Real numbers behind NFL deals often don't add up

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — NFL contracts are typically a lot of hot air. The numbers announced are often maximum value and most players don’t come close to seeing maximum value because they are cut before the end of the deal.

We’re still waiting on the final numbers from offensive tackle Rick Wagner’s five-year pact, but the contracts are in for the two defensive linemen the Detroit Lions signed, Akeem Spence and Cornelius Washington.

Lions deliver big money to ‘blue-collar’ Rick Wagner

Let’s break them down, to give context to the numbers:

Defensive tackle Akeem Spence received a three-year, $10.5 million deal. That included a $2.25 million signing bonus that will be spread evenly over the duration of the contract. The base salaries are $1.25 million, $2.4 million and $2.15 million. Additionally, the Lions worked in per game bonuses of $15,625 for each week he’s active on game day. Finally, in 2018 and 2019, he has $100,000 workout bonuses and playing-time bonuses, which would allow him to earn up to another $750,000 each year.

Spence’s cap hit in 2017 will be $2.25 million. If, after one season, the Lions feel it’s not working out, they could move on with just $1.5 million in dead money, the remainder of the signing bonus.

As for Washington, his two-year $5.825 million deal came with a $1.5 million signing bonus and base salaries of $1.24 million and $2.39 million. Like Spence, he has a per game active roster bonus of $15,625 and annual $100,000 workout bonuses. Additionally, there’s up to $1 million playing time bonus and a performance bonus tied to sacks, which caps out at $1.25 million in 2017.

Washington’s 2017 cap hit will be $2.32 million.

Twitter: @justin_rogers