Mr. Laz

12-09-2004, 09:41 PM

MARVIN'S DEAL NOT QUITE SO MARVELOUS

While the mainstream media continues to parrot (to the delight of agent Tom Condon) the numbers that Marvin Harrison will receive from the Colts -- $66 million over six years! $23 million in guaranteed money!! -- a league source has given us the real skinny on Marvin's not-so-marvelous deal.

For starters, Harrison's deal contains a paltry (in comparison to the reports) signing bonus of $6 million.

So where's the other $17 million in guaranteed money? Um, there isn't any -- unless Harrison suffers a career-ending injury between now and the dates on which two obscenely large roster bonuses come due.

Specifically, the Colts owe Harrison a roster bonus of $7 million on the second day of the 2005 league year, and a whopping $10 million on the second day of the 2006 league year. The Colts have the right to guarantee both of these roster boni, which would spread the cap hit over the remainder of the deal.

As for salaries, Harrison will finish 2004 at the prorated rate of $4.559765 million, roughly a million less than his prior rate of $5.56 million salary under his prior contract. But since he's already been paid 13 of 17 weeks at the higher rate, the real reduction in his salary is only 4/17th of the gross difference, or $235,349.

In 2005, Harrison's total salary will be only (only?) $1 million.

In 2006, his base salary will be only (only?) $2 million.

In 2007, the base salary moves to $4 million. In 2008, it goes to $7.6 million. In 2009, it goes to $9 million. In 2010, $10 million. In 2011, $11.4 million.

So what does it all mean? In our view, it's a two-year (i.e., 2004 and 2005) deal that will earn Harrison a total of $14.75 million in new money.

The question then will become whether the Colts pick up a $10 million roster bonus in 2006 (unlikely), guarantee the bonus and spread it over the remaining life of the deal (more likely), renegotiate the contract (most likely), or part ways with Harrison (not very likely, but hardly out of the question).

The cap hit, if the Colts decide to part ways with Harrison after 2005, will be manageable. The signing bonus will trigger a $4 million hit. If the Colts decide to guarantee the 2005 roster bonus, the total cap hit resulting from a release after the 2005 season will climb to $10 million.

The bottom line is that the guaranteed money isn't $23 million -- it's more properly characterized as $14.75 million, counting his paragraph 5 salary in 2004 and 2005, since the 2005 salary will be vested on the first Sunday of the regular season and since the Colts definitely will not release Harrison before paying his $7 million roster bonus in March 2005.

Our guess is that, after 2005, the Colts will look at Harrison's total production, check the market, and decide whether to guarantee the $10 million (reducing his 2005 cap number considerable), offer him a new deal with a lower signing bonus and smaller annual salaries, or thank Harrison for a decade of loyal service, and move on.

The one sure thing is that there's no way this deal will still be in effect in 2008, at which time Harrison's salary will be $7.6 million -- and Harrison will be 36.

Thus, the total money that he'll earn, including the $10 million roster bonus due in 2006 and his $4.6 million salary in 2007, is more like $30.75 million over 3.25 years.

Not chump change, by any means. But hardly the windfall that's been portrayed to date.

While the mainstream media continues to parrot (to the delight of agent Tom Condon) the numbers that Marvin Harrison will receive from the Colts -- $66 million over six years! $23 million in guaranteed money!! -- a league source has given us the real skinny on Marvin's not-so-marvelous deal.

For starters, Harrison's deal contains a paltry (in comparison to the reports) signing bonus of $6 million.

So where's the other $17 million in guaranteed money? Um, there isn't any -- unless Harrison suffers a career-ending injury between now and the dates on which two obscenely large roster bonuses come due.

Specifically, the Colts owe Harrison a roster bonus of $7 million on the second day of the 2005 league year, and a whopping $10 million on the second day of the 2006 league year. The Colts have the right to guarantee both of these roster boni, which would spread the cap hit over the remainder of the deal.

As for salaries, Harrison will finish 2004 at the prorated rate of $4.559765 million, roughly a million less than his prior rate of $5.56 million salary under his prior contract. But since he's already been paid 13 of 17 weeks at the higher rate, the real reduction in his salary is only 4/17th of the gross difference, or $235,349.

In 2005, Harrison's total salary will be only (only?) $1 million.

In 2006, his base salary will be only (only?) $2 million.

In 2007, the base salary moves to $4 million. In 2008, it goes to $7.6 million. In 2009, it goes to $9 million. In 2010, $10 million. In 2011, $11.4 million.

So what does it all mean? In our view, it's a two-year (i.e., 2004 and 2005) deal that will earn Harrison a total of $14.75 million in new money.

The question then will become whether the Colts pick up a $10 million roster bonus in 2006 (unlikely), guarantee the bonus and spread it over the remaining life of the deal (more likely), renegotiate the contract (most likely), or part ways with Harrison (not very likely, but hardly out of the question).

The cap hit, if the Colts decide to part ways with Harrison after 2005, will be manageable. The signing bonus will trigger a $4 million hit. If the Colts decide to guarantee the 2005 roster bonus, the total cap hit resulting from a release after the 2005 season will climb to $10 million.

The bottom line is that the guaranteed money isn't $23 million -- it's more properly characterized as $14.75 million, counting his paragraph 5 salary in 2004 and 2005, since the 2005 salary will be vested on the first Sunday of the regular season and since the Colts definitely will not release Harrison before paying his $7 million roster bonus in March 2005.

Our guess is that, after 2005, the Colts will look at Harrison's total production, check the market, and decide whether to guarantee the $10 million (reducing his 2005 cap number considerable), offer him a new deal with a lower signing bonus and smaller annual salaries, or thank Harrison for a decade of loyal service, and move on.

The one sure thing is that there's no way this deal will still be in effect in 2008, at which time Harrison's salary will be $7.6 million -- and Harrison will be 36.

Thus, the total money that he'll earn, including the $10 million roster bonus due in 2006 and his $4.6 million salary in 2007, is more like $30.75 million over 3.25 years.

Not chump change, by any means. But hardly the windfall that's been portrayed to date.