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Breakdown of OG Kevin Zeitler’s contract with the Browns

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The full, year-by-year contract details for Cleveland Browns OG Kevin Zeitler are now available, via multiple sources. We will take a look at the structure of his contract, such as his base salary, guaranteed money, and cap hits. Zeitler’s deal is considered to be 5 years for $60 million with $23 million fully guaranteed.

OG Kevin Zeitler’s 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 $6,000,000 $2,400,000 $0 $0 $8,400,000
2018 $10,000,000 $2,400,000 $0 $0 $12,400,000
2019 $10,000,000 $2,400,000 $0 $0 $12,400,000
2020 $10,000,000 $2,400,000 $0 $0 $12,400,000
2021 $12,000,000 $2,400,000 $0 $0 $14,400,000
Total $48,000,000 $12,000,000 $0 $0 $60,000,000
  • There are still some grey areas with Zeitler’s contract, but we’ve done our best to put the pieces together to form the complete picture. He has $23 million that was fully guaranteed at signing. $12 million of that comes via a signing bonus, which is pro-rated on the cap to an amount of $2.4 million per year. His base salary for 2017 ($6 million) is also guaranteed, which brings us up to $18 million. The remaining $5 million comes from the fact that half of his base salary in 2018 is fully guaranteed.
  • Other reports say that Zeitler has $31.5 million in guarantees -- where does that figure come from? OK, remember that we’ve already accounted for $23 million worth of guarantees. In March 2018, the remaining $5 million of his 2018 base salary will become fully guaranteed, bringing us up to $28 million. At that same time, $3.5 million of his 2019 base salary also becomes fully guaranteed, which gets us to the $31.5 million amount. Odds are, the Browns aren’t going to cut Zeitler before next March, so many will say he’s getting $31.5 million guaranteed.
  • Other than that, the contract is pretty straightforward and even throughout the life of the deal. 2019 is the first year in which Zeitler’s contract becomes cuttable without an overabundance of dead money — they’d carry $7.2 million in dead money if they cut him in 2019.

In terms of average per year ($12 million), Zeitler is the highest offensive guard in the league, surpassing the $11.5 million per year that OG Kelechi Osemele got from the Raiders last offseason. There is no doubt about it -- the Browns are paying top dollar for Zeitler, but it’ll go a long way in improving the team’s pass protection and run blocking for head coach Hue Jackson.