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Monday, February 20, 2012

What might Calvin Johnson's contract look like?

Had someone email me asking what I think CJ's contract would be/could be. Figured I'd post my reply to that email.


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That's a hard one to predict. The Lions haven't had to sign a top tier player (non draft pick) to a new contract in a very long time and most certainly not by Mayhew, Lewand and Schwartz. I'm not entirely sure how they'll handle it. CJ's agent will look at the Larry Fitzgerald contract for the minimum numbers... 8 years, $120 million which included:

$20 million fully guaranteed
$25 million guaranteed for injury
Workout Bonus: $250,000
2012 Option Bonus: $15 million
De-escalators for less than 80 rec.

There was no signing bonus but the Lions are cap strapped so can't afford to do it the same way the Cardinals did. Plus the Lions are already on the hook for $18.5 mill this year in actual paychecks so that would be added to whatever deal could be worked out. The other thing is the Lions tend to like guaranteed money more then signing bonuses and they tend to go shorter periods but may not in this case.

My best guess (and it is a total guess) is this:

6 Year Contract with 5 year Extension. $100 million. $47 million guaranteed. $16.67 million average per year.

2012 Salary $1 million. Signing Bonus $24 million. Cap charge 2012 $5 million plus whats on the books already of roughly $3.2 million for a total cap hit of about $8.2 million. A savings to the Lions of nearly $13.5 million in cap. CJ gets $6.5 mill more in his pocket this year then old contract would've paid... part of his incentive to do it... the $25 mill is all guaranteed.

2013 Salary $3 million. Option Bonus (advance on guaranteed future money or an acceleration bonus) $20 million. Cap charge 2013 $11 million. (first year of new contract, was already under contract for 2012). All $23 million also guaranteed.

2014 Salary $6.5 million. Workout Bonus $500,000. Cap charge 2014 of $15 million.

2015 Salary $13.5 million. Workout Bonus $500,000. Cap charge 2015 of $22 million.

2016 Salary $14.5 million. Workout Bonus $500,000. Cap charge 2016 of $23 million.

2017 Salary $15.5 million. Workout Bonus $500,000. Cap charge 2017 of $24 million.

2018 Free Agent

Now having said all this, the Lions could go in an entirely different direction but I think the contract will have to exceed $15 mill a year average to beat Fitzgerald plus still include what he would've made in 2012 without signing.

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