Contract Terms Revealed
By Howard Balzer
Published: August 15, 2011 @ 2:00am
After the Rams reached agreement on a four-year, $16 million contract with guard Harvey Dahl in the opening days of this year's chaotic free-agent signing period, there was some anxious moments for both the team and left guard Jacob Bell.
Needing salary-cap space, the Rams wanted Bell to take a paycut from the $6 million salary he was scheduled to receive in 2011. Several national reporters jumped the gun, saying Bell had refused the team's request and would be released. That appeared to be the case when Bell wasn't present at the team's first morning walkthrough of training camp on July 30. The scroll on ESPN said Bell had been released.
However, during the afternoon practice that day, Bell walked on the field and greeted coach Steve Spagnuolo, a clear indication an agreement had been reached.
That agreement, 101sports.com has learned, slashed Bell's compensation for this season virtually in half, but will make him an unrestricted free agent after the season. Because the final two years of his deal were eliminated, the Rams saved only about $475,000 against this year's cap.
Bell signed a six-year, $36 million contract in 2008 that included a $7 million signing bonus. Prorated, that's $1.167 million per year against the cap, making his original cap charge for 2011 $7.167 million.
In his restructured deal, Bell will receive a $2.29 million roster bonus on Aug. 18 and his salary this year is the $810,000 league minimum for players with seven accrued seasons. That's total compensation of $3.1 million, although he also can earn $2 million in not likely to be earned (NLTBE) incentives. Those do not count immediately against the cap, but would be charged against next year's cap if they are earned.
However, he still counts $6.691 million against this year's cap because of three years of signing bonus proration: this year and the two future years that were eliminated from the contract but had to be accounted for and accelerated into this year.
The Rams were able to retain Bell and not create another hole in the offensive line, but the price they paid was the chance Bell will leave after the season.
*Meanwhile, safety James Butler also had his contract restructured following the Rams' signing of safety Quintin Mikell to a four-year, $27 million contract.
Butler signed a four-year, $14 million contract in 2009 that included a signing bonus of $1.075 million. He was scheduled to be paid $3 million this season, $3.5 million in 2012 and have a cap charge of $3.269 million this year.
Butler's new contract makes him a free agent after this season, and will pay him the league minimum of $685,000 for players with six accrued seasons. He can earn $415,000 in NLTBE incentives.
His new cap charge of $1.223 million saves the Rams more than $2 million against the cap.
*101sports.com has also learned the figures for several of the team's free agents:
Wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker signed a one-year contract that includes a base salary of $750,000 plus a roster bonus of $218,718. In addition, he can earn weekly bonuses of $15,625 for every game he is on the active roster, $2 million in not likely to be earned incentives and $250,000 in other NLTBE incentives. Only the base salary and two bonus provisions count against the cap for a total charge of $1.219 million.
Running back Jerious Norwood: One-year deal for veteran minimum of $685,000; cap charge of $525,000.
Linebacker Zac Diles: One-year deal for $850,000 base salary; $150,000 roster bonus that was paid Aug. 8; $200,000 likely to be earned (LTBE) playing time incentives for a cap charge of $1.2 million. LTBE incentives count against the cap, but if the player doesn't earn them, the team receives a credit the following year.
Defensive tackle Daniel Muir: One-year deal for league minimum base salary of $685,000 plus $200,000 roster bonus for a cap charge of $885,000.