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Colt McCoy’s contract extension

Thanks to Burgundy Blog and Spotrac, we now know the skinny on the previously-reported contract extension for the Redskins backup QB

Washington Redskins vs Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

We heard about it first on Twitter

Hogs Haven immediately posted an article that generated over 200 comments. There was a clear split in the fan base between those who were outraged at the idea of an extension for McCoy and the price tag attached, and those who wanted to “wait and see” what the details of the contract would be.

Twitter reporting of contracts

Typically, early news about extensions leaks from the player’s agent. Experience tells me that when the terms are favorable for the player, we tend to get pretty clear details about the contract almost right away — after all, the agent who is giving the scoop to the journalist wants credit for putting together a good deal for his client.

Red flags

When we hear only “headline numbers” like total contract value and number of years in early reports, followed by a lot of silence about the details, this is typically a ‘red flag’ to me that the contract is probably very team-friendly. It’ll probably take a week or so to find out the contract details, and they won’t be published in a detailed article and trumpeted on Twitter; instead, the details will be quietly posted on OverTheCap and Spotrac, where only a small number of fans who follow contracts closely will likely take notice.

The initial reports about the Colt McCoy extension all used the same language — that the deal was “worth up to $7m”.

That use of the words ‘worth up to’ is usually the second red flag that the deal isn’t likely to be as lucrative for the player as the initial ‘headline numbers’ suggest.

In an effort to keep the fan base from open revolt, someone gave a little bit of information to the press. John Keim’s initial article stated that “There are void and buyback provisions in the deal, which could still make McCoy a free agent after this season.”

Keim went on to point out that Colt McCoy’s current contract, which had been signed in 2016, had a clause in which the final year -- 2018 -- could void the rest of the contract if he played 65 percent of the offensive snaps. This was to give McCoy the opportunity to sign a new contract or enter free agency if he had a Nick Foles-type season where he took over the starting job and did well.

Keim seemed to be implying that chances were pretty good that the special provisions in the new extension would offer something similar to McCoy while limiting the Redskins salary cap exposure if he didn’t end up having to do much more than hold a clipboard for the next two seasons.

This isn’t the first time this has happened this year

Until we hear the details of a contract however, there’s a certain amount of panic mixed with outrage that the fan base will experience when Twitter announces the headline numbers leaked by a player’s agent. Remember the freaking out among the fan base when we saw the early Tweets for the Orlando Scandrick deal?

Eventually, the details were posted on OverTheCap, and Hogs Haven posted an article titled, Report: Scandrick contract has only $1m guaranteed; $2.6m against Redskins 2018 cap to review the details. Here’s what that article said:

Corner Orlando Scandrick received a $1 million signing bonus from Washington, but there’s no other guaranteed money in his two-year contract. He’ll count $2.6 million vs. the salary cap in 2018 and $4.25 million in 2019. If he’s cut after this season, the Redskins would only have $500,000 in dead money on their cap.

Another key part of corner Orlando Scandrick’s deal: play-time incentives and escalator clauses. Based on play time in both seasons, Scandrick can earn up to $1 million. in addition, he also has an escalator clause tied to play time in both years, which could trigger up to $1 million in salary. These triggers make it a good deal for both sides. If Scandrick doesn’t stay healthy or play well, then the Redskins won’t take a big cap hit if they had to part ways after one season. But if he does play well and is durable, which is what both sides want, then Scandrick would be taken care of with the incentives and escalators.

This was a far cry from the $10m headline number that Mike Garafolo put out on Twitter on March 20th, and a collective sigh of relief was heard around Redskins nation when it became obvious that this was a short-term rental of an experienced CB who could help smooth over the dual-loss of Breeland and Fuller, and offer some insurance against the possibility that the team didn’t get the expected development out of Dunbar and Moreau, or if the team’s positional depth was tested by injury. It certainly wasn’t an ualterable $10m commitment to an aging and oft-injured former Cowboy defensive back. The Redskins got some low-risk insurance and Scandrick got an opportunity to extend his career.

Interestingly, I have scoured Garafolo’s Twitter timeline, and I can’t find his later report with the details of the Scandrick contract.


You’re also not likely to get the details of the Colt McCoy extension from any national writers either, but — thanks to a Redskins blog and Spotrac — we’ve got the skinny for you here, today.

The structure of the Colt McCoy extension

Last week, Burgundy Blog tweeted that the details of the Colt McCoy extension had been obtained:

Spotrac published that information in the table format that is normal for salary info:


  • Cap hits of $3.6m and $3.5m in 2018 & 2019
  • No guaranteed money
  • The only dead cap is $600K leftover from his last contract
  • Total value = $6.5m over 2 years + the $600K leftover from last contract = $7.1m cap hit

Assuming that the Burgundy Blog and Spotrac reports (which are consistent with one another) are accurate, then this means that the outraged comments about the ‘Skins $7m per year, noodle-armed backup quarterback can probably come to an end. Based on these reports, Colt McCoy is a $3.55m per year, noodle-armed backup quarterback.

Colt’s money for 2018 and 2019 — if he continues to function primarily as the Redskins quarterback — will be pretty consistent, and will result in a cap hit of about $3.55m per year.

If Colt does more than a typical backup this season, then it could trigger a voiding provision in Colt’s contract to allow him to be a free agent in 2019. I haven’t seen a clear and unambiguous explanation of the voiding provisions, but we’ve seen some indications.

John Keim:

“McCoy had a clause in which the final year -- 2018 -- could void the rest of the contract if he played 65 percent of the offensive snaps.”


“It voids for...

  • 30% playing time + certain QBR


  • 50% playing time + a playoff game.”

The idea is that, if Colt plays a significant number of snaps and plays well (or in the playoffs) then he can get a Nick Foles-type situation as a reward; his contract can/will void, allowing him to leverage his 2018 play into a lucrative contract for 2019 and beyond.

Much like the Scandrick contract, this provides protection for the Redskins, who will shell out $3 to $3.5m per year for a player that Jay Gruden considers to be a reliable backup — a guy who played very well in the first preseason game against the Patriots, and who has played well enough in relief in prior years. But it also provides opportunity for Colt McCoy; if he has a season like Nick Foles with the Eagles or Case Keenum with the Vikings in 2017, then he has the opportunity to cash in on the open market in March next year.

Comparable contracts

OverTheCap hasn’t updated the McCoy contract yet — it’s possible that they’re waiting for some of the details, or they may just be slow — but this list of QBs from the OTC website, ranked by APY, shows who is being paid between $2m and $4m per year.

There are still some significant contract details that don’t seem to have been openly published yet, but the main brush strokes have been reported by two well-known sites, and there’s enough information available to draw the reasonable conclusion that Colt McCoy’s contract extension is a market-rate deal, with protection for the team and upside potential for McCoy. Unless there’s something unreported that we haven’t seen yet, there doesn’t seem a lot of reason to freak out over this extension. It looks like Eric Schaffer is still on the job.


What will happen to Colt McCoy in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    He’ll still be the Redskins backup
    (348 votes)
  • 12%
    He’ll be cut from the Redskins roster after Washington takes a rookie QB in the draft
    (55 votes)
  • 8%
    His contract will void, he’ll be a free agent, and will sign with a different team in 2019
    (36 votes)
439 votes total Vote Now