Breaking Down the Contracts of Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner

March 11th, 2014

Pictured: Browns owner Jimmy Haslam on Day One of NFL Free Agency (Photo: Staff Writer: Mikey Tricarichi

I’ve been receiving a lot of questions on twitter regarding details of transactions made by The Cleveland Browns on the first day of the 2014 NFL League Year. I’ll go over them somewhat chronologically. I’ll also touch on other news points of the day that need some explanation.

We’ll start with the adjusted salary cap number that the Cleveland Browns have to work with for the 2014 season. The league-wide cap number per team is set at $133 million. The Browns had about $24.5 million that went unspent from the previous season and thanks to the most recent NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, they have the ability carry it over. USA Today has the 2014 adjusted cap number at $156.9 million.

Next we’ll touch on the available cap room that the Browns can spend on 2014 contracts.

Albert Breer of the NFL network reported this morning that Cleveland is $49 million under their adjusted salary cap number. That figure gives The Browns $107.9 million in current contract obligations as of the morning of March 11th 2014.

Here’s a really quick rundown of how most contracts are treated for the league salary cap:

Signing Bonus – Is considered “guaranteed money”. Gets prorated over the life of the contract (up to 5 years).

Example – Player A receives a $20 million signing bonus on a 4 year deal. To prorate just divide the bonus amount by the amount of years. That gives us a $5 million signing bonus.

Base Salary – Is the amount of money the player will be paid during the season. This amount counts fully on the specific season it is paid.

Example – Along with Player A’s $20 million signing bonus, he has a $2 million base salary. That $2 million will count on that season’s salary cap.

That gives us the basic calculation: Prorated Signing Bonus + Base Salary = Cap Number.

Now we’ll go over the available information on the Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner contracts. (Schefter really killed it today, huh?) Also Aaron Wilson really does a great job getting contract details to make things a LOT easier for me.

Karlos Dansby – Was reported earlier (Good job, good effort, Mary Kay) that $10 million is being paid in year 1. That gives us the key piece to the puzzle. $6m signing bonus means that his base salary is $4m for 2014.

Base Salary: $4 million

Signing Bonus: $6 million over 4 years = $1.25 million each of the 4 years on the contract.

2014 Cap Number: $4m + $1.25m = $5.25 million

Donte Whitner – The tweets above from Tom Pelissero and Aaron Wilson give us all the information we need: $9 million signing bonus, 4 years, $11 million paid in 2014. That gives us a $2 million base salary ($11m – $9m).

Base Salary: $2 million

Signing Bonus: $9 million over 4 years = $2.25 million each of the 4 years on the contract

2014 Cap Number: $2m + $2.25m = $4.25 million. 

That gives us $9.5 million spent today of the $49 million The Browns started with a total current cap room of $39.5 million.


Note: Full details of the Andrew Hawkins contract tender are not available at the moment and the Bengals still have 5 days to match the Browns offer.


Tags: 2014 NFL Free Agency, Browns, Cleveland Browns, Donte Whitner, Karlos Dansby, NFL, NFL Free Agency

2 Responses to “Breaking Down the Contracts of Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner”

  1. CTownPride says:

    Let me see if I understand this…

    In the case of Dansby, he will receive $10 million in year one from the Browns, but in terms of the cap, he only counts as $5.25 million? And there’s another $6 million in guarantees according to Aaron Wilson. Where does that come in to play?

    I had read somewhere on Twitter that the guaranteed money in both deals is paid in the first two years, but it seems that if either player were cut after two seasons, the remaining prorated signing bonus would be accelerated to that years cap. (In the case of Dansby, if his contract were terminated after two seasons, the Browns would suffer a $2.5 million cap hit in 2016 from the signing bonus.) Am I understanding that correctly?

  2. Jon says:

    This is wrong. Whitney cap hit is $11 million. $9million is guaranteed roster bonus, not signing bonus. This is smart because it puts our money in one year where we have lots of space. And creates no dead money for later years.

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