CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals' comparatively muted free-agency efforts have been well documented this offseason, but the guaranteed money they have given out is an indication they have been doing some spending.
Most of that guaranteed money has gone to one player; the last one Cincinnati signed. If it wasn't for defensive tackle Domata Peko's $4.4 million, the Bengals' signing efforts from a guaranteed-money standpoint would reflect their rather tame free-agency efforts. The Bengals haven't acquired the pricey free agents that some teams have gone hard after the past few weeks.
In total, Cincinnati has awarded $6.14 million in guaranteed money to the nine players they have either re-signed, signed out of free agency or claimed off waivers. Before Peko's two-year, $7.4 million contract extension gave him $4.4 million of guaranteed money last week, the Bengals had only spread $1.74 million of guaranteed money across their eight previously signed players.
When evaluating player contracts, the guaranteed money figure is the most important number to keep in mind. Guaranteed money can come from base salaries, signing bonuses or roster bonuses. Sometimes it can be spread across multiple seasons. Sometimes it isn't. Per ESPN Stats & Information, Peko's guarantee only comes this season when he makes the $4.4 million off a roster bonus that was awarded after he signed his extension last Thursday. Other bonuses and numbers in contracts like his can be accrued, but unless otherwise specified, they aren't guaranteed to players in the event of cuts and releases.
With other free agents expected to be re-signed later this offseason, the Bengals likely will end up awarding more guaranteed money later this offseason. According to the NFL Players Association's latest salary cap update Monday, the Bengals still have about $24.8 million left in cap space for 2014. Only three teams -- the Browns, Jaguars and Jets -- have more cap space.
Using information from ESPN Stats & Information, here's a look at the guaranteed money Bengals players have been given since free agency began:
DT Domata Peko (re-signed): $4,400,000
LB Vincent Rey (re-signed): $1,000,000
QB Jason Campbell (signed): $400,000
WR/KR Brandon Tate (re-signed): $100,000
OG/C Mike Pollak (re-signed): $100,000
OT Marshall Newhouse (signed): $50,000
CB R.J. Stanford (signed): $50,000
DB Taylor Mays (re-signed): $40,000
DE/LB Dontay Moch (claimed off waivers): $0