Introducing “New” Guaranteed Salary

We added a new feature to OTC today which I hope can paint guaranteed salary in a new light. For whatever reason when we discuss contracts we almost always use the new money averages when comparing contract values, but when it comes to guarantees we do not do the same. That makes the comparison between free agent guaranteed salaries and extension guaranteed salaries a bit difficult. So now we have a new table where we can view how much “new” money was actually guaranteed.

The way we calculate the new guarantee is by simply backing out any existing (“old money”) out of the guarantee . We don’t care if the salary was or was not guaranteed before since in about 90-95% of the cases it was virtually guaranteed already. Why do we say it was virtually guaranteed? Well if I am offering a player a contract extension worth $20 million a year, certainly I was going to be paying that player whatever his salary was in the current year even if it wasn’t guaranteed on a piece of paper. The exceptions are the few veteran players who signed an extension with two years remaining on their prior contract as it is possible that second year of “old money” was not virtually guaranteed in the event of a disaster season. Since that is a pretty small percentage of the NFL population we do not make that distinction in the calculation.

My hope is that this evens out the playing field a bit and puts a little more perspective on what is often given up in an extension since the focus is so much on the total guarantee rather than the percentage of the new contract that carries a guarantee. While there are reasons that extended players should be guaranteed less than a free agent this may help close some of that gap rather than just blindly putting out that in August that “player X signed a four year extension worth $100 million with $80 million guaranteed” with no context when the player was already set to earn $20 million in a season set to start four weeks from now. The real guarantee on that contract is $60 million if we want to compare apples to apples and that player probably deserved a bigger number.

There are going to be a few players who are off on the calculations, mainly players who have been traded and late season extension. This is something Ill iron out over time, but I think this will be a good tool for better discussing extensions signed this offseason and comparing them to some of the free agents contracts that come down.

You can view the new guaranteed table at this link. You can filter by team and position and sort by whatever column you choose.