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Saturday, November 2, 2002
Injury keeps Dilfer from going after incentives

By Len Pasquarelli

The ruptured right Achilles tendon that will sideline Trent Dilfer for the balance of the year will also preclude the quarterback from ever being able to collect on $10 million worth of base salary escalators.

Dilfer re-signed with the Seattle Seahawks this spring as an unrestricted free agent, when coach Mike Holmgren assured him he would be the starter, agreeing to a four-year contract that, on face value, was worth $8 million. But the deal also afforded Dilfer an opportunity to dramatically increase the salaries in the final three years of the contract if he reached certain benchmarks.

If the Seahawks won 10 games, Dilfer logged 75 percent of the snaps and had a passer efficiency rating of 85.0 or higher, he would have triggered the escalators and increased his base salaries for 2003-2005 by $10 million. But the escalators were a one-time only proposition and he needed to fulfill all of the requirements in 2002 to collect on them.

Given the way the Seahawks were playing, it would have been difficult for Dilfer to reach the performance levels anyway, but the injury wiped out any chance he had.

Instead the veteran quarterback faces the prospect of a long rehabilitation on his surgically-repaired Achilles and also of playing the next three seasons for very modest base salaries. He finished the 2002 season completing 94 of 168 passes for 1,182 yards, with four touchdown passes and six interceptions.

Dilfer received a $4 million signing bonus and an '02 salary of $750,000. Since he will be unable to trigger the escalators, his contract calls for him to receive a base salary of $750,000 in '03 as well and salaries of $1.25 million each in 2004 and 2005.

Those numbers are significantly less than the base salaries due current starter Matt Hasselbeck, who is due $5 million in bases the next three seasons.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for