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Breakdown of LB Christian Kirksey’s contract extension with the Browns

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Nearly a month after signing it, we have the year-by-year breakdown of Kirksey’s 4-year, $38 million extension.

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

Way back on May 30th, the Cleveland Browns announced a 4-year, $38 million contract extension with LB Christian Kirksey. For weeks, I’ve been searching for the year-by-year breakdown of the contract, but the NFLPA database didn’t have the details. At last, on Tuesday, I found the base salary information, and then this morning, Over the Cap has the signing and roster bonus portions covered.

LB Christian Kirksey’s Original Rookie Contract, 2017

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 $1,797,000 $165,625 $0 $0 $1,962,625

Kirksey was going to make $1.963 million against the cap. Cleveland worked out a four-year extension with him, but also spread the money over the 2017 season. In total, Kirksey gets $38 million in new money, of which $20 million is guaranteed.

LB Christian Kirksey’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 $3,797,000 $1,365,625 $0 $0 $5,162,625
2018 $5,000,000 $1,200,000 $0 $0 $6,200,000
2019 $7,000,000 $1,200,000 $0 $0 $8,200,000
2020 $7,750,000 $1,200,000 $1,000,000 $0 $9,950,000
2021 $8,250,000 $1,200,000 $1,000,000 $0 $10,450,000
Total $31,797,000 $6,165,625 $2,000,000 $0 $39,962,625
  • For 2017, Kirksey’s base salary was increased by $2 million. The contract includes a $6 million signing bonus, which is pro-rated over 5 years at $1.2 million per year. The 2017 signing bonus column includes the $1.2 million plus the small amount that was remaining from his rookie contract.
  • Kirksey has $20 million in guarantees (in addition to the $1.963 million left over from his original contract). This includes his entire base salaries for 2017 ($2 million via the extension), 2018 ($5 million), and 2019 ($7 million). The $6 million signing bonus gets us to the $20 million.
  • Kirksey is due $1 million roster bonuses in the final two years of his contract, but neither are guaranteed. So, like most NFL contracts, this is basically a three-year guaranteed deal, and then “we’ll see what we need to do” when 2020 and 2021 come around.

There don’t appear to be any fancy escalators like there were in Joel Bitonio’s contract extension -- this one is pretty straightforward. On a per-year average, this makes Kirksey the 13th-highest paid linebacker in the NFL. With Jamie Collins being the 6th-highest paid linebacker in the NFL, Cleveland has firmly committed to that duo for for at least the next four seasons.

It’s also worth noting that Kirksey is only 24 years old. You have to go way down to the No. 36 spot to find the next youngest linebacker (Dante Fowler, 22 years old, Jaguars), and at that point, you’re talking about first-round picks still on their rookie contracts.