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Kolb deal “screams backup”


Kevin Kolb may indeed win a Super Bowl in Buffalo. If that happens, he’ll likely be carrying a clipboard and not a football.

When news broke more than a week ago of quarterback Kevin Kolb’s deal with the Bills, it was reported that Kolb, who made $20 million in 20 months with the Cardinals, could make a “maximum” of $13 million over two years in Buffalo. Sounds like starter money, right?

The truth, as a league source with knowledge of the deal tells PFT, is that the contract “screams backup.”

Specifically, Kolb is guaranteed to make only $1 million, and the contract has a base value of $6.1 million. This means that $6.9 million is tied up in escalators and incentives and other factors that likely require Kolb to actually play -- and play well -- to get the money.

Of course, the real details of a contract often gets lost in the shuffle of the intervening news cycles. The initial reports declared the deal to be worth a “maximum” of $13 million and the Bills curiously waited more than a week to finalize the deal. Though the reason for the delay isn’t specifically know, it means that the real value for most media outlets will become a footnote to the “maximum” of $13 million nonsense that was trumpeted at the time the agreement was struck.

And so, as we explained last week, Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson likely are competing for the same roster spot. If Jackson goes, the Bills will be out $500,000. If Kolb goes, they’ll be out $1 million. It’s a small price to pay for having a fallback plan in place before the draft-day dominoes start to fall.

UPDATE 11:57 a.m. ET: It’s unclear whether the base value is even $6.1 million. Apart from a $1 million signing bonus, workout bonuses of $100,000 per year, and base salaries of $1.65 million on 2013 and $2 million in 2014, Kolb has a $250,000 roster bonus in 2013 and a $1 million roster bonus in 2014. That $1.25 million could be tied to Kolb being on the active game-day roster or other factors that may not occur, even if he’s on the team.