What NFL Contracts Actually Mean

DAY/AV: Marino or Montana?
April 1, 2018

What NFL Contracts Actually Mean

An NFL contract is never what it appears to be on the surface. To understand why this is so, you must first understand that the NFL is a hard cap league, unlike the MLB or NBA. This year, every franchise’s payroll must fit under the $177 million umbrella that the league has designated for the 2018 season. If a player’s contract is a bust in the MLB, it is just the owner’s money. An owner either will or won’t pay to buy out and/or replace a player, but the team fundamentally has that option. If a player’s contract is a bust in the NFL, by far the most injury-prone American sports league, the contract is built-in as a salary cap obstacle. Because the hard cap self-creates these obstacles that are not found in uncapped sports, top NFL contracts are not fully-guaranteed like in other sports.

This is not a piece that tackles if the NFL’s salary cap is good or bad for the league, but we need to accept that the rules and guidelines that teams follow for contracts are uniquely specific to the NFL because of how it has embraced the hard cap.


The money in NFL contracts can essentially be separated into three categories: signing bonus, unguaranteed salary and guaranteed salary.

Most of the guaranteed money that NFL teams sign off on comes from signing bonuses. This is the lump sum of money that a player receives when he signs on the dotted line of a contract. This money is prorated against the cap, meaning that the money is split evenly over the team’s salary cap over the length of a player’s contract. For example, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford signed a five-year, $135 million extension with a $50 million signing bonus last year. While he physically cashed in that $50 million in 2017, the Lions didn’t have to rope off $50 million in 2017 cap space to give him that money. Instead, the salary cap accounts for $10 million of that $50 million in yearly increments over the five years (2017-2021) of Stafford’s new deal. The NFL’s hard cap does not measure cash flow. It measures salary and prorated signing bonuses to make up for the large cash flow spikes at the start of contracts.

Below is Stafford’s cash flow over his new deal:

Here is a contrast between Stafford’s cash flow and cap hits over the course of his new contract:

There are times in a player’s contract, particularly early on in a deal, where cash flow and cap hit have almost no relationship with each other. This is because only a fraction of those large signing bonuses count against the cap in a given year.

Unguaranteed salary is money that would be called “team-option” money in any other league. Salary is the money that a player gets paid weekly in-season for making the 53-man roster. Unguaranteed salary is money that is agreed upon by players and teams but is not promised. Essentially, this is “if we do choose to pay you, this is our agreed upon price” money with the ball in the franchise’s court.

Technically, roster bonuses are a different category but they act similarly to unguaranteed salary. Roster bonuses are team-option money but instead of being paid weekly during the season, roster bonuses are typically paid at the beginning of the offseason. Teams still have the choice of keeping a player at the previously agreed upon price point, but this just forces the “Are we going to keep him?” question earlier on in the offseason process. Agents like this because it gives their likely-to-be-released players a chance to enter the free agency market when there is more money available. Because the only real difference between roster bonuses and unguaranteed salary is timing (they’re both team-option money), it’s much easier to just group the two together and forget about it entirely.

Guaranteed salary is weekly money paid out to players that is promised in advance. For example, new Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins just signed a contract with $79.5 million in guaranteed salary over the next three years. That means that he’s getting every cent of those weekly checks for Vikings games weeks no matter what happens over the next three years. If he were released by the team, he would still get paid every dime. There’s a lot less promised salary in the NFL than you think.

The last factor for contracts is workout money, which amounts to being a player option for showing up in the offseason. Because this is unpromised and a player still has to be on a roster in the spring to make this workout, you might as well lump it in with unguaranteed salary and roster bonuses under the umbrella of “unguaranteed salary.”


Let’s take these principles and break down Stafford’s contract. Here’s a year-by-year breakdown of his money:

YearSigning Bonus (millions)Guaranteed Salary (millions)Unguaranteed Salary (millions)
20175010
201809.57
20190019.5
20200021.5
20210020
20220023

Even in NFL mega deals like Stafford’s, the promised money (signing bonus and guaranteed salary) dries up in a couple of years. Here’s a visual:

If the NFL didn’t have a hard cap system where signing bonuses were prorated, this graph would tell us that Stafford is really on a two-year deal with four one-year team options. In practice, though, because of that prorated signing bonus, this isn’t the case.

A signing bonus cuts both ways. When a player is released (or traded), that prorated signing bonus does not vanish. Instead, that prorated signing bonus “accelerates,” a term meaning that the remainder of the player’s signing bonus must be accounted for immediately on the salary cap. Instead of splitting the cost over multiple years, though, the cost of the remaining prorated signing bonus is all consumed in one year. The same is true for guaranteed salary with one caveat: If a player is traded, the team that traded for him assumes his guaranteed salary. The money teams have to eat to release or trade a player is called “dead cap.”

Here’s how Stafford’s contract breaks down from a yearly “cost to cut” and “cost to trade” dead cap perspective, compared to unguaranteed salary:

YearDead Cap to Release (millions)Dead Cap to Trade (millions)Unguaranteed Salary (millions)
20176655.50
201849.5407
2019303019.5
2020202021.5
2021101020
20220023

Here’s a visual with those dead cap numbers juxtaposed with his yearly cap hit:

Despite the fact that Stafford is slated to make $0 in guaranteed money in 2019, it would still cost the Lions more in dead cap to release him than it would be to roster him. The leverage of dead cap makes the cost-benefit analysis of these non-guaranteed years more complex. In terms of salary, 2019 and 2020 are unguaranteed, but in practice, those are likely to be guaranteed seasons. Even in 2020, the Detroit will only save $11.5 million if they choose to release Stafford. You can’t find a starting quarterback at that price. Josh McCown has a cap hit of $10 million after re-signing with the New York Jets this offseason and will likely have to fend off both Teddy Bridgewater and whichever quarterback the team selects third overall in this month’s draft.

