Economics make Gannon expendable
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Rich Gannon might be in his last season as Raiders quarterback, because of the contract he signed last year.
Football contracts are routinely misrepresented by the media because they are not guaranteed contracts. A "seven-year deal for $70 million" means nothing if it's terminated by the team after the second year.
The key to these contracts is the signing bonus. Players like this because it's guaranteed money. Clubs like it because they can spread the bonus over the length of the contract for salary-cap purposes. If it's a substantial bonus, it also gives the players leverage because, if the player is released, all the remaining bonus counts against the team's cap number for that year.
Gannon's contract is for eight years. His salary this year is
$6.5 million. It goes to $7 million, $8 million, $9 million, $10 million, $11 million and $11.5 million in subsequent years.
He will not see the money from the last five years and quite possibly not even next year's salary, because his signing bonus was relatively small, $3.5 million. If the Raiders cut him after this season, roughly $2.5 million would be accelerated into next year's figures for the salary cap. That's not a troublesome number, especially because they'd be losing a $7 million salary.
Which means Marques Tuiasosopo will get a long look in the exhibition season. A second-round pick in 2001, Tuiasosopo was a player former coach Jon Gruden wanted, and present coach, then offensive coordinator, Bill Callahan also likes him.
Tuiasosopo is the same kind of quarterback as Gannon: an outstanding athlete, able to scramble away from pressure and occasionally run, and a good passer on the run. He has been learning from watching, but he hasn't had the chance to play, so the Raiders only can hope he'll be ready when Gannon leaves.