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Adam Archuleta contract issues clarified

Update [2007-3-19 20:31:54 by Skin Patrol]: Hat tip to Windy City Gridiron. Adam Shefter says the Redskins are renegotiating Archuleta's contract for a future trade:
NFL Network's Adam Schefter reports the Redskins are working on a new deal for Adam Archuleta in hopes of trading him later this offseason. Schefter calls Chicago a likely landing spot, as Lovie Smith ran St. Louis' defense when Arch appeared to be a player on the rise. The Bears also need insurance for Mike Brown, who's recovering from a Lisfranc injury.
Makes sense. A June 2nd or later trade would minimize slightly the cap hit we take on when we do trade him, though I still think it's crazy to suffer a 9M cap hit this year just to unload a guy who will cost us 2.4M in '07. Whatever. Discuss below.

Enormous thanks to Washington Post beat writer slash Blogger extraordinaire Jason La Canfora for all his work and for clarifying a point for me today that I think needs mentioning here.

In Saturday's Post, Canfora wrote on Adam Archuleta's contract extensively and the possibility that he wouldn't be a Redskin. Here is what I gathered directly from Jason that I have either mistated or else simply neglected to mention in the past:

I believe Archuleta's original 5M signing bonus was prorated over 6 years, and not the 5 years I typically mentioned. That puts it at 833K per year. I don't know why this is as the CBA states in Section 7(b)(i)(1)(a):

Signing Bonuses. Proration. The total amount of any signing bonus shall be prorated over the term of the Player Contract (on a straight-line basis, unlses subject to acceleration or some other treatment as provided in this Agreement), with a maximum proration of six years, in determining Team and Player Salary, except that: (1) Maximum proration shall be five years (a) for contracts entered into during the period after the last regular season game of the 2005 League Year through the last regular season game of the 2006 League Year...
I thought that Adam Archuleta's contract was entered into during the period mentioned above; we signed him March 13th of 2006. The last regular season game of 2005 was (presumably) in December of 2005. The last regular season game of 2006 was December 31st of 2006. March 13th of 2006 is between those two dates. Right? Anyways we can move on regardless of this, as there are two 5M bonuses (one signing and one other) and what is relevant is that one of them is prorated over 5 years and one of them is prorated over 6.

Anyways, my repeated number for signing bonuses was typically 1M per year for 5 years. That doesn't appear to be the case, per correspondence with Jason La Canfora.

Here are the three relevant scenarios, and this is per a reliable source per a reliable source and I'm running with it. Please keep in mind however that this contractual nonsense is enormously complicated, I don't have access to sources or contracts or agents and thus cannot hammer out the details as readily as others, and thus I'm working at a disadvantage when reporting this and operate entirely on the word of others combined with my idiot-understanding of the CBA.

From all that here are the 3 scenarios with their attendent cap consequences to the best of my knowledge and idiot-understanding of Archuleta's contract:

  1. Excercise Archuleta's option and keep him on the team in '07. He makes 600K in salary + 833K in prorated bonus. Excercising the 5M option prorates 5M over 5 years adding 1M on '07 salary, meaning Archuleta would cost around 2.4M in '07 salary cap space.
  2. Not excercising Archuleta's option and keep him on the roster. The non-excercised option turns into a 5M bonus that is non prorated meaning he will cost the team 600K + 833K + 5M in '07 cap hit. 6.4M
  3. Cutting him either way will cost just under 9M in dead cap space; the 5M option bonus he is guaranteed will get accelerated + around 4.16M in remaining signing bonus. This amount can be shifted slightly over the course of two years with the majority of it in '08 dead space.
I've ordered those three in order of how I would rank them in viability with a severe drop off from 1 to 2. I think the best option by miles is excercising the stupid bonus and keeping him on the roster. We're going to pay the guaranteed money no matter what -- it's time to live with that. The only thing we can "save" ourselves by cutting him now is his '07 base salary. At 600K there isn't anything especially unreasonable about what he is paid. We'll have the option to cut him in '08 (when an additional 1.8M of his guaranteed money is chipped away) but even then his base salary is only 1M -- very earnable if he can get on the field between now and then. Even by 2009, when his base salary moves up to 4M, the salary cap will be significantly higher and consequently so will player's contracts. 4M might not be the end of the world but if it is it will make far more sense to cut him then than now. Why? Because by '09 we will have shaved off millions of his 10M guaranteed money. With less money in dead cap hit protecting his 4M salary, it would make more financial sense to cut Archuleta in '09 than it would in '07.

The only justification I can see for this team not to keep Archuleta on the team is if they honestly think he can't possibly earn his '07 and '08 salary (this presumes they think he can't earn his '09 salary as well, as it is significantly higher). If the team thinks Adam Archuleta cannot earn 1.6M over two seasons in unguaranteed salary, than they would see fit to cut him. I don't see how that could possibly be the case, but if it is than Adam Archuleta really has become absolute dead weight in the eyes of our coaching staff.

At this point I am so absolutely lost on Adam Archuleta's contract. I am going to refrain from commenting additionally until something gets done, as I feel that I've confused myself (and reader(s)) by ruminating on said contract for the past few months. I think this represents a perfect opportunity for me to wait on the news to happen and simply repeat what is said by more reliable sources, as I have done more to cloud than clarify this important issue.

Will keep you posted.