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Inside the supposed $40 million Sam Bradford deal

Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 1: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws the ball in the first half of the game against the Chicago Bears on January 1, 2017 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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Two years ago, Sam Bradford signed a two-year, $36 million deal with the Eagles. Last week, he signed a two-year, $40 million deal with the Cardinals.

If it sounded too good to be true, there’s a reason for that. It is.

The full-breakdown of the supposed two-year, $40 million shows that it’s really a one-year deal, with a team-held option for 2019. The option must be exercised by the third day of the 2019 league year; at that time, he gets a fully-guaranteed roster bonus of $10 million and a fully-guaranteed base salary of $7.5 million.

So to get $17.5 million next year (plus $2.5 million in per-game roster bonuses), Bradford will have to earn his $20 million in 2018. And by $20 million, of course, I mean $15 million. As Gantt previously noted, a full $5 million of Bradford’s supposed $20 million haul in 2018 is tied to Bradford actually being able to suit up and play in each and every game.

It’s still not bad at all that Bradford got $15 million guaranteed for a supposedly degenerative knee. But Case Keenum’s $18 million per year on a two-year deal suddenly looks a lot better if Bradford gets to $20 million per year only if he plays in every game of both years. Keenum gets $25 million fully guaranteed at signing, and the whole $36 million is guaranteed for injury.

So if Keenum tears an ACL in training camp and for some reason can’t play for two years, he gets $36 million. If that happens to Bradford (again), he gets $15 million. Which seems a lot more fair and equitable given their respective performances from a year ago in Minnesota.