Sam Shields’ new four-year, $39 million contract allows the Green Bay Packers to absorb the biggest hit in the final two years of the deal, when the NFL salary cap is expected to jump exponentially.
The 26-year-old cornerback will count $5,562,000 against the 2014 cap, $9,125,000 in 2015 and $12,125,000 in both 2016 and 2017, according to a source with access to NFL Players Association salary information.
Under current estimates, that means the Packers still have roughly $27 million left for this offseason and should be well-positioned with the cap expected to rise another $10 million in both 2015 and 2016, according to recent reports.
Shields’ $12.5 million bonus is prorated over the four years of the deal, which includes base salaries of $1.5 million, $2.5 million and $8 million in 2016 and 2017. He’ll also receive an annual $500,000 workout bonus with an additional $2.5 million bonus due on the fifth day of the 2015 league year.
During the season, the contract calls for a $500,000 roster bonus paid out in per-game increments of $31,250 for games that he’s active.
All told, Shields will make $15 million in 2014, $21 million over the first two years of the deal and $30 million in the first three. However, the $12.5 million signing bonus is the only guarantee.
Not a bad haul for a former undrafted free agent, whose biggest previous payday was signing a $2 million restricted tender last summer.
firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.