Friday, September 11, 2009

When is $100 million not $100 million?

Earlier today while listening to ESPN 980, after hearing about Albert Haynesworth's $100 million dollar contract for what seemed like the millionth time since he signed with the Redskins in February, my frustration has boiled over. I know it's easy to focus on the $100 million number. It's a lot of money. It's a shiny, eye-catching figure.

Most of the comments about Haynesworth and his contract over the last few months have been something like, "Daniel Snyder paid $100 million to a defensive tackle in his eighth season? He'll never earn that much money!" or "Haynesworth hasn't played in a full season since 2002. He's not worth $100 million!" Those criticisms would at least be reasonable if not for the fact that too many people are focusing on the dollar figure. Why is that unreasonable? Because he's not going to make $100 million.

I hate to re-post information that was covered a while ago, but too many fans, writers, and commentators seem to forget the specifics of Haynesworth's deal:

League sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that a $29 million "poison pill" in the fifth year of Haynesworth's contract effectively makes it a four-year deal worth $48 million. The Redskins would owe Haynesworth a lump sum of $29 million in salary and bonuses in 2013, the fifth year of the deal. It is unlikely the team will pay the full commitment of $100 million over seven years unless the contract is re-negotiated. Haynesworth will receive $41 million in guaranteed money.

A four-year deal worth $48 million with $41 million in guaranteed money -- still a ton of money, but not nearly $100 million. The only way Haynesworth makes anything close to $100 million is if he completely dominates every season he's in Washington and helps to transform the Redskins into Super Bowl contenders every season, which isn't likely.

And if he somehow does that, he'll be worth a lot more than $100 million.

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