MINNEAPOLIS -- When the Minnesota Vikings traded up to take Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the No. 32 overall pick, they effectively bought themselves a year of flexibility by way of the fifth-year option automatically added to Bridgewater's contract when he was drafted in the first round. But the structure of Bridgewater's contract gives the Vikings some extra leverage during the first four years of his deal, as well.
The deal is a standard contract for Bridgewater's draft slot, worth $6,849,504 over the next four years with a $3,301,456 signing bonus, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Unlike linebacker Anthony Barr's rookie deal, though, Bridgewater's contract is not fully guaranteed through his first four seasons. His base salary in 2017 -- the fourth year of the deal -- is not guaranteed, meaning the Vikings would face only a cap charge of $825,364 if they needed to cut Bridgewater after three years.
Bridgewater's deal has much in common with that of his childhood friend Matt Elam, who was drafted 32nd overall by the Baltimore Ravens in 2013. Elam's deal was worth $6.76 million with a $3.3 million signing bonus last year, and he negotiated the deal without an agent after his older brother Abe advised him. Abe Elam, a former NFL safety, also helped Bridgewater with his transition to the NFL, advising him on picking an agent, evaluating marketing opportunities and preparing for the draft.
The Vikings quarterback's deal has a total of $5,495,479 in guaranteed money, including his signing bonus and base salaries for the first three seasons. If he's playing well enough to merit the Vikings picking up his fifth-year option, he'd make the average salary of the third- through 25th-highest paid QBs in the league; that option was worth about $9.7 million this season.