As is usually the case in the rush to report details when NFL free agents sign, the actual value of Rams guard Rodger Saffold's contract is different from what was originally reported.
National reporters that usually receive contract details from agents rarely ask key questions about the numbers; they merely pass on what they are told and then move on to the next player.
When Saffold re-signed with the Rams last week for five years, the numbers circulated were $31.7 million with $19.5 million guaranteed.
The actual cash value of the total deal is $31,347,233 million, not including escalators that are included in the contract. The actual money fully guaranteed is $11 million, although there is an additional $8.5 million of base salaries that are currently guaranteed for injury only, but become fully guaranteed if he is on the Rams' roster on the third day of the league year in 2015 and 2016.
The $11 million guarantee, $8 million of which will be paid this year, includes a $5 million signing bonus, $3 million base salary this year and a $3 million roster bonus in 2015. The other $8.5 million is split between base salaries of $4 million in 2015 and $4.5 million in 2016.
The final base salaries are $4,722,233 in 2017 and $5 million in 2018. In addition, there are $375,000 total roster bonuses in 2016, 2017 and 2018 that will be paid on a per-game ($23,438.50) basis.
The cap charge for Saffold's contract this year is $4 million, which is based on his base salary plus $1 million of prorated signing bonus. For the remainder of the contract, assuming he receives all salaries and bonuses, but doesn't trigger any escalators, the cap hit is $8 million in 2015; $5.875 million in 2016; $6,097,233 in 2017; and $7.375 million in 2018
Most attractive to Saffold is the ability he has to void the final two years or the final year of the contract if he reaches unknown incentives. Should Saffold be able to stay healthy, establish himself as a Pro-Bowl guard as the Rams believe he can and hits those incentives in the next three seasons, he could be a free agent again when he is still just 29-years-old.
He would likely to do much better than those final two years of salaries if he was on the market again. Of course, there are also those escalators in his contract that would increase his salaries after the 2014 season should he reach certain incentives.
How much those salaries increase, if they do, could affect his decision whether to exercise his right to void those final two years.
Howard Balzer hosts "H and Friends" Monday-Friday from 9-11 on Fox Sports 1490 The Champ. He is also a host on SiriusXM NFL Radio and one of 44 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.