So Mike Wallace signed a five-year, $60 million deal, right? It had $30 million in guaranteed money, right?
According to spotrac.com (very good website), records at the NFL Players Association and a source who has shared details with me, Wallace actually got $27 million in guaranteed money.
He got an $11 million signing bonus plus a guaranteed $1 million base salary in 2013. And his 2014 base salary of $15 million is guaranteed. That's $27 million guaranteed.
But the Dolphins also gave Wallace a $3 million guarantee if he's injured. That one only applies if the player's career ends and he cannot play out the final years of his deal.
So the agent can truthfully say it is a $30 million guarantee.
The beauty of the contract is Wallace's cap number is only $3.2 million in 2013. That's very, very low for a $60 million player.
The beast of the contract, however, is Wallace's cap number in 2014 shoots up to a whopping $17.2 million. That is the highest number of any NFL wide receiver save Larry Fitzgerald.
The numbers drop somewhat the following years. The 2015 base of $9,850,000 plus the $2,200,000 prorated signing bonus make the 2015 cap number a more managable $12.05 million. Interestingly, the base salary becomes completely guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year, according to spotrac.com
That means that if the Dolphins plan to keep Wallace that year, they simply do nothing. But if he has not lived up to his deal the previous two years and the team wants to cut ties, it will do so before that deadline.
Wallace's final two years -- 2016 and 2017 -- are mirror images financially. He's scheduled to earn $11,450,000 both years and cost $13,650,000 against the cap both years.
As an aside, I offer you the Chris Clemons contract:
One year. $2.75 million. It contains $250,000 in signing bonus and a base salary of $2.5 million.
What does this mean?
The Dolphins like Chris Clemons.
They do not love Chris Clemons.
He's on the team to compete for a starting job. But if the Dolphins find someone better in the draft, he's still cheap enough to play on special teams and the contract makes it possible that he can even be cut for a relatively inexpensive $250,000 hit.
If I'm Chris Clemons, I work hard because I know I have a chance to start. But I don't feel all that safe.