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Gerald McCoy gets $4 million guaranteed, deal heavy on incentives

San Diego Chargers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 11: Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy #93 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up just before the start of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Raymond James Stadium on November 11, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

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Gerald McCoy would have had a $13 million base salary this year if he hadn’t been released by the Buccaneers. He’ll make a lot less than that in Carolina, but how much less will depend on how well he plays.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, McCoy gets just $4 million guaranteed, although he can make up to $10.25 million if he hits all his incentives.

In addition to the signing bonus, the deal includes a $3 million base salary, $500,000 roster bonus at training camp, a total of up to $500,000 in roster bonuses for being active on game days, a $500,000 bonus if he records 6.5 sacks and a $1.5 million bonus if he records eight sacks, plus $250,000 if he makes the Pro Bowl and $250,000 if the Panthers make the playoffs.

There’s no reason McCoy shouldn’t get the $3 million base salary and $500,000 roster bonus, which will bring him up to $7.5 million on the season, but the incentives will be tough to reach. If McCoy were to have an identical season in 2019 to the one he had in 2018, he’d make $437,500 in per-game roster bonuses (for playing 14 out of 16 games), and hit none of the incentives: Last year McCoy didn’t get 6.5 sacks, didn’t make the Pro Bowl and the Panthers didn’t make the playoffs.

McCoy and his agent may have been looking for a way to spin the contract as comparable to or even better than the deal that Ndamukong Suh got to replace McCoy in Tampa, and by structuring it so that he can make up to $10.25 million, they’re allowing for the possibility that McCoy will make more than the $10 million maximum Suh can make this season.

The difference, however, is that Suh gets a $9.25 million salary, and only $750,000 of his pay is in incentives. McCoy is unlikely to hit enough incentives to reach $9.25 million. If McCoy were to have the same season this year that he had last year, he’d make just under $8 million -- meaning getting cut by the Bucs will cost him more than $5 million.