The Stafford contract is many things. From a reporting standpoint, it is a five-year extension on paper. From a cash flow standpoint, it would be called a two-year contract with four one-year team options in other sports. From a perspective of how the contract is functionally going to play out, it’s a four-year contract with two one-year team options. This is why evaluating NFL contracts, especially when only the number of years and contract value are initially reported, is difficult.


After looking at contracts, releases and trades over the last few years, it’s clear to me that this is true: Teams almost never move on from contracts if the dead cap is worth 40% or more than the cost of a player’s cap hit. Just from a cost-benefit standpoint, releasing a player only has worth if you’re able to save enough money to sign his replacement. A better way to look at NFL contracts is to see that 40% rule as a pivot point for a player’s deal. That pivot point is when a player’s contract transitions from a deal that is functionally guaranteed to a deal that acts closer to team options.

With the context that we have of 1) why NFL contracts are the way they are because of the salary cap and signing bonuses and 2) where the pivot point of functionally guaranteed contracts transition into what amount to team option seasons, I decided to look at the NFL landscape. After excluding players who were traded and didn’t have a dollar of guaranteed salary in the remainder of their contract (players who have no dead cap), I noted 422 veteran contracts in the league where players had an average salary of at least $3 million. That number is just over 1.5% of the current salary cap.

Here is what the veteran NFL looks like, in terms of functionally guaranteed contracts, in 2018:

