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Breakdown of LB Jamie Collins’ contract with the Browns

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The full, year-by-year contract details for Cleveland Browns LB Jamie Collins are now available, via Over the Cap. We will take a look at the structure of his contract, such as his base salary, guaranteed money, and cap hits. Collins’ deal is considered to be 4 years for $50 million with $26.4 million guaranteed.

LB Jamie Collins’ Contract, Cap Hits Per Year

Year Base Salary Signing Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Total Cap Hit
Year Base Salary Signing Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Total Cap Hit
2017 $4,750,000 $1,250,000 $6,000,000 $100,000 $12,100,000
2018 $10,650,000 $1,250,000 $400,000 $100,000 $12,400,000
2019 $10,000,000 $1,250,000 $400,000 $100,000 $11,750,000
2020 $12,000,000 $1,250,000 $400,000 $100,000 $13,750,000
Total $37,400,000 $5,000,000 $7,200,000 $400,000 $50,000,000
  • Let’s start with the guaranteed money. According to Joel Corry of CBS Sports, effective today, Collins' $4.75 million base salary in 2017, $10.65 million base salary in 2018, and $6 million roster bonus (due on 3/11/17) are all fully guaranteed. We already know his $5 million signing bonus is guaranteed. That means if he suffers a devastating injury doing a team-related program in 2017, he’s still guaranteed more than half of his $50 million contract, perhaps without ever having to take a snap with the club. This is not unusual — I am just pointing out what “fully guaranteed” means.
  • From 2018-2020, gets a $25,000 roster bonus for each game he plays in (adding up to $400,000 for a full season). That money, along with his workout bonuses and his base salaries in 2019-2020, are not guaranteed.
  • Overall, the contract is dispersed pretty evenly each year with respect to cap hits. The creativity the Browns tried to use here is giving him a $6 million roster bonus this year instead of labeling it as a “signing bonus.” That means that $6 million doesn’t have to be spread throughout the life of the contract, so Collins’ dead money amounts in 2019 ($2.5 million) and 2020 ($1.25 million) are very affordable. This would only benefit the Browns if Collins were an absolute bust and they wanted to unload him without worrying about much dead cap space in the later years.

In terms of average per year ($12.5 million), Collins is the 4th-highest paid linebacker in the league (Clay Matthews, Justin Houston, and Von Miller are ahead of him). With the salary cap going up each year, though, Collins’ salary might fall out of the Top 10 of linebackers before long, making it a victory for the Browns if he is indeed the type of player they think he can be.