More than half of the $16.82 million in the three-year contract Kerry Collins signed Monday with the Oakland Raiders is due in the final season of the deal, when it is expected he will have supplanted Rich Gannon as the starter, be playing elsewhere or perhaps have restructured the accord.
Documents filed with the league, and obtained by ESPN.com, show that $8.5 million isn't due until 2006.
The contract is structured in such a cap-friendly manner for 2004 that Oakland can afford to retain Gannon, despite his $7 million base salary and a cap charge of $8.928 million for the season. That said, the Raiders likely will ask Gannon to rework his deal to reduce the 2004 cap charge while still earning the $7 million due him.
Collins, who was released by the New York Giants after they acquired Eli Manning in a draft-day trade, received a signing bonus of $1.64 million from the Raiders. However, his 2004 base salary is just $660,000, the minimum for a veteran of his tenure, which means his '04 cap charge is only $1.206 million. That's a palatable enough number if he remains the backup, a bargain if he's elevated to starter.
The nine-year veteran was to have earned a 2004 salary of $7 million with the Giants.
The real crunch for the Raiders would come in 2005, when Collins' cap charge increases to $6.567 million, and Gannon's rises to approximately $10 million.
Collins will earn a base salary of $4.7 million in 2005 plus a $1.32 million roster bonus. Of his base salary, $3.5 million is guaranteed even if Collins is not on the team. The guarantee all but assures Collins that he'll be with Oakland through the first two seasons of his three-year deal.
In 2006, the final year of the contract, Collins' cap charge skyrockets to $10.796 million. That includes a $6 million base salary and a roster bonus of $2.5 million.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.