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T.Y. Hilton gets $11 million fully guaranteed at signing

T.Y. Hilton

AP

On the surface, the five-year, $65 million extension with $39 million in guarantees looks similar to the five-year, $70 million contracts signed last month by Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas and Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, respectively. Closer inspection reveals significant differences.

Per a source with knowledge of the contract, Hilton earns only $11 million fully guaranteed at signing, with the rest of the guaranteed money for injury only.

There’s a $6 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2016 league year, guaranteed for injury only. There’s also a $3 million base salary for 2016, guaranteed for injury only until the fifth day of the 2016 league year, at which time it becomes fully guaranteed.

Another $8 million in 2017 salary is guaranteed for injury only until the fifth day of the 2017 league year. At that point, it will be fully guaranteed.

The last $11 million of Hilton’s guaranteed money is for injury only in 2018; it never converts to fully guaranteed (except if he’s on the roster as of Week One, which would allow him if cut to collect the balance as termination pay).

In contrast, Bryant got $32 million fully guaranteed at signing, with another $13 million that becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2016 league year. Likewise, Thomas received $35 million fully guaranteed at signing, with another $8.5 million that becomes fully guaranteed after the Super Bowl to end the 2016 season.

So Hilton’s deal is a straight year-to-year proposition, with the player getting $11 million in 2015. The Colts face a $9 million decision early in the 2016 league year, and another $8 million decision early in the 2017 league year. (Obviously, a truly career-ending injury unlocks the other $28 million.)

Hilton’s deal also includes non-guaranteed salaries of $13 million in 2019 and $14.542 million in 2020. The cap numbers are $3.136 million in 2015, $11 million in 2016, $10 million in 2017, $13 million in 2018, $15 million in 2019, and $14.542 million in 2020.

While it’s unlikely that the Colts would move on from Hilton after one year, there could be a new coach in 2016 and, if the team fails to make the playoffs in 2015, possibly a new G.M. A new coach and/or a new G.M. could, in theory, choose not to continue to make a major investment in Hilton.

Either way, the Colts gave Hilton a significant increase in what he was due to make this year, from $1.542 million to $11 million. And they’ve secure the ability to pay him $9 million in 2016, at their option.

If they don’t, he’ll become a free agent early in the league year -- with plenty of extra cash in his pocket from the raise he received in 2015.