DeSean Jackson’s three-year contract with the Eagles is structured similarly to Malik Jackson’s deal, with an option bonus that alters the Year 2 base salary and two fake years that defer the cap hit, according to a league source familiar with the details of the contract.
Most importantly, it includes a manageable cap hit of just $3.164 million this year.
Because of the option bonus, Jackson’s deal can operate either as a two-year, $18 million contract or a three-year, $27 million deal.
The main component of the deal regardless of its duration is a $7.17 million signing bonus that Jackson receives now as part of $17 million in guaranteed money.
There are also $400,000 roster bonuses each year from 2019 through 2021 payable as weekly $25,000 bonuses for each week he’s on the team. There are also $400,000 annual workout bonuses.
All the bonuses count against the cap except $100,000 of the 2019 roster bonus, which is considered not likely to be earned, since Jackson missed four games last year.
As a three-year deal, Jackson has base salaries of $1.03 million in 2019, $6.2 million in 2020 and $8.2 million in 2021, with cap figures of $3.164 million this year, $8.934 million next year and $10.934 million in 2021.
The contract includes a $2 million option bonus for 2021 that they would need to exercise in 2020. If they pay Jackson the bonus, it would remain a three-year contract and would add $500,000 in pro-rated bonus money per year starting in 2020.
If they decide not to pay the option bonus, the $2 million is added to Jackson’s 2020 base salary, increasing it from $6.2 million to $8.2 million.
In that event, his 2019 cap figure would remain $3.164 million, but his 2020 cap figure would increase $10.434, since it would include the entire option bonus as part of his new base salary.
In that case, Jackson would become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season.
This contract structure essentially protects the Eagles from having to release players and give them a chance to gain compensatory picks by making them unrestricted free agents.
But it also protects the player because in the event he doesn’t get the bonus, he still gets the money.
The two fake years at the end of the contract serve to defer the cap hit beyond this year.
The signing bonus pro-rates to $1.434 million per year, so if this ends up being a two-year deal, it adds up to $4.302 million in dead money in 2021 — three years worth of pro-rated signing bonus — and if it’s a three-year deal, it adds up to $3.868 million in dead money in 2022 — two years worth of pro-rated signing bonus ($2.868 million) and two years of the pro-rated option bonus at $500,000 per year ($1 million).
Jackson, 32, enters his 11th NFL season with 589 catches for 10,261 yards and 53 touchdowns. His 17.4 yards-per-catch is highest in the NFL in the last 25 years, and his 24 touchdowns of 60 yards or more are most in NFL history.
After spending his first six seasons with the Eagles, he spent three with the Redskins and two with the Buccaneers before the Eagles traded for him last week and gave him this new contract.
Jackson had one year remaining on his contract with the Bucs paying him $10 million for 2019.
In the trio of Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Jackson, the Eagles are paying $22.16 million in base salary in 2019 with a combined cap hit of $27.27 million.
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