The Bears dropped over $91 million on the prize of the 2010 Free Agent Class, Julius Peppers. But the numbers could be deceiving. Oh those crafty Bears.
During the Friday presser, GM Jerry Angelo repeatedly thanked Cliff Stein for his hard work in hammering out the blockbuster deal. After reading Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk post I’m starting to understand why Jerry was so appreciative of Stein’s efforts:
Peppers gets $20 million in 2010 (all but a $100,000 workout bonus is guaranteed). But the $22 million in guaranteed money that he’s due to receive in 2011 and 2012 is guaranteed for injury only.
This means that the Bears can decide after the 2010 season to cut Peppers for skill reasons — and they’ll owe him nothing.
Specifically, Peppers’ 2011 base salary of $900,000 is guaranteed for injury at the time it’s signed; on February 10, 2011, it becomes guaranteed for skill. Also, a $10.5 million roster bonus due in 2011 is guaranteed for injury at signing. On February 10, 2011, it becomes guaranteed for skill.
An $8.9 million base salary in 2012 is guaranteed for injury at signing and then for skill as of February 10, 2012
Finally, $1.8 million of Peppers’ 2013 base salary is guaranteed for injury only.
So, basically, if the Bears decide before February 10, 2011 that Peppers isn’t what they thought he’d be, they can treat it as a one-year, $20 million deal, and walk away.
So if you push all the rhetoric aside, the Bears are really on the hook for $20 million. If Peppers doesn’t perform, the Bears have themselves a Get out of Jail Free card.
Of course, we’re all hoping that Peppers racks up about 15 sacks and leads the Bears back to the playoffs and there is no consideration of using any out clause.