When running back Steven Jackson signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons last week, some questioned whether a team should pay that much money to a running back that will be 30 years old in July. Especially in Green Bay, a team that had interest in Jackson, but indicated the contract was too rich for them.
As usual, however, the devil is in the details of NFL contracts. As reported after he signed, Jackson received $4 million guaranteed in the deal. However, there are no guarantees beyond 2013. Jackson received a $3.5 million signing bonus, while $500,000 of his $1.75 million base salary this year is guaranteed.
His salaries increase to $3 million in 2014 and $3.75 million in 2015, but if Jackson's performance isn't what the Falcons expect next season, they can release him and have only $2.33 million of signing bonus acceleration to contend with on the salary cap. In essence, the contract is for one year at $5.25 million.
Jackson's cap charge is $2.917 million in 2013.
If Jackson continues to play at a high level, the Falcons will have a bargain, even if he is able to hit escalators that can add $1.75 million to his salary in 2014 and 2015.