Just as the 2018 NFL Draft started back in April reports leaked out that the Seattle Seahawks had agreed to a one year contract with cornerback Byron Maxwell. Maxwell, an original member of the Legion of Boom had returned to Seattle in 2017 following unsuccessful stints with both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins.
When that news broke, even though initial reports included a dollar amount of $3M, that amount was vague enough in that it was “up to” $3M and not representative of how much the contract would cost the Hawks against the cap.
The #Seahawks agreed to terms on a 1-year deal with CB Byron Maxwell, source said. He returns to Seattle. It can be worth up to $3M.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 27, 2018
We now have the details on the contract and Maxwell’s 2018 cap hit.
The Seahawks' one-year deal with cornerback Byron Maxwell has a base value of $2 million, according to a source. The breakdown: $950,000 base salary; $500,000 signing bonus; $100,000 roster bonus (if on the 53-man roster in Week 1); $450,000 in per-game... https://t.co/BsYgOfDbzM— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) May 9, 2018
So, of the value that reaches up to $3M, the last million appears to be incentives that he is considered unlikely to reach per the definition of unlikely to be earned under the CBA. The meat of the contract is a $500,000 signing bonus, a $950,000 base salary, a $100,000 roster bonus if he survives cuts at the end of training camp and $450,000 in per game roster bonuses. Looking at that in my familiar spreadsheet table form looks like this.
In order to calculate that 2018 cap hit, the base salary and signing bonus are obviously included in full, which puts the number at $1,450,000. Then, to determine the Week 1 roster bonus, we look at whether Maxwell was on a 53 man roster with an NFL team as of Week 1 2017. Because he was on the 53 man roster of the Dolphins, then that is considered a likely to be earned bonus and it will count against the cap, pushing the number to $1,550,000.
From there we turn to the per game roster bonuses. With $450,000 in bonuses available for the entire season, that is $28,125 for each of the 16 games of the season for which he is on the 46 man game day active roster. To determine how many games he is expected to play for cap purposes, we once again look to 2017. Since Maxwell was active for nine games in 2017 between his time with Miami and Seattle, for cap purposes that is how many games the team must account for on the cap heading into the season.
Thus, adding the $253,125 in per game roster bonuses on top of the base salary, the Week 1 roster bonus and the signing bonus, we arrive at a 2018 cap number of $1,803,125 for Maxwell. As we saw during 2017, if the team has players on the active roster for more games than expected with per game roster bonuses attached, those per game roster bonuses become cap hits immediately. Therefore, if Maxwell plays a full sixteen games during the 2018 season, he will have a cap hit of $2M. However, if he plays fewer than nine games, the overestimation will not be put back into the cap until the arrival of the 2019 season.