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
Matthew StaffordQBDET4108.52021
Andrew LuckQBIND496.12020
Von MillerEDGEDEN596.12021
Matt RyanQBATL594.52018
Alex SmithQBWAS4902022
Aaron RodgersQBGB586.72018
Eli ManningQBNYG484.52019
Kirk CousinsQBMIN3842021 (UFA)
Philip RiversQBLAC4832019
Cam NewtonQBCAR482.72019
Ben RoethlisbergerQBPIT4822019
Joe FlaccoQBBAL480.52020
Ryan TannehillQBMIA575.82020
Russell WilsonQBSEA472.22019
Tyron SmithOLDAL772.12021
Olivier VernonEDGENYG469.52020
Justin HoustonEDGEKC4682019
Kawann ShortDLCAR4662021
Fletcher CoxDLPHI463.42020
Joe StaleyOLSF1063.12019
J.J. WattDLHOU562.92019
Josh NormanDBWAS462.42020
Jimmy GaroppoloQBSF261.22020
Antonio BrownWRPIT460.22021
Clay MatthewsEDGEGB5592017
A.J. GreenWRCIN4582019
Trumaine JohnsonDBNYJ4582022
Dez BryantWRDAL457.52019
Marcell DareusDLJAX454.42019
Andrew NorwellOLJAX453.52022
Gerald McCoyDLTB453.52018
Luke KuechlyLBCAR553.32020
Stephon GilmoreDBNE452.82021
Trent WilliamsOLWAS452.52019
Cameron JordanEDGENO552.42020
Desmond TrufantDBATL452.32021
Stephon TuittDLPIT5522022
Eric BerryDBKC4522021
Chandler JonesEDGEARZ3512020
Lane JohnsonOLPHI550.22021
Drew BreesQBNO2502020 (UFA)
Nick PerryEDGEGB449.42021
Andy DaltonQBCIN449.32018
David DeCastroOLPIT549.32021
DeAndre HopkinsWRHOU3492020
Nate SolderOLNYG3482021
Patrick PetersonDBARZ4482018
Derek CarrQBOAK247.72019
Demaryius ThomasWRDEN347.52018
Jimmy SmithDBBAL547.22020 (UFA)
Julio JonesWRATL3472018
Davante AdamsWRGB445.92021
Malik JacksonDLJAX3452019
Tom BradyQBNE344.82019
Matt KalilOLCAR444.62021
Reshad JonesDBMIA444.22021
Terron ArmsteadOLNO443.12020
Anthony CastonzoOLIND4432019
Brandon WilliamsDLBAL4432021
Eric FisherOLKC442.32020
Ryan KerriganEDGEWAS442.12019
Xavier RhodesDBMIN3422020
Kyle FullerDBCHI3422021
Star LotuleleiDLBUF441.82022
Rob GronkowskiTENE641.22018
Cameron HeywardDLPIT4412019
Andy LevitreOLTEN640.12019 (UFA)
Sean LeeLBDAL639.62019
Janoris JenkinsDBNYG339.22019
Doug BaldwinWRSEA4392020
David BakhtiariOLGB438.92020
Ricky WagnerOLDET438.52021
Mike EvansWRTB238.32020
Charles ClayTEBUF5382020 (UFA)
Kevin ZeitlerOLCLE3382020
Devin McCourtyDBNE4382019
Tyrone CrawfordEDGEDAL537.82020
Pierre GarconWRSF437.72021
Geno AtkinsDLCIN437.62017
Jerry HughesEDGEBUF437.52019
Zach ErtzTEPHI536.82021
Malcolm ButlerDBTEN336.72021
Anthony HitchensLBKC436.52022
Derek WolfeDLDEN436.32019
Earl ThomasDBSEA436.22018
Case KeenumQBDEN2362020 (UFA)
Blake BortlesQBJAX2362020
Riley ReiffOLMIN3362020
Telvin SmithLBJAX4362021
Alshon JefferyWRPHI335.52020
Trai TurnerOLCAR435.32021
Jason Pierre-PaulEDGETB2352019
Sammy WatkinsWRKC2342020
Mike DanielsDLGB4342019
Melvin IngramEDGELAC2342019
Brandon BrooksOLPHI433.52020
Carlos DunlapEDGECIN533.32018
Akiem HicksDLCHI332.92020
Bobby WagnerLBSEA432.52019
LeSean McCoyRBBUF432.12019
Alec OgletreeLBNYG332.12020
Paul RichardsonWRWAS4322022
Lavonte DavisLBTB430.62019
Randall CobbWRGB330.42018
Marshal YandaOLBAL430.42019
Corey LiugetDLLAC330.12018
Calais CampbellDLJAX2302019
Damon HarrisonDLNYG3302019
Keenan AllenWRLAC329.72019
Michael BrockersDLLAR329.62019
Mike IupatiOLARZ4292019
Mark BarronLBLAR3292019
Harrison SmithDBMIN328.82019
Devonta FreemanRBATL428.52021
Emmanuel SandersWRDEN328.42019
Allen RobinsonWRCHI228.12020
T.Y. HiltonWRIND3282018
Laurent Duvernay-TardifOLKC427.32021
Kareem JacksonDBHOU327.22018
Brandon MarshallLBDEN427.12020
Marvin JonesWRDET3272019
Kelechi OsemeleOLOAK2272018
A.J. BouyeDBJAX2272019
Tony JeffersonDBBAL3272020
Jurrell CaseyDLTEN226.82019
Jamie CollinsLBCLE226.82019
Darius SlayDBDET326.72019
Rodney McLeodDBPHI426.52020
Kyle LongOLCHI326.42019
Dont'a HightowerLBNE326.32020
Micah HydeDBBUF426.22021
Bryan BulagaOLGB4262019
Justin PughOLARZ3262021
Russell OkungOLLAC225.92019
Rodger SaffoldOLLAR425.62018
Marqise LeeWRJAX3252021
Timmy JerniganDLPHI3252020
Darian StewartDBDEN4252020
Trey BurtonTECHI324.92021
Marcus GilbertOLPIT524.72019
Malcolm JenkinsDBPHI324.62019
Morgan MosesOLWAS424.52021
Terrell SuggsEDGEBAL424.52018
Kyle RudolphTEMIN424.22018
Golden TateWRDET4242018
Alejandro VillanuevaOLPIT4242021 (UFA)
Demario DavisLBNO3242021
DeSean JacksonWRTB223.52019
Brian OrakpoEDGETEN323.52018
Dre KirkpatrickDBCIN223.12019
Greg OlsenTECAR3232018
Andrew WhitworthOLLAR2232019
Mychal KendrickLBPHI4232019
Jordan ReedTEWAS322.72019
Kiko AlonsoLBMIA322.62020
Travis KelceTEKC322.12019
Jimmy GrahamTEGB2222020
Robert AlfordDBATL321.92019
Christian KirkseyLBCLE321.82020
Ryan SchraederOLATL421.72020
K.J. WrightLBSEA421.32018
Cody FleenerTENO321.12019
Jermaine GreshamTEARZ3212020
Jeremy ParnellOLJAX3212018
Gabe JacksonOLOAK2212019
Jason WittenTEDAL320.92020
Malcolm SmithLBSF420.92021
Logan RyanDBTEN220.52019
Kam ChancellorDBSEA220.32019
Mohamed SanuWRATL320.12019
Casey HaywardDBLAC2202020
Mitchell SchwartzOLKC319.82019
Brandon GrahamEDGEPHI319.82018
Derrick MorganEDGETEN319.82018
Allen BaileyDLKC419.62018
Bruce IrvinEDGEOAK219.52018
Eric WeddleDBBAL319.52019
T.J. LangOLDET219.42019
Buster SkrineDBNYJ219.12018
Everson GriffenEDGEMIN2192019
Ron LearyOLDEN218.92019
Aaron ColvinDBHOU218.52020
Jason PetersOLPHI218.32019
Cliff AvrilEDGESEA318.12018
Dontari PoeDLCAR2182020
Brooks ReedEDGEATL4182019
Prince AmukamaraDBCHI2182020
Joel BitonioOLCLE217.72019
Linval JosephDLMIN217.52019
Jabaal SheardEDGEIND217.52019
Ezekiel AnsahEDGEDET117.12019 (UFA)
DeMarcus LawrenceEDGEDAL117.12019 (UFA)
Kenny StillsWRMIA2172019
Larry WarfordOLNO2172019
Andre BranchEDGEMIA2172019
Joe HadenDBPIT2172019
Larry FitzgeraldWRARZ116.92019 (UFA)
Marcus CannonOLNE316.82019
Mario AddisonEDGECAR216.82019
Justin TuckerSTBAL416.82020 (UFA)
Brian WintersOLNYJ316.72019
Chris HarrisDBDEN316.62018
Vontaze BurfictLBCIN216.52019
Thomas MorsteadSTNO416.32022
Jarvis LandryWRCLE1162019 (UFA)
Kelvin BeachumOLNYJ2162019
Avery WilliamsLBNYJ2162020
Clint BolingOLCIN315.82018
Sam BradfordQBARZ115.62019
Whitney MercilusEDGEHOU315.62018
