According to Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports Shutdown Corner the Green Bay Packers have renegotiated the contract for K Mason Crosby, more or less assuring him the job of Kicker. Per the report Crosby reduced his salary from $2.4 million to $800,000 and will earn $800,000 in roster bonuses if he is active during the year. If he achieves a certain accuracy level he can earn his $800,000 in a bonus, thus giving him a chance to earn his entire salary for the season. For cap purposes the $800,000 does not count against the 2013 salary cap, allowing Green Bay to save $800,000 in cap room.
The pay reduction likely comes as a result of a Kicker competition that the Packers had been staging in camp. Crosby, by far the most highly compensated of the group, was likely given an ultimatum that he would be cut unless he took a more team friendly contract. Many teams do this during camp to force players into pay cuts. Considering that two recently released Kickers, Rian Lindell and Dan Carpenter, only found jobs for the respective minimum salaries the market was certainly not going to treat Crosby that well either giving Green Bay all the leverage needed.
This contract is significantly more team friendly for two reasons. The first is that if Crosby lands on IR before the roster bonuses kick in the Packers are only liable for his $800,000 P5 salary. Prior to the renegotiation they would have been liable for the full $2.4 million. Secondly the contract calls for roster bonuses which are not protected under the termination pay clauses. Termination pay only protects Paragraph 5 Salary in a given year so Crosby’s only guarantee is the $800,000 rather than the full $2.4 million. This is of extreme importance because Crosby only hit 63% of his FG’s in 2012 and Green Bay did not want to be locked into $2.4 million of guarantees again if he played poorly in 2013.
Just to throw some guarantees into the contract Green Bay guaranteed his P5 if he is on the roster on September 7, the day before their first game. Considering the salary automatically guarantees the following day that seems to be a meaningless concession. The date of that guarantee does still leave the door open for another kicker to claim the job. The reason that the deal was renegotiated yesterday was, in part, because of salary cap rules. After the final preseason game any roster bonuses used in a contract are treated as a signing bonus, so Green Bay could not afford to wait until after the final preseason game to approach Crosby about a pay cut using this same system. Still I would imagine that this is a good sign that they want him to keep the job since he was willing to give them the protections they wanted.
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.