Breaking down the details of Britt’s extension

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).