According to the Tampa Tribune, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't just give safety Dashon Goldson a two-year guarantee, as has been their habit over the past years. Originally, ESPN reported that the Buccaneers guaranteed Goldson's first two years. It has now emerged that the third year is also guaranteed -- which means the total guaranteed money for Dashon Goldson comes down to $25.5 million. That's a lot, and it means that if Goldson does turn out to be a disappointment the Buccaneers are stuck with him through 2015.
The Bucs do have recourse if Goldson misses playing or practice time due to off-field issues, though. Because that's why the Bucs managed to void of Eric Wright's guaranteed money. Per the Tampa Bay Times, Wright's contract contained broad language allowing the Bucs to void the guarantee if Wright were to miss any time due to off-field issues, excluding family emergencies and the like.
This has some serious, far-reaching implications and the fact that the arbitrator held up those terms gives NFL teams tremendous power over players. If a player gets suspended for any reason, he will apparently see his guaranteed money evaporate immediately.
There's another factor in this whole guaranteed salary that we're quick to overlook: whether all this money is guaranteed for skill, for injury or both. That is usually not reported on, but it is crucial. If money is guaranteed for injury but not skill, that means the Bucs can cut a player and not pay his guaranteed money as long as he's not injury. And the reverse can be true too: if a player is injured and therefore about to be cut, he loses any guaranteed money if the guarantee was for skill only.
The fact that the third year in Goldson's contract is also guaranteed leaves the Bucs with significantly less protection than at first appeared to be the case. But yesterday's revelation regarding Wright's contract gives them a lot more protection than they used to have.