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Few guarantees for McNabb

Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb will receive $14.7 million this year all told on a contract that could be worth $74.25 million.
Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb will receive $14.7 million this year all told on a contract that could be worth $74.25 million. (Jonathan Newton)
By J.I. Halsell
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Despite reports that quarterback Donovan McNabb's contract extension is worth $78 million, with $40 million guaranteed, a league source says the deal contains no guaranteed money beyond the current year.

The Redskins' veteran will receive $3.5 million through the new deal's signing bonus, in addition to his $5 million base salary and a $6.2 million roster bonus, for a total of $14.7 million this year, the source said.

Beyond 2010, there is nothing to protect McNabb from being cut by the team. He does have a $10 million 2011 option bonus that the club reserves the right to exercise up until the first game of the 2011 season, but there's no assurance that the Redskins will do so and no financial assurance that McNabb would receive the $10 million if they choose to cut him.

McNabb does have salary guarantees against injury from 2011 through 2014 that total $34.75 million. When one totals the $3.5 million of new money coming via the signing bonus and the injury guarantees, the deal could be considered a $38.25 million guarantee.

But the Redskins can release McNabb after the 2010 season and be off the hook for the $34.75 million injury guarantees. The true guarantee for McNabb on this deal is $3.5 million.

The total package value of the deal is $74.25 million (not $78 million); $42.75 million of which can be earned over the first three years of the deal (2011-2013). McNabb also has $13.25 million in incentives that could take the total value to $88 million, although that is highly unlikely.

The Redskins and McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith III, have declined to disclose the terms of the deal.

One way to view this contract is that the Redskins can continue to search for their next quarterback with minimal financial risk. If they find that quarterback during the coming offseason and feel comfortable with him taking the reins in 2011, the team can cut McNabb with a loss of just $3.5 million.

If the Redskins find a new quarterback and feel they're not ready until 2012, then McNabb can make $16.25 million of new money between the rest of 2010 and the 2011 season. That sum for one new year under contract is significant, because it's roughly what the franchise tag number in 2011 would be. So McNabb gains nothing there by doing this deal.

A native Washingtonian, J.I. Halsell spent two seasons as a salary cap analyst for the Washington Redskins. Prior to his tenure in Washington, he spent two years working in the NFL Management Council, and now pens a blog entitled "Under the Cap" for Follow him on Twitter at @SalaryCap101.

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