I received a lot of questions on this yesterday due to conflicting reports. I have the details of this restructure so here are the details for the savings on the contract and how the contract itself works.
Beason was scheduled to count $9.5 million against the salary cap. That total was comprised of a $5.25 million base salary, $4 in million prorated money, and a $250,000 workout bonus. The prorated and workout bonus money were already sunk costs and are maintained on the salary cap under any restructure.
Beason’s base salary was cut from $5.25 million to $1 million, which was fully guaranteed. Beason also received a roster bonus of $500,000 paid almost immediately, essentially making it guaranteed. Beason has $2.25 million in incentives in the contract that he can unlock. $1.75 million of incentives are tied to games in which Beason is on the active 46 man roster. What that means is for every week Beason suits up to play he will earn $109,375. If Beason is selected to the Pro Bowl he will earn another $500,000 incentive.
For salary cap purposes both incentives are valued according to the rules of the CBA, which value the incentives based on the prior years performance. Beason was active for 4 games in 2013 so $437,500 of the $1.75 million dollar roster bonus counts towards the salary cap as of today. The remaining $1,312,500 is treated as if it will not be earned and does not currently count against the cap. Once earned that money will immediately count against the cap, which means the Panthers will want to carry at least $1.3 million in space to account for Beason. Beason did not make the Pro Bowl last season and his $500,000 PB incentive is strictly NLTBE. The accrual of that bonus, if earned, does not occur until after the season ends. If earned the Panthers will have a downward adjustment on their cap limit for next season.
The restructure saved the Panthers $3,312,500 in cap room. The remaining seasons of Beason’s contract remain untouched. His cap figure in 2014 remains $10.75 million so, unless he plays at a very high level, expect his contract to be an open discussion again next offseason. Beason’s dead money figure is $8 million in 2014, an extremely high figure, making it advantageous to both sides to work something out. This contract renegotiation was fair for both sides and should show a willingness to compromise in the future.
Beason had signed a $50 million dollar contract extension in 2011 with $20 million in full guarantees. He has only played in 5 games since signing his contract, rupturing his Achilles in 2011 and suffering through knee and shoulder problems last season. If healthy, Beason took a paycut of $2 million for the season. If not healthy the paycut could be as much as $3.75 million. The Panthers now have around $12.8 million in salary cap space, money that they will most likely earmark for carryover to 2014 to offset some of the larger cap charges next season. Carolina is projected to be right around the 2014 cap limit without the carryover.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.