A Look at the Tebow Contract
I have gotten a few emails about how the Tim Tebow contract works with the Jets and here is the information I have now on it. Let me just preface this by saying it may not be 100% accurate but I believe this to be close to the way the contract works.
Tebow is one of the last QBs remaining on the old rookie contract structure with all types of potential bonuses to be unlocked. The salary advance that was the big topic of debate became a big deal that all teams started to use in 2007 due to a 2006 court ruling that allowed Ashely Lelie to keep an option bonus from the Denver Broncos when he held out from the team. I believe the decision was based on the option bonus being paid to exercise an option not contingent on the player honoring his deal. Being that it was the Broncos back then its something the Jets should have been aware of, but that ordeal is now over.
In 2011 Tebpw saw his first significant playing time by participating in over 70% of the Broncos offensive snaps which unlocked a number of escalators in his salary. He triggered a one time bonus of $472,500 that the Jets will pay him in 2012 at the start of training camp. He also unlocked a $310,000 escalator in 2012 that the Jets are responsible for. His maximum cap charge in 2012 will be $1,100,000 not including the $1,265,940 payment the Jets make to the Broncos this year and next.
The excess playing time earned Tebow two escalators in 2013 and two in 2014. The first was a $425K escalator in 2013 and a $165 escalator in 2014. The added performance placed another additional $5 million and $6.25 million on top of that in those two seasons. That brings his cap charges to $6,055,000 and $7,145,000 the two following years.
Every year Tebow has a number of incentives that he can unlock in his contract:
If he passes for over a certain number of yards and finishes in the top 5 in any passing category he earns a $1 million dollar escalator the following season.
If Tebow plays in 70% of the Jets offensive plays and in 70% of the offensive snaps in a playoff win he earns an additional $250,000 for each win.
If Tebow is named NFL MVP or Super Bowl MVP he will earn an escalator of $375,000
If Tebow is voted into the Pro Bowl he earns a $200,000 escalator.
So the total extra amount he can earn each year is $2,575,000.
The likelihood of attaining anything other than a Pro Bowl nod is minimal so the possibility of further escalation in his contract is minimized. That said I would not expect the Jets to pay a backup over $6 million in 2013 while their starter has a large guaranteed cap figure to stay on the team.