Danny TrevathanLBCHI215.62018
Adam ThielenWRMIN315.52020
Chris HubbardOLCLE215.52020
Kyle JuszczykRBSF315.42020
Terrell McClainDLWAS315.42020
Trent MurphyEDGEBUF215.32020
Robert WoodsWRLAR215.22019
Lane TaylorOLGB315.22020
Jeff AllenOLHOU215.12018
Michael CrabtreeWRBAL2152020
Michael JohnsonEDGECIN3152018
Patrick RobinsonDBNO3152021
Albert WilsonWRMIA214.92020
Le'Veon BellRBPIT114.52019 (UFA)
James CarpenterOLNYJ314.52018
Stacy McGeeDLWAS314.52020
Lamar MillerRBHOU2142018
Taylor GabrielWRCHI2142020
Zach FultonOLHOU2142020
Ndamukong SuhDLLAR1142019 (UFA)
Daquan JonesDLTEN2142020
Nigel BradhamLBPHI2142020
Charles LenoOLCHI213.82019
Stephen GostkowskiSTNE313.72018
James HurstOLBAL313.52021
Josh KlineOLTEN213.52020
William GholstonEDGETB213.52019
Graham GanoSTCAR313.32021
Terrance WilliamsWRDAL3132020
Travis BenjaminWRLAC2132018
Rhett EllisonTENYG3132020
D.J. HaydenDBJAX2132020
Tashaun GipsonDBJAX2132018
Barry ChurchDBJAX2132019
Johnny HekkerSTLAR4132021
Captain MunnerlynDBCAR312.92020
John CyprienDBTEN212.82019
Duron HarmonDBNE312.82020
Daniel SorensenDBKC312.82020
T.J. McDonaldDBMIA312.72020
Mason CrosbySTGB312.52019
Bobby MassieOLCHI212.42018
George IlokaDBCIN212.42018
Sam KochSTBAL412.42019
Dan BaileySTDAL412.32018
Joe BarksdaleOLLAC212.12018
Matt PraterSTDET312.12020
Jerick McKinnonRBSF1122019
Dion SimsTECHI2122019
Brandon CarrDBBAL2122019
Devon KennardLBDET211.82020
Glover QuinDBDET211.82018
Kurt ColemanDBNO211.82020
Menelik WatsonOLDEN211.72019
Ryan SuccopSTTEN311.72021
Mark IngramRBNO311.52018
Julian EdelmanWRNE211.52019
Delaine WalkerTETEN211.52018
Mike RemmersOLMIN211.52019
LaMarcus JoynerDBLAR111.32019 (UFA)
Lawrence GuyDLNE311.22020
Jordan PoyerDBBUF311.12020
Nick FolesQBPHI2112019 (UFA)
Rishard MatthewsWRTEN2112018
Jahleel AddaeDBLAC2112019
Brandon McManusSTDEN3112020
Cole BeasleyWRDAL310.92018
Thomas DavisLBCAR210.52019 (UFA)
Marquise GoodwinWRSF210.42020
Morgan BurnettDBPIT210.32020
Kareem MartinEDGENYG210.22020
Patrick OmamehOLNYG210.12020
Josh McCownQBNYJ1102019 (UFA)
Vernon DavisTEWAS2102019
A.J. KleinLBNO2102019
Todd DavisLBDEN2102020
Donte MoncriefWRJAX19.62019 (UFA)
La'el CollinsOLDAL29.52019
Bradley McDougaldDBSEA29.42020
Giovani BernardRBCIN29.32018
Andre HalDBHOU19.32019
Shawn WilliamsDBCIN29.22018
Antoine BetheaDBARZ29.22019
James WhiteRBNE39.12020
C.J. AndersonRBDEN292018
Justin EllisDLOAK292020
Brandon MebaneDLLAC292018
D.J. SwearingerDBWAS292019
Cody ParkeySTCHI292020
Brett KernSTTEN392018
Latavius MurrayRBMIN28.92019 (UFA)
Chris SmithEDGECLE28.92020
Demar DotsonOLTB28.62018
Earl MitchellDLSF28.62019
Ted GinnWRNO28.52019
Marshawn LynchRBOAK28.42019 (UFA)
C.J. FiedorowiczTEHOU28.42019
Patrick ChungDBNE28.42020
Sam MartinSTDET38.42019
Chris HoganWRNE28.32018
Richard ShermanDBSF18.22019
Corey PetersDLARZ28.12019
Mike GlennonQBARZ282020 (UFA)
Jack DoyleTEIND182018
Sheldon RichardsonDLMIN182019 (UFA)
Cameron WakeEDGEMIA182018
Travis CarrieDBCLE182019
Brent GrimesDBTB182019 (UFA)
Vincent ReyLBCIN27.72018
Abry JonesDLJAX27.52019
Jordy NelsonWROAK17.42019
Steve McLendonDLNYJ27.42018
Bilal PowellRBNYJ27.32018
J.R. SweezyOLTB17.32018
Zane BeadlesOLSF27.32018
Donald PennOLOAK17.22018
Cameron BrateTETB172019
Ramon FosterOLPIT272018
Mike PennelDLNYJ272020
Kyle Van NoyLBNE272019
Morris ClaiborneDBNYJ172019 (UFA)
Tyrann MathieuDBHOU172019 (UFA)
Andrew SendejoDBMIN26.92018
Rex BurkheadRBNE26.82020
Chad HenneQBKC26.72020 (UFA)
Chris ThompsonRBWAS26.72019
Matt BryantSTATL26.62020
Seth RobertsWROAK26.52019
Eric EbronTEIND16.52019
Josh SittonOLMIA16.52019
Denico AutryDLIND16.52019
Vinny CurryEDGETB16.52019
Tahir WhiteheadLBOAK16.42019
Jamar TaylorDBCLE26.42018
Theo ReddickRBDET26.12018
Tyrod TaylorQBCLE162018
Colt McCoyQBWAS262018
Dion LewisRBTEN162019
Danny AmendolaWRMIA162019
John SimonEDGEIND162018
Zach BrownLBWAS162019
Bryan AngerSTTB25.82018
Allen HurnsWRDAL15.62019
Carlos HydeRBCLE15.52019
Brandon MarshallWRNYG15.52018
Senio KelemeteOLHOU15.52019
Jared CookTEOAK15.32018
John JerryOLNYG25.32019
Rashaan MelvinDBOAK15.32019 (UFA)
Tramon WilliamsDBGB15.22019
Nickell Robey-ColemanDBLAR15.12019
Nevin LawsonDBDET15.12019
A.J. McCarronQBBUF152019
John BrownWRBAL152019 (UFA)
Ryan GrantWRIND152019 (UFA)
Tavon AustinWRLAR152019 (UFA)
Brandon LaFellWRCIN152018
Darren FellsTECLE152019
Kyle WilliamsDLBUF152019 (UFA)
Beau AllenDLTB152019
Julius PeppersEDGECAR152019 (UFA)
Jonathan CooperOLSF14.92019 (UFA)
Muhammad WilkersonDLGB14.92019 (UFA)
Matt SchaubQBATL14.82018
Austin Seferian-JenkinsTEJAX14.82019
Derek NewtonOLHOU24.52019
Brandon FuscoOLATL14.52019
Marcus GilchristDBOAK14.52019 (UFA)
Vontae DavisDBBUF14.32019 (UFA)
Tyler EifertTECIN14.12019 (UFA)
William HayesEDGEMIA14.12019 (UFA)
Chase DanielQBCHI142019
Isaiah CrowellRBNYJ142019
Andre SmithOLARZ142019
Bennie LoganDLTEN142019 (UFA)
Clinton McDonaldDLDEN142019
Adrian ClaybornEDGENE142019
Brian RobisonEDGEMIN142018
Preston BrownLBCIN142019 (UFA)
Johnathan JosephDBHOU142019
Terrance MitchellDBCLE142019
Mike GillisleeRBNE13.82018
Domata PekoDLDEN13.82018
Akeem SpenceDLDET13.82018
Tavon WilsonDBDET13.82019
Chandler CatanzaroSTTB13.82019
Russell ShepardWRCAR13.72018
Aaron LynchEDGECHI13.72019 (UFA)
Barkevious MingoEDGESEA13.72019
Ed DicksonTESEA13.62019
Adam VinatieriSTIND13.62019 (UFA)
Jonathan StewartRBNYG13.52019
Sylvester WilliamsDLDET13.52019 (UFA)
Cassius MarshEDGESF13.52019
Wesley WoodyardLBTEN13.52018
Christian JonesLBDET13.42019
Ryan GriffinTEHOU13.32018
Derrick ShelbyEDGEATL13.32019 (UFA)
Alex OkaforEDGENO13.12019
Deshawn SheadDBDET13.12019 (UFA)
Mitch UnreinDLTB132019
Tyson AlualuDLPIT132018
Jason McCourtyDBNE132018
Phil DawsonSTARZ132018
Garry GilliamOLSF12.52019
Johnson BademosiDBHOU12.52019
Terrelle PryorWRNYJ122018
Ryan FitzpatrickQBTB11.32018
Mike WallaceWRPHI112018
Orlando ScandrickDBWAS112019
Tramaine BrockDBDEN112019 (UFA)
Teddy BridgewaterQBNYJ10.52018

