The Redskins structured Terrelle Pryor’s one-year contract to transform $8 million into $6 million in 2017 salary cap space.
The basics of the deal are simple. Pryor gets a $3 million signing bonus and a $3 million guaranteed salary for 2017. Those two items account for the $6 million salary cap hit.
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Then it gets a little tricky. There are $2 million in incentives that Pro Football Talk characterized as “readily achievable”. However, in order to have them not count against the current year cap those incentives have to defined as “unlikely to be earned”. The definition of that is straightforward. If the player did not achieve the statistical level needed to trigger the incentive the previous season, the bonus is unlikely to be earned. If he did, the incentive is considered to be likely to be earned and it would count against the current year’s cap.
Let’s say that the Redskins wanted to do a $500,000 incentive for receptions. Pryor had 77 catches last year. An incentive that called for him to receive the bonus would have to be for 78 receptions or more for it to be unlikely to be earned. If 77 catches or fewer triggers the extra payment then it’s likely to be earned and the $500,000 would count against the current cap.
The incentives can carry over to the next year. If a player earns a bonus that is unlikely, it counts against the next year’s cap. And if the player does not collect on a likely to be earned bonus, the money is credited to the following season.
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The details of Pryor’s incentives are unavailable. But if they are based on standard statistics he has to have a pretty good year for the Redskins to collect. In addition to the 77 receptions, Pryor had 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. If Pryor can exceed any or all of those numbers, the team would be more than happy to write out the check for the $2 million in incentives.