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A lot of probable reasoning behind the Bills not signing JJ Watt was the financial aspect of it. Reportedly Watt landed a two-year deal with the Cardinals worth $31 million.
Thanks to our friends at Cards Wire, we know a bit more about the details behind those numbers now.
In that $31M, we already knew that $23M was part of guaranteed money. Additionally, Watt gets a $12 million signing bonus. With a base value of $14.5 million in 2021, it means his salary for this coming season is $2.5 million. That means $13.5 million in salary in 2022.
Furthermore, via Cards Wire:
He has $3 million tied to the number of sacks he has. If he has at least 10 sacks this season, he will earn a $1 million bonus and his 2022 salary will go up by $1 million. He can also earn $1 million extra if he also has at least 10 sacks in 2022.
Based on the initial report of $23 million in guaranteed money, it would appear his 2021 salary is guaranteed and $8.5 million of his 2022 salary is fully guaranteed or at least will be at a certain date.
Finally, Watt’s salary cap number. If there are no void years post 2022, his 2021 cap hit will be $8.5M ($6M signing bonus proration and $2.5M salary) and could reach $9.5M if he hits his bonus. In 2022, his salary cap hit will be $19.5M (or $20.5M if he has 10 sacks this season).
While that figure might appear high, as long as fans get back into stadiums during the 2021 NFL season, the salary cap will probably revert back to a higher number from the $180M salary cap floor teams are currently working with, perhaps ever surpassing $200M.
Cards Wire has also reported that Watt has a no-trade clause attached to the deal as well. On only a two-year deal that seems like a no big deal, though.
All in all, if the Bills were in on Watt until the end? This is the deal that Buffalo was no comfortable with signing.
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