There are some irregularities for certain individuals. For example, Joe Staley’s contract has been reworked enough over the years that it has functioned as a 10-year contract even though he never signed a deal for 10 consecutive years. With that being said, this really only impacts a few offensive linemen.

Here are the position breakdowns:

Quarterback

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
Matthew StaffordQBDET4108.52021
Andrew LuckQBIND496.12020
Matt RyanQBATL594.52018
Alex SmithQBWAS4902022
Aaron RodgersQBGB586.72018
Eli ManningQBNYG484.52019
Kirk CousinsQBMIN3842021 (UFA)
Philip RiversQBLAC4832019
Cam NewtonQBCAR482.72019
Ben RoethlisbergerQBPIT4822019
Joe FlaccoQBBAL480.52020
Ryan TannehillQBMIA575.82020
Russell WilsonQBSEA472.22019
Jimmy GaroppoloQBSF261.22020
Drew BreesQBNO2502020 (UFA)
Andy DaltonQBCIN449.32018
Derek CarrQBOAK247.72019
Tom BradyQBNE344.82019
Case KeenumQBDEN2362020 (UFA)
Blake BortlesQBJAX2362020
Sam BradfordQBARZ115.62019
Nick FolesQBPHI2112019 (UFA)
Josh McCownQBNYJ1102019 (UFA)
Mike GlennonQBARZ282020 (UFA)
Chad HenneQBKC26.72020 (UFA)
Tyrod TaylorQBCLE162018
Colt McCoyQBWAS262018
A.J. McCarronQBBUF152019
Matt SchaubQBATL14.82018
Chase DanielQBCHI142019
Ryan FitzpatrickQBTB11.32018
Teddy BridgewaterQBNYJ10.52018

Running Back

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
LeSean McCoyRBBUF432.12019
Devonta FreemanRBATL428.52021
Kyle JuszczykRBSF315.42020
Le'Veon BellRBPIT114.52019 (UFA)
Lamar MillerRBHOU2142018
Jerick McKinnonRBSF1122019
Mark IngramRBNO311.52018
Giovani BernardRBCIN29.32018
James WhiteRBNE39.12020
C.J. AndersonRBDEN292018
Latavius MurrayRBMIN28.92019 (UFA)
Marshawn LynchRBOAK28.42019 (UFA)
Bilal PowellRBNYJ27.32018
Rex BurkheadRBNE26.82020
Chris ThompsonRBWAS26.72019
Theo ReddickRBDET26.12018
Dion LewisRBTEN162019
Carlos HydeRBCLE15.52019
Isaiah CrowellRBNYJ142019
Mike GillisleeRBNE13.82018
Jonathan StewartRBNYG13.52019

