Breaking down Darqueze Dennard contract with Bengals

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

With the 24th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Bengals chose Michigan State corner Darqeuze Dennard. Projected by some as a Top 10 pick, Dennard fell to Cincinnati, who was happy to grab him.

Dennard recently signed his first NFL contract, which will pay him around $8 million over the next four years. At just $2 million annually, Dennard will be just the fifth-highest paid corner on the roster behind Leon Hall, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and Terence Newman.

That actually shows Dennard's importance. Having a productive corner making just that much over the next four years will make it easier for the Bengals to let Newman go when he's a free agent next year, and possibly part with Jones if he's not living up to his contract.

That money saved can then be used to help re-sign A.J. Green next year, assuming a deal for him doesn't get done this year.

Coley Harvey of ESPN did this breakdown of Dennard's contract with the Bengals:

Closer Look at Dennard's Rookie Deal:

2014
Base salary: $420,000
Guaranteed money: $420,000
Cap value: $1,450,709
Cash value: $4,542,836
Proration: $1,030,709
Roster bonus: $0
Workout bonus: $0
Cap savings: -$3,092,127
2015
Base salary: $782,677
Guaranteed money: $782,677
Cap value: $1,813,386
Cash value: $782,677
Proration: $1,030,709
Roster bonus: $0
Workout bonus: $0
Cap savings: -$2,061,418
2016
Base salary: $1,145,354
Guaranteed money: $1,145,354
Cap value: $2,176,063
Cash value: $1,145,354
Proration: $1,030,709
Roster bonus: $0
Workout bonus: $0
Cap savings: -$1,030,889
2017
Base salary: $988,031
Guaranteed money: $0
Cap value: $2,538,740
Cash value: $1,508,031
Proration: $1,030,709
Roster bonus: $420,000
Workout bonus: $0
Cap savings: $1,508,031

The Bengals were able to keep Dennard from having his fourth year guaranteed, meaning the team will actually save money by cutting him in 2017 if for some unfortunate reason his career has been disastrous to that point.

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