Earlier this week, we broke the news of Bears QB Jay Cutler‘s two-year contract extension, which includes $20 million in guaranteed money and $30 million in new money overall.
Here’s a full breakdown of the contract, from a league source, and a quick take on what it all means:
Culter’s rookie deal had roughly $20 million left on it, with base salaries of $1.03 million in 2009, $1.4 million in 2010 and $1.8 million in 20011. It also had a $4 million roster bonus in 2010 and a $12 million roster bonus in 2011 (which could be a year of a work stoppage, depending on the outcome of collective bargaining agreement talks). Thus, add that up, and it’s $20.2 million.
Here’s how the new contract works:
Cutler receives a $7 million signing bonus and a $9.7 million base salary in 2009. Add in the $365,000 he already had earned in 2009 based on game checks, and Cutler now earns $17 million this season, all of that guaranteed.
In 2010, his base salary jumps to $7 million, with $3.3 million of that guaranteed (so now we’re up to $20 million guaranteed, which is where that original figure comes from).
In 2011, Cutler’s base salary is $7.6 million; in 2012 (the first year of the actual extension), his base is $7.7 million, and in 2013, his base is $8.47 million. He also has a $500,00 workout bonus in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, and, as quarterbacks always are around during the offseason, he can pretty much bank on that $2 million as well.
So, Cutler’s new total compensation package is $49.5 million, for an average annual compensation of $9.8 million, which is more than reasonable for a stud young quarterback. But if you look at the new money in the deal, Cutler’s average annual compensation for the two new years on the deal is $14.7 million, which puts him fourth among all quarterbacks. And, obviously, he receives $17 million in 2009, rather than the $1.03 million salary he was previously owed.
From the Bears’ standpoint, they lock up a franchise QB at a manageable rate, and the salary-cap numbers — assuming there is a cap at some point after 2009 (again, depending on the outcome of CBA talks), are ideal. To have a QB of Cutler’s stature at cap figures of $11.7 in 2009 and then $8.9 million, $9.5 million and $10.37 million leaves Chicago with a ton of room to maneuver elsewhere, at what are generally less expensive positions. In terms of the overall percentage of the team’s cap devoted to the QB position — assuming the cap continues to rise in the future — the percentage will go down every year, as the raw cap number barely goes up, while the cap itself has risen about 15 percent per year.
To me, the Bears are rewarded by being proactive in this matter, landing what could be a bargain over time. Cutler receives a significant payday right now, and when this deal is up, he’ll still be just 30 years old and have another shot at a massive contract.