Wide Receiver

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
Antonio BrownWRPIT460.22021
A.J. GreenWRCIN4582019
Dez BryantWRDAL457.52019
DeAndre HopkinsWRHOU3492020
Demaryius ThomasWRDEN347.52018
Julio JonesWRATL3472018
Davante AdamsWRGB445.92021
Doug BaldwinWRSEA4392020
Mike EvansWRTB238.32020
Pierre GarconWRSF437.72021
Alshon JefferyWRPHI335.52020
Sammy WatkinsWRKC2342020
Paul RichardsonWRWAS4322022
Randall CobbWRGB330.42018
Keenan AllenWRLAC329.72019
Emmanuel SandersWRDEN328.42019
Allen RobinsonWRCHI228.12020
T.Y. HiltonWRIND3282018
Marvin JonesWRDET3272019
Marqise LeeWRJAX3252021
Golden TateWRDET4242018
DeSean JacksonWRTB223.52019
Mohamed SanuWRATL320.12019
Kenny StillsWRMIA2172019
Larry FitzgeraldWRARZ116.92019 (UFA)
Jarvis LandryWRCLE1162019 (UFA)
Adam ThielenWRMIN315.52020
Robert WoodsWRLAR215.22019
Michael CrabtreeWRBAL2152020
Albert WilsonWRMIA214.92020
Taylor GabrielWRCHI2142020
Terrance WilliamsWRDAL3132020
Travis BenjaminWRLAC2132018
Julian EdelmanWRNE211.52019
Rishard MatthewsWRTEN2112018
Cole BeasleyWRDAL310.92018
Marquise GoodwinWRSF210.42020
Donte MoncriefWRJAX19.62019 (UFA)
Ted GinnWRNO28.52019
Chris HoganWRNE28.32018
Jordy NelsonWROAK17.42019
Seth RobertsWROAK26.52019
Danny AmendolaWRMIA162019
Allen HurnsWRDAL15.62019
Brandon MarshallWRNYG15.52018
John BrownWRBAL152019 (UFA)
Ryan GrantWRIND152019 (UFA)
Tavon AustinWRLAR152019 (UFA)
Brandon LaFellWRCIN152018
Russell ShepardWRCAR13.72018
Terrelle PryorWRNYJ122018
Mike WallaceWRPHI112018

Tight End

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
Rob GronkowskiTENE641.22018
Charles ClayTEBUF5382020 (UFA)
Zach ErtzTEPHI536.82021
Trey BurtonTECHI324.92021
Kyle RudolphTEMIN424.22018
Greg OlsenTECAR3232018
Jordan ReedTEWAS322.72019
Travis KelceTEKC322.12019
Jimmy GrahamTEGB2222020
Cody FleenerTENO321.12019
Jermaine GreshamTEARZ3212020
Jason WittenTEDAL320.92020
Rhett EllisonTENYG3132020
Dion SimsTECHI2122019
Delaine WalkerTETEN211.52018
Vernon DavisTEWAS2102019
C.J. FiedorowiczTEHOU28.42019
Jack DoyleTEIND182018
Cameron BrateTETB172019
Eric EbronTEIND16.52019
Jared CookTEOAK15.32018
Darren FellsTECLE152019
Austin Seferian-JenkinsTEJAX14.82019
Tyler EifertTECIN14.12019 (UFA)
Ed DicksonTESEA13.62019
Ryan GriffinTEHOU13.32018

Offensive Lineman

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
Tyron SmithOLDAL772.12021
Joe StaleyOLSF1063.12019
Andrew NorwellOLJAX453.52022
Trent WilliamsOLWAS452.52019
Lane JohnsonOLPHI550.22021
David DeCastroOLPIT549.32021
Nate SolderOLNYG3482021
Matt KalilOLCAR444.62021
Terron ArmsteadOLNO443.12020
Anthony CastonzoOLIND4432019
Eric FisherOLKC442.32020
Andy LevitreOLTEN640.12019 (UFA)
David BakhtiariOLGB438.92020
Ricky WagnerOLDET438.52021
Kevin ZeitlerOLCLE3382020
Riley ReiffOLMIN3362020
Trai TurnerOLCAR435.32021
Brandon BrooksOLPHI433.52020
Marshal YandaOLBAL430.42019
Mike IupatiOLARZ4292019
Laurent Duvernay-TardifOLKC427.32021
Kelechi OsemeleOLOAK2272018
Kyle LongOLCHI326.42019
Bryan BulagaOLGB4262019
Justin PughOLARZ3262021
Russell OkungOLLAC225.92019
Rodger SaffoldOLLAR425.62018
Marcus GilbertOLPIT524.72019
Morgan MosesOLWAS424.52021
Alejandro VillanuevaOLPIT4242021 (UFA)
Andrew WhitworthOLLAR2232019
Ryan SchraederOLATL421.72020
Jeremy ParnellOLJAX3212018
Gabe JacksonOLOAK2212019
Mitchell SchwartzOLKC319.82019
T.J. LangOLDET219.42019
Ron LearyOLDEN218.92019
Jason PetersOLPHI218.32019
Joel BitonioOLCLE217.72019
Larry WarfordOLNO2172019
Marcus CannonOLNE316.82019
Brian WintersOLNYJ316.72019
Kelvin BeachumOLNYJ2162019
Clint BolingOLCIN315.82018
Chris HubbardOLCLE215.52020
Lane TaylorOLGB315.22020
Jeff AllenOLHOU215.12018
James CarpenterOLNYJ314.52018
Zach FultonOLHOU2142020
Charles LenoOLCHI213.82019
James HurstOLBAL313.52021
Josh KlineOLTEN213.52020
Bobby MassieOLCHI212.42018
Joe BarksdaleOLLAC212.12018
Menelik WatsonOLDEN211.72019
Mike RemmersOLMIN211.52019
Patrick OmamehOLNYG210.12020
La'el CollinsOLDAL29.52019
Demar DotsonOLTB28.62018
J.R. SweezyOLTB17.32018
Zane BeadlesOLSF27.32018
Donald PennOLOAK17.22018
Ramon FosterOLPIT272018
Josh SittonOLMIA16.52019
Senio KelemeteOLHOU15.52019
John JerryOLNYG25.32019
Jonathan CooperOLSF14.92019 (UFA)
Derek NewtonOLHOU24.52019
Brandon FuscoOLATL14.52019
Andre SmithOLARZ142019
Garry GilliamOLSF12.52019

