Breaking down contract extension for Lions LB Christian Jones
Allen Park — Last weekend, the Lions signed linebacker Christian Jones to a two-year contract extension. The numbers for the deal are out, which include some creative changes to the player's earnings both this season and in future years.
First, the deal actually includes an automatically voidable year in 2022. That's important for some of the bonus money that is prorated through the length of the contract.
In 2019, Jones takes a pay cut for the remainder of the season. His previous base salary of $2.45 million is reduced to the veteran minimum $805,000 over the final nine weeks of the season (approximately $426,000).
In exchange for this concession, Jones receives a $1.97 million signing bonus. For cap purposes, that's spread evenly over this season and the next three. Even with that added bonus money, Jones' cap hit for the 2019 season drops from $4.18 million to $3.7 million. It's a small savings that will carry over into next season's space.
In 2020, Jones will collect a fully guaranteed option bonus of $1.8 million, which is evenly spread across the cap over the final three years of the contract, $600,000 each year from 2020-2022.
In addition to the signing bonus, a veteran minimum $820,000 base salary, $230,000 roster bonus ($14,375 per game active) and a $150,000 workout bonus, Jones will carry a cap hit of $2.29 million in 2020.
If he sticks through the 2021 season — which seems more than likely since there will still be more than $2 million in dead money on the contract — the cap hit jumps to $2.83 million, thanks to slight bumps in his base salary, as well as the roster and workout bonuses.
When the deal voids at the start of the new league year in 2022, the Lions will still have $1.09 million in dead money that counts against the cap that year.