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What the Mike Vick Paycut Might Mean For the Jets

I’ve already seen some comments in the Twitterverse and around the web that somehow the restructure of Mike Vick’s contract somehow means something for Mark Sanchez. It doesn’t. They are completely different deals. Sanchez has a contract in which 100% of his base salary is guaranteed with no offset provisions. Vick had 19.4% of his base guaranteed with offset language. The cap hit to release Sanchez would be enormous. The Eagles would have gained cap room. That said this restructure could play a role for another Jet- Santonio Holmes.

In my Jets writeup from the other week I suggested a restructuring of the deal for Holmes based primarily on the fact that the Jets could gain cap room by threatening a release and the fact that not all of his salary is guaranteed. While some of the feedback I got was positive some of the negative feedback focused on players not giving up money unless they get something in return and how Holmes would have no reason to accept such a deal. Vick is 100 times the star that Holmes is. He is a more well known and spectacular player. He just agreed to a paycut and a pretty significant one at that.

Based on reports Vick has the potential, and I stress the word potential, to earn $10 million dollars in 2013. That is a far cry from the $15.5 million he was set to earn. At one point he indicated he would not play for a penny less. Clearly that was lip service and once he surveyed the market he realized his best option was sticking in Philadelphia. So Vick will need to earn that $10 million. My gut feeling is that they gave him a $3 million dollar signing bonus (the amount of his guarantee) a low base salary, roster bonuses tied to being on the gameday active roster, and numerous incentives for certain game related performance such as yards or touchdowns. This would be similar to what the Jets did with Chad Pennington in 2006.

The similarities between Vick and Holmes are pretty striking. While Holmes’ guarantee is higher the Jets would create cap room with a release. Both have offsets in their contract meaning they were pretty much capped out on salary they could earn. In Holmes’ case it is his $7.5 million guarantee and in Vicks was likely between $5 and $6 million which we will know is the case if that turns out to be the base value of Vick’s one year deal. Both are coming off injury making incentivizing a contract simple. Both have years remaining on their deals. Vick was willing to void his. Holmes could easily do the same. With only $2.5 million in dead money on the books in 2014 for Holmes the Jets can give him a low bonus if they wanted to and likely match the same structure that Vick is using where his final two years void next March. That was strictly done for proration purposes- both to lower cap charges now and to protect from acceleration of old prorated money. Really the only glaring difference is age. Holmes is younger but plays a far less important position.

Now Im sure some are still saying that I’m crazy and Vick took a bad deal and it was just one wacky occurrence. Except I just want to point out one last similarity. Vick is represented by Joel Segal. Why is that important? That is the same agent that represents Holmes. So the Jets now have a real framework to approach Holmes. Same situation. Same agent. Same contract structure. So no it doesn’t affect Mark Sanchez one bit but it could be a powerful message about what is to come for one of the other cap constraining contracts on the team.

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