Defensive Lineman

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
Kawann ShortDLCAR4662021
Fletcher CoxDLPHI463.42020
J.J. WattDLHOU562.92019
Marcell DareusDLJAX454.42019
Gerald McCoyDLTB453.52018
Stephon TuittDLPIT5522022
Malik JacksonDLJAX3452019
Brandon WilliamsDLBAL4432021
Star LotuleleiDLBUF441.82022
Cameron HeywardDLPIT4412019
Geno AtkinsDLCIN437.62017
Derek WolfeDLDEN436.32019
Mike DanielsDLGB4342019
Akiem HicksDLCHI332.92020
Corey LiugetDLLAC330.12018
Calais CampbellDLJAX2302019
Damon HarrisonDLNYG3302019
Michael BrockersDLLAR329.62019
Jurrell CaseyDLTEN226.82019
Timmy JerniganDLPHI3252020
Allen BaileyDLKC419.62018
Dontari PoeDLCAR2182020
Linval JosephDLMIN217.52019
Terrell McClainDLWAS315.42020
Stacy McGeeDLWAS314.52020
Ndamukong SuhDLLAR1142019 (UFA)
Daquan JonesDLTEN2142020
Lawrence GuyDLNE311.22020
Justin EllisDLOAK292020
Brandon MebaneDLLAC292018
Earl MitchellDLSF28.62019
Corey PetersDLARZ28.12019
Sheldon RichardsonDLMIN182019 (UFA)
Abry JonesDLJAX27.52019
Steve McLendonDLNYJ27.42018
Mike PennelDLNYJ272020
Denico AutryDLIND16.52019
Kyle WilliamsDLBUF152019 (UFA)
Beau AllenDLTB152019
Muhammad WilkersonDLGB14.92019 (UFA)
Bennie LoganDLTEN142019 (UFA)
Clinton McDonaldDLDEN142019
Domata PekoDLDEN13.82018
Akeem SpenceDLDET13.82018
Sylvester WilliamsDLDET13.52019 (UFA)
Mitch UnreinDLTB132019
Tyson AlualuDLPIT132018

Edge Defender

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
Von MillerEDGEDEN596.12021
Olivier VernonEDGENYG469.52020
Justin HoustonEDGEKC4682019
Clay MatthewsEDGEGB5592017
Cameron JordanEDGENO552.42020
Chandler JonesEDGEARZ3512020
Nick PerryEDGEGB449.42021
Ryan KerriganEDGEWAS442.12019
Tyrone CrawfordEDGEDAL537.82020
Jerry HughesEDGEBUF437.52019
Jason Pierre-PaulEDGETB2352019
Melvin IngramEDGELAC2342019
Carlos DunlapEDGECIN533.32018
Terrell SuggsEDGEBAL424.52018
Brian OrakpoEDGETEN323.52018
Brandon GrahamEDGEPHI319.82018
Derrick MorganEDGETEN319.82018
Bruce IrvinEDGEOAK219.52018
Everson GriffenEDGEMIN2192019
Cliff AvrilEDGESEA318.12018
Brooks ReedEDGEATL4182019
Jabaal SheardEDGEIND217.52019
Ezekiel AnsahEDGEDET117.12019 (UFA)
DeMarcus LawrenceEDGEDAL117.12019 (UFA)
Andre BranchEDGEMIA2172019
Mario AddisonEDGECAR216.82019
Whitney MercilusEDGEHOU315.62018
Trent MurphyEDGEBUF215.32020
Michael JohnsonEDGECIN3152018
William GholstonEDGETB213.52019
Kareem MartinEDGENYG210.22020
Chris SmithEDGECLE28.92020
Cameron WakeEDGEMIA182018
Vinny CurryEDGETB16.52019
John SimonEDGEIND162018
Julius PeppersEDGECAR152019 (UFA)
William HayesEDGEMIA14.12019 (UFA)
Adrian ClaybornEDGENE142019
Brian RobisonEDGEMIN142018
Aaron LynchEDGECHI13.72019 (UFA)
Barkevious MingoEDGESEA13.72019
Cassius MarshEDGESF13.52019
Derrick ShelbyEDGEATL13.32019 (UFA)
Alex OkaforEDGENO13.12019

