- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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I know a lot of fans in New Orleans, Atlanta and Tampa Bay have been anxious to hear the numbers on the contract linebacker Curtis Lofton recently signed with the Saints.
New Orleans fans want to know because they want to see how Lofton impacts a tight cap situation. Atlanta fans want to know because the Falcons tried to keep the guy who has been their middle linebacker, but only at the right price. Tampa Bay fans want to know because the Bucs showed some mild interest in Lofton and could have been interested if his initial asking price dropped enough.
Well, Lofton’s asking price dropped quite a bit from where it started, which I’ve heard was somewhere above $8 million per season. But it didn’t drop enough for the Falcons or Bucs to step back into the game. Lofton also signed a deal that’s very-cap friendly for the Saints in the first year.
Let’s take a look at contract numbers ESPN.com just obtained.
Lofton got a five-year deal that averages $5.5 million per season and could end up being worth as much as $33.5 million if he reaches escalators in the final three years of the deal. Lofton got a $5 million signing bonus, but his first-year cap figure will be a very friendly $1.7 million because his first-year base salary will be only $700,000.
This deal is back-loaded because Lofton is scheduled to get a $5 million roster bonus in 2013, when his base salary rises to $1.1 million. In 2014, Lofton’s base salary is only $1 million, but he’s scheduled for another $2 million roster bonus. In 2015, Lofton is scheduled to earn $2.4 million in base salary and collect yet another roster bonus for $4.5 million and a $100,000 workout bonus.
In 2016, Lofton’s base salary rises to $5.4 million and he’s scheduled to receive a $100,000 workout bonus. The final year of the deal (2017) is voidable and Lofton is scheduled to make $6 million in base salary.
Lofton’s biggest cap hits will come in 2013 ($7.1 million) and 2015 ($8 million).