Thearon W. Henderson
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave Dashon Goldson a $41.25 million contract, with $22 million in guaranteed money. As has been Mark Dominik's custom, the Buccaneers did not give Goldson a roster bonus, instead guaranteeing all his money in the first two years. Here's how it breaks down, per ESPN.
2013: $4.5 million guaranteed base salary, $4.5 million guaranteed roster bonus ($9 million cap hit)
2014: $6 million guaranteed base salary, $3 million roster bonus ($9 million cap hit)
2015: $7.5 million base salary, $500,000 workout bonus ($8 million cap hit)
2016: $7.5 million base salary, $500,000 workout bonus ($8 million cap hit)
2017: $6.75 million base salary, $500,000 workout bonus ($7.25 million cap hit)
If you counted out the guaranteed money, you would notice the Bucs come $4 million short of the $22 million in guaranteed money. Presumably part of his 2015 salary is guaranteed as well.
This contract protects the Bucs both now and in the future. It is effectively a two-year contract, with recurring one-year team options. They can cut him in 2015 at a $4 million cap hit (assuming the total of $22 million guaranteed is correct), and can cut him in 2016 or 2017 with no financial repercussions. It's an intelligently structured deal that gives the Buccaneers ways to cut bait after two seasons if Goldson does not work out.
Salary cap implications
The deal is also significant, because it leaves the Buccaneers plenty of cap space to sign a few highly-priced free agents. Or more likely: trade for Darrelle Revis. The Bucs had $32.2 million in cap space going into the free agent period, per ESPN. The Bucs could increase that available space by releasing Eric Wright, which would net them $7.75 million assuming he loses his arbitration hearing. Releasing Quincy Black will likely net them around $4 million, assuming they have to pay him some amount as part of an injury settlement.
With Dashon Goldson and Jonathan Casillas signed, the Bucs have spent at most $12 million of that cap space (perhaps less depending on Casillas' contract). That leaves them with $20.2 million in cap space, of which they have to spend more than $4 million on rookie contracts. In other words: they have around $16 million in cap space remaining. They can free up $11.75 million more by releasing Eric Wright and Quincy Black. That's $27 million in cap space -- more than enough to give Revis a big extension, or sign a couple of free agents.