Linebacker

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
Luke KuechlyLBCAR553.32020
Sean LeeLBDAL639.62019
Anthony HitchensLBKC436.52022
Telvin SmithLBJAX4362021
Bobby WagnerLBSEA432.52019
Alec OgletreeLBNYG332.12020
Lavonte DavisLBTB430.62019
Mark BarronLBLAR3292019
Brandon MarshallLBDEN427.12020
Jamie CollinsLBCLE226.82019
Dont'a HightowerLBNE326.32020
Demario DavisLBNO3242021
Mychal KendrickLBPHI4232019
Kiko AlonsoLBMIA322.62020
Christian KirkseyLBCLE321.82020
K.J. WrightLBSEA421.32018
Malcolm SmithLBSF420.92021
Vontaze BurfictLBCIN216.52019
Avery WilliamsLBNYJ2162020
Danny TrevathanLBCHI215.62018
Nigel BradhamLBPHI2142020
Devon KennardLBDET211.82020
Thomas DavisLBCAR210.52019 (UFA)
A.J. KleinLBNO2102019
Todd DavisLBDEN2102020
Vincent ReyLBCIN27.72018
Kyle Van NoyLBNE272019
Tahir WhiteheadLBOAK16.42019
Zach BrownLBWAS162019
Preston BrownLBCIN142019 (UFA)
Wesley WoodyardLBTEN13.52018
Christian JonesLBDET13.42019

Defensive Back

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
Josh NormanDBWAS462.42020
Trumaine JohnsonDBNYJ4582022
Stephon GilmoreDBNE452.82021
Desmond TrufantDBATL452.32021
Eric BerryDBKC4522021
Patrick PetersonDBARZ4482018
Jimmy SmithDBBAL547.22020 (UFA)
Reshad JonesDBMIA444.22021
Xavier RhodesDBMIN3422020
Kyle FullerDBCHI3422021
Janoris JenkinsDBNYG339.22019
Devin McCourtyDBNE4382019
Malcolm ButlerDBTEN336.72021
Earl ThomasDBSEA436.22018
Harrison SmithDBMIN328.82019
Kareem JacksonDBHOU327.22018
A.J. BouyeDBJAX2272019
Tony JeffersonDBBAL3272020
Darius SlayDBDET326.72019
Rodney McLeodDBPHI426.52020
Micah HydeDBBUF426.22021
Darian StewartDBDEN4252020
Malcolm JenkinsDBPHI324.62019
Dre KirkpatrickDBCIN223.12019
Robert AlfordDBATL321.92019
Logan RyanDBTEN220.52019
Kam ChancellorDBSEA220.32019
Casey HaywardDBLAC2202020
Eric WeddleDBBAL319.52019
Buster SkrineDBNYJ219.12018
Aaron ColvinDBHOU218.52020
Prince AmukamaraDBCHI2182020
Joe HadenDBPIT2172019
Chris HarrisDBDEN316.62018
Patrick RobinsonDBNO3152021
D.J. HaydenDBJAX2132020
Tashaun GipsonDBJAX2132018
Barry ChurchDBJAX2132019
Captain MunnerlynDBCAR312.92020
John CyprienDBTEN212.82019
Duron HarmonDBNE312.82020
Daniel SorensenDBKC312.82020
T.J. McDonaldDBMIA312.72020
George IlokaDBCIN212.42018
Brandon CarrDBBAL2122019
Glover QuinDBDET211.82018
Kurt ColemanDBNO211.82020
LaMarcus JoynerDBLAR111.32019 (UFA)
Jordan PoyerDBBUF311.12020
Jahleel AddaeDBLAC2112019
Morgan BurnettDBPIT210.32020
Bradley McDougaldDBSEA29.42020
Andre HalDBHOU19.32019
Shawn WilliamsDBCIN29.22018
Antoine BetheaDBARZ29.22019
D.J. SwearingerDBWAS292019
Patrick ChungDBNE28.42020
Richard ShermanDBSF18.22019
Travis CarrieDBCLE182019
Brent GrimesDBTB182019 (UFA)
Morris ClaiborneDBNYJ172019 (UFA)
Tyrann MathieuDBHOU172019 (UFA)
Andrew SendejoDBMIN26.92018
Jamar TaylorDBCLE26.42018
Rashaan MelvinDBOAK15.32019 (UFA)
Tramon WilliamsDBGB15.22019
Nickell Robey-ColemanDBLAR15.12019
Nevin LawsonDBDET15.12019
Marcus GilchristDBOAK14.52019 (UFA)
Vontae DavisDBBUF14.32019 (UFA)
Johnathan JosephDBHOU142019
Terrance MitchellDBCLE142019
Tavon WilsonDBDET13.82019
Deshawn SheadDBDET13.12019 (UFA)
Jason McCourtyDBNE132018
Johnson BademosiDBHOU12.52019
Orlando ScandrickDBWAS112019
Tramaine BrockDBDEN112019 (UFA)

Special Teamer

NamePOSTeamYearsMillionsOption Years Start
Justin TuckerSTBAL416.82020 (UFA)
Thomas MorsteadSTNO416.32022
Stephen GostkowskiSTNE313.72018
Graham GanoSTCAR313.32021
Johnny HekkerSTLAR4132021
Mason CrosbySTGB312.52019
Sam KochSTBAL412.42019
Dan BaileySTDAL412.32018
Matt PraterSTDET312.12020
Ryan SuccopSTTEN311.72021
Brandon McManusSTDEN3112020
Cody ParkeySTCHI292020
Brett KernSTTEN392018
Sam MartinSTDET38.42019
Matt BryantSTATL26.62020
Bryan AngerSTTB25.82018
Chandler CatanzaroSTTB13.82019
Adam VinatieriSTIND13.62019 (UFA)
Phil DawsonSTARZ132018


Final note that only I care about. The positional breakdown of veterans who are functionally promised more than $12 million on their current deals:

Offensive linemen: 54

Special teamers: 9

Running backs: 5 (one of which is a fullback)

All contract numbers via Spotrac.