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With the recent Justin Britt extension, details have finally emerged regarding the breakdown of his contract. The contract was reported as a  3-year extension worth $27M total with $5M in full guarantees, which was comprised of his signing bonus. Per Over the Cap, here is the breakdown of his deal.

Britt’s cap hits are as follows: 2017 = $2.3M, 2018 = $6.16M, 2019 = $7.91M, and 2020 = $11.6M. He has $500K worth of roster bonuses in 2018-2020. In terms of guarantees, at time of signage, Britt’s 2018 base salary is guaranteed for injury only. On the fifth day of both the 2018 and 2019 league years, his 2018/2019 base salaries will vest into full guarantees.

Justin has an option bonus in his contract, which makes things a bit weird. Right now, if you look down the signing bonus column (titled: “Prorated”), things look a little weird. It was reported that he received a $5M signing bonus — so if you add those numbers from the top down…

….it definitely doesn’t add up to $5M (it should be $1.25M each year right? Signing bonus is divided evenly across all years of the contract). Let me explain….

In 2017, $1.25M of that $1.458M number is signing bonus from his new deal. The gap, ~$200K or so, is leftover signing bonus from his old rookie contract. So wouldn’t the 2018-2020 seasons only have $1.25M in prorated signing bonus each year? To add up to $5M? Normally…you would be correct. But instead it’s $2.91M…. Interesting. In 2018 this is where it gets weird…try and follow me…

The 2018-2020 seasons have an option bonus of $5M, which is treated the same way a signing bonus is (divided each year evenly). $5M divided by three is roughly $1.666M. Add $1.25M (original $5M signing bonus evenly divided by 4 years) plus $1.666M (his $5M option bonus divided by 3 years). This is how OTC gets the $2.916M number in the signing bonus column for 2018-2020.

However…there is a catch. Seattle has a decision to make in the first five days of the 2018 league year (deadline is the fifth day). If the team chooses to decline his 2019-2020 option and make 2018 Britt’s last season with the team, his 2018 base salary will increase to $7.75, from $2.75M (an increase of $5M).

Where that $5M increase comes from is the option bonus (explained above) treated as a signing bonus proration in years 2018-2020 ($1.66M each year). If Seattle chooses to decline Britt’s 2019-2020 option, Britt’s cap hit will raise to ~$9.4M (an increase of $3.2M, or the option bonus prorations of 2019 and 2020 added up). However, unless Britt absolutely craps the bed in 2017, this is highly unlikely to happen.

My overall takeaways:

  • SEA lost only $1.25M in 2017 cap space by extending Britt.
  • SEA used a creative option bonus to open up $3.2M in cap space for 2018. I wonder if they’re saving room for a big Jimmy or Clark extension.
  • SEA could effectively cut Britt in March of 2018 (in that five day window before his base salary becomes fully gauranteed) — and be on the hook for very little.
  • The contract is extremely flexible (SEA can cut basically anytime) and front office friendly.
  • Unless Britt poops the bed badly in 2017, he’ll be a Seahawks post 2018 (Seattle won’t decline his 2019-2020 option).

About The Author

Staff Writer

For those of you familiar with the Seahawks blogosphere, I was a contributor to Fieldgulls under Danny Kelly. At Fieldgulls, I created many different types of content but my real niche was the NFL salary cap. I’ve also worked at Over the Cap in the past and collaborated with Jason Fitzgerald on many cap related projects.However, my passion for football extends well beyond the salary cap. Obviously, I’m a huge Seahawks fan – and I’ve been one since 2006. I love writing opinion pieces, researching and creating player profiles, conducting interviews with players, and rooting for this team. I openly admit it: I am biased. Growing up in the Seattle area, I’m an avid fan of all Seattle sports (cough bring back the Sonics cough).Anyways, that’s enough about me. I’m stoked to start contributing to Hawkblogger. One of my favorite aspects of writing about football is interacting with other fans. Don’t be afraid to reach out. You can find me on twitter @EvanonHB. Go Hawks.

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