4.01M in savings)

2024 - Voided year

Dead cap: $1.99M

As the Lions have done several times this season, the Lions added a voided year—a year that automatically voids the contract—to help spread out the cap hit of the signing bonus. If the voided year wasn’t there, Harris’ cap hit per year would be an extra $1 million.

And while Harris signed a two-year deal, the Lions have an out after just one season. Harris’ salary balloons to $6 million, but if Detroit wants to part ways after 2022, they’ll only be on the hook for the two remaining salary cap prorations ($3.98M) while taking the $6 million in salary off the books.

But even if they keep Harris on the roster, he’s not costing Detroit much in terms of cap hit in either season. His $3.02 million cap hit this year ranks him along the likes of Jeremiah Attaochu, Angelo Blackson, and Marcus Davenport (who has four voided years).

Kalif Raymond — Two years, $5 million ($2.85 million guaranteed)

Source: PFF’s Doug Kyed

2022

Base salary: $1.3 (guaranteed)
Signing bonus: $1.25M ($625,000 proration per year)
Workout bonus: $50,000
Cap hit: $1,950,000

2023

Base Salary: $1.95M ($300,000 guaranteed)
Signing bonus: $625,000 proration
Workout bonus: $50,000
Roster bonus: $400,000
Cap hit: $3,025,000
Dead cap if cut: $925,000 ($2.1M in savings)

Extra notes:

This is a perfect example of not judging a contract by its initial reporting. This was originally described as a two-year, $9.5 million contract, and as you can see, that is not at all representative of what this deal truly is.

This is essentially a one-year deal for Raymond worth about $2.85 million with a second-year team option to make it a two-year, $5 million deal.

This regime seems to be relying more upon incentives, and there’s a lot here for Raymond to earn. If you’re wondering what a salary escalator is, it’s basically a worked-in raise if Raymond hits certain benchmarks in 2022. If he hits them all, that $1.95 million base salary in 2023 turns into $3.45 million. However, that salary does not appear to be guaranteed (beyond the originally reported $300,000), so he may not even get that raise should he earn it. The Lions could cut him, and he would not see any of that money.

However, the other $1.5 million in incentives appear to be of the bonus variety and would be earned immediately upon reaching those goals.

With Raymond likely fourth or fifth on the depth chart at receiver right now, it will be an uphill battle to reach some of those incentives if they’re offense-related, but it’s a good motivator for Raymond to stay ready in case of injury.