Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' head-first plunge into free agency is that the team isn’t mortgaging its future.
I just got a look at full contract details for receiver Vincent Jackson and cornerback Eric Wright (I’ll get you guard Carl Nicks later) and the Bucs so far haven’t used a dime in signing bonuses. In keeping with the recent philosophy of general manager Mark Dominik, the Bucs aren’t spreading out salary-cap money with bonuses that are prorated throughout the life of the contract. Instead, they’re paying big money up front.
Jackson’s five-year deal averages $11,111,111 per season, but much of that money will be paid in the early years of the contract. Jackson will make $11 million in base salary this season and add another $2 million in a roster bonus when he reports to training camp.
In 2013, Jackson’s base salary will reach its peak at $13 million. Jackson’s base salaries in 2012 and 2013 are fully guaranteed. After that, Jackson’s salary begins a gradual dip and he has no more bonuses scheduled. His 2014 salary is scheduled to be $10 million. His base salary for 2015 is $9.778 million and it remains the same in 2016.
Wright’s deal isn’t as lucrative, but it’s structured in a similar way to keep the Bucs from having a ton of money spread out in future years. Wright’s five-year deal is worth $38 million.
Like Jackson, Wright received no signing bonus, but he’ll get paid lots of money early on. Wright’s base salary for 2012 is $7.75 million and it’s the same for 2013. Wright also will receive a $500,000 bonus if he takes part in an unspecified amount of this year’s offseason workout program.
Wright’s base salary drops to $7.25 million in 2014 and remains the same in 2015. In 2016, his base salary is scheduled to be $7.5 million.