The term ‘pay cut’ gets thrown around a lot. Probably a bit too loosely, actually. In reality, rarely to players take flat pay cuts. Usually their deals are restructures that either guarantee the player won’t lose money long term or can make back the money they lost and perhaps more.
Donald Penn’s deal coming into this season carried a base salary of $6 million with $3 million guaranteed and a cap number of $8.38 million. This week he and the Raiders re-worked that deal in what was being called a pay cut. Well, it is as far as the Raiders in 2018 are concerned. It will save them approximately $3.4 on the salary cap this year, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
In his restructured deal with the Raiders, Donald Penn's 2018 base salary drops from $6M to $3M, per source. His 2018 cap number is now $4.975M (down from $8.381M), while he gets $2.75M guaranteed added to his deal in 2019.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 15, 2018
Penn’s contract goes through 2019, but his salary next season carried no guaranteed money, and a cap hit of over $10 million which all but, well, guaranteed, he wouldn’t be playing on that contract at the age of 36.
His new deal adds $2.75 guaranteed for 2019, so even if the team does decide to cut him, he would get back most of his lost base salary for this season. My hunch is there is probably some incentives worked into his current deal as well which could bring his 2018 salary back up closer to it’s original figure.
Either way, saving $3.4 million is no small thing. It could be just enough for the team to offer Khalil Mack’s camp what they are asking in up front money on an extension. Mack is currently scheduled to make $13.8 million and the Raiders figure to have between $6-8 million in cap space after the Penn restructure. Do the math on that and it equals around $20-22 million which is the range Mack is expected to be asking for on a yearly average basis.