Joel Corry of CBS sports was the first to get the official breakdown of 2015 number 1 pick Jameis Winston’s new contract with the Tampa Bay Buccneers.
The 2015-2018 salary cap numbers for Jameis Winston’s fully GTD $25,351,277 deal are $4,609,323, $5,761,654, $6,913,985 & $8,066,315.
— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) May 5, 2015
Winston received a $16,697,292 signing b0nus as part of the contract and will receive yearly roster bonuses in training camp that improve the cash flows of the contract for Winston.
The signing bonus represents a large increase over the bonuses awarded to the prior four number 1 picks, who all received signing bonuses of $14,518,544. The reason for the increase lies in decisions made in 2012 to prevent the signing bonus money from falling below 2011 levels despite a small increase in the salary cap.
The CBA mandated annual increases or decreases in rookie payouts, both in the first year of a contract and in a total, that would be tied to the yearly movement of the salary cap. However, the equation used for the first year payout in the CBA failed to account for the normal rise ($15,000) in minimum compensation that occurs each year for rookies in the event the cap rose less than approximately 3.5%. What that meant is that even though the salary cap would increase the signing bonuses received by the incoming rookies was actually going to decrease.
It was noted to me from a source that to avoid this from occuring the NFL and NFLPA agreed to a signing bonus freeze in 2012 and the years thereafter. Basically they borrowed from future years rookie pools and would pay that back when the cap began to rise significantly. Because last year’s salary cap was so high the offsets were all used up by the NFL and the rookie pool rose as negotiated. The reason the increase seems so large is it is evidently being calculated based off of what the numbers should have been in 2014.
I had updated our draft estimates last week to reflect this anticipated change and from the look of the actual numbers the OTC estimates will be pretty close. I will probably make some added minor tweaks to better pinpoint the numbers but these should be relatively accurate if my understanding of the formula is correct.
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.