As you know, the Seattle Seahawks removed the $8.304 million dollar franchise tag from linebacker Leroy Hill after selecting Aaron Curry with the 4th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. The Seahawks had been offering Hill a six-year, $36 million dollar contract, which Hill had turned down, and removing the franchise tag was a calculated gamble on the Seahawks' part to help spur negotiations towards a long-term contract.
That gamble paid off, with Hill agreeing to a six-year, $38 million dollar deal on the eve of last weekend's mini-camp. Hill's deal has been reported as being very similar to the original, 6-year/$36 million dollar offer, but with some incentives added to push to total maximum value to $38 million dollars.
Here are some of the details of Hill's contract:
Hill's base salaries listed above are according to NFLPA records, and they total $31.5 million dollars. Signing bonus data is not available at this time, but it can be safely assumed that, based on the reported value of Hill's deal ($38M), any signing bonus, if any, would be less than $6.5 million dollars.
One could deduce that Hill received a $4.5 million dollar signing bonus, which combined with all his base salaries, would equal the original $36 million dollars the Seahawks were offering him. Additionally, a signing bonus of $4.5M, when combined with Hill's 2009 and 2010 base salaries, equals the $15.5 million dollars in guaranteed money the deal reportedly contains.
Player contracts are often much more nuanced than that, though, so until further details are known, I won't jump to those conclusions.
Here a conclusion I can make: Hill's first-year cap number will fall somewhere between $5 and $6.3 million dollars, or at least $2 million dollars less than it would have been had he played this season under the one-year franchise tag. That cap savings has already been used on a potential starting cornerback and improved depth in the backfield.
UPDATE: ESPN.com's Mike Sando is reporting that Hill received no signing bonus. Instead, he'll receive a $2 million dollar option bonus in 2010 and a $2.5 million dollar roster bonus in 2011. Based on that information, Hill's cap figures look like this:
Hill's Cap Figures
Additional Contract Info
Cornerback Ken Lucas is signed for one year at $2.3 million dollars.
Fullback Justin Griffith is signed for one year at $620,000. Griffith likely received a signing bonus of $50,000, which would qualify for the "Minimum Salary Benefit", meaning his cap charge would be just $460,000.
Rookie free agents Michael Bennett (DE, Texas A&M), Tony Fein (LB, Mississippi), Devin Moore (RB, Wyoming), Dave Philistin (LB, Maryland), Andre Ramsey (OT, Ball State), and Tyler Roehl (RB, North Dakota State) each signed two-year deals at the minimum base salaries for 2009 ($310,000) and 2010 ($395,000).
Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com), writes for FalconInsider.com, and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you’d like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.