The Raiders officially announced the signing of offensive tackle, Austin Howard, Wednesday. And aside from getting a good young right tackle, the details of his contract are definitely something for the organization to be proud of.
Howard signed a reasonable 5-year, $30 million deal with the team but what makes it more than reasonable is just how that money will be paid out. It's basically a pay-as-you-go contract,
Here are the details according to Overthecap.com.
Austin Howard signed a five year, $30 million contract with the Oakland Raiders on March 12, 2014. Howard received a $5 million roster bonus and fully guaranteed base salary in 2014. His 2015 base salary is guaranteed for injury and will become fully guaranteed in March of 2015. Howard will receive a $3 million roster bonus on the 5th day of the 2015 League Year. Base salaries of the contract are $2,900,000(2014), $3,900,000(2015), $4,400,000(2016), $4,900,000(2017), $5,400,000(2018).
What this means is if he doesn't pan out this year, the team can cut him with zero dead money. None of his bonus money is prorated because of the large cap space the team has to work with.
In years past, the Raiders have been cap strapped which meant they had to use prorated signing bonuses to stretch it out. The result was finagling and shuffling of contracts every year and it eventually caught up to them and put the new regime in the cap strapped situation they were in the past two years.
There is no reason to think Austin won't be all he was hoped to be. He has a good body of work by which to judge him, having started every game at right tackle for the Jets the past two seasons. It's actually rather surprising the Jets didn't try to match that deal.
This is the kind of luxury having $66 million provides a team. They got a fine young offensive tackle, paid him a good amount up front to avoid any future commitment if things don't work out for any reason.