Breaking down Saffold's contract

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
4:00
PM ET
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The drama that unfolded last week surrounding offensive lineman Rodger Saffold's return to the St. Louis Rams after a failed physical with the Oakland Raiders certainly cost Saffold money on the open market.

Saffold
Instead of the five-year, $42.5 million contract that included more than $21 million in guaranteed money, the reality of Saffold's deal with the Rams comes in well below that. But Saffold does have plenty of opportunity to land in the ballpark of the guaranteed dollar figure Oakland would have given him by staying healthy and productive and remaining on the Rams roster over the course of the first three years of his contract with St. Louis.

On the surface, Saffold's deal with the Rams checks in at five years for $31.347 million with a true full guarantee of $11 million. That $11 million includes a fully guaranteed 2014 base salary of $3 million, a $5 million signing bonus and a $3 million 2015 roster bonus.

There are, however, relatively easy ways for Saffold to earn an additional $8 million-plus. Saffold's $4 million base salary in 2015 and $4.5 million base salary in 2016 become fully guaranteed if he is still on the roster on the third day of the league year in each of those seasons or based on injury guarantees. If Saffold is healthy, the Rams would have the ability to release him before the third day of the league year in 2015 and/or 2016 and not have to realize those guarantees.

Beyond that, Saffold's contract has its share of built-in escalators in the final four years of the deal. If Saffold doesn't void the final two years and hits all of the incentives and escalators, the deal could climb beyond the $31.347 million total from above.

2014

Base salary: $3 million (fully guaranteed)

Signing bonus: $5 million (fully guaranteed, spread out in $1 million increments over life of contract)

Roster bonus: $0

Cash value: $8 million

Cap value: $4 million

2015

Base salary: $4 million (Guaranteed for injury only but becomes guaranteed on third day of league year)

Signing bonus: $0 ($1 million count against cap)

Roster bonus: $3 million (Fully guaranteed, to be paid on third day of league year)

Cash value: $7 million

Cap value: $8 million

2016

Base salary: $4.5 million (Guaranteed for injury only, becomes guaranteed on third day of league year)

Signing bonus: $0 ($1 million count against cap)

Roster bonus: Up to $375,000 (Bonus of $23,438 per game active)

Cash value: $4.875 million

Cap value: $5.875 million

2017

Base salary: $4,722,233

Signing bonus: $0 ($1 million count against cap)

Roster bonus: Up to $375,000 (Bonus of $23,438 per game active)

Cash value: $5,097,233

Cap value: $6,097,233

Notes: Saffold can void this season if he reaches certain incentives. Those incentives are unknown at this time.

2018

Base salary: $5 million

Signing bonus: $0 ($1 million count against cap)

Roster bonus: Up to $1.375 million (Bonus of $23,438 per game active plus $1 million if still on roster third day of league year)

Cash value:$6.375 million

Cap value: $7.375 million

Notes: Saffold can void this season if he reaches certain incentives. Those incentives are unknown at this time.

All contract numbers courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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