It began innocently enough. It was an easy day to plan for. After the alarm clock plays its Twisted Sister number that startles me awake, I set into motion my daily chores (five-mile run, morning cup of coffee) and then later, pick up my brother to see Guardians of the Galaxy (awesome movie, by the way). Later on Monday night, I was scheduled to take a sleep study -- being hooked up to 40 wires and told to go to sleep; finding out why I 1) can't fall to sleep and 2) stay asleep. And surprise! I never fell asleep. Without having the technician come in and unhook all of the wires, bathroom breaks were out. A refreshing taste of cold water? Nope. I could have if I wanted to, but it was more trouble to unhook everything than it was worth -- and those were minor irritations. A plastic tube bending into my skin and inserted into my nose... kind of distracting and somewhat of a hinderance to breath for someone with asthma, allergy issues with a sudden parchness in their mouth. I'm currently running on fumes with a double-helping of a french vanilla latte.
Anyway, before all of that... it was around the time that I pulled into CVS on Monday morning, to satisfy another damned addiction (pistachios), when reports began pouring in that Andy Dalton and the Bengals agreed to a six-year extension worth $115 million.
So essentially, it was another typical Monday morning.
Whoa. Wait. They did it? I said to my phone, without someone on the other end or anyone else in the car.
Dalton. Six years. A contract worth $115? Those were the initial reports. And they were maddening -- especially a Holiday Inn world of basement experts with professional-level insight on contracts, salary caps and a team's complete economics. The truth is naturally a little less than that. Pro Football Talk puts the number closer to $96 million. He'll make $18 million in 2014 ($12 million signing bonus, $5 million roster bonus this week and a $986,000 base salary for 2014). Dalton will earn another $7 million ($4 million roster bonus and $3 million base salary) in 2015.
The rest of the base deal is simple. In addition to annual workout bonuses of $200,000, Dalton has base salaries of $10.5 million in 2016, $13.1 million in 2017, $13.7 million in 2018, $16 million in 2019, and $17.5 million in 2020.
Dalton will make much more money based on his postseason results and total regular season playing time.
If in any year he participates in 80-percent of the regular-season snaps and the Bengals get to the divisional round of the playoffs (via wild-card win or bye), he gets another $1 million in each additional year of the deal. If he qualifies at any point for the conference title game (with 80-percent playing time in the regular season), another $500,000 flows into the base value of the deal, for each additional year. If he wins a Super Bowl he won’t be driving off in a Hyundai; Dalton will get another $1.5 million per year for each remaining year of the deal.
So the real number is $96 million with incentives to reach $115 million. Do those numbers bring some measure of peace in a checkbook that doesn't belong to you? Or are you just not sure about having Andy Dalton for another six years? In a way that's the beauty of this contract... if Cincinnati eventually wants to look for a new quarterback in three years (or test the quarterback that no one wanted in four rounds that Cincinnati grabbed during the draft), they can... with minimal consequence. If Dalton comes through, then Cincinnati keeps him and you forget all about the Dalton antagonising because now you're beating your chest at Steelers fans about your recent Super Bowl. Financially, the deal is fine. The question that I'll go back to is: Do you want Dalton for another six years? Not that it really matters what any of us think... Based on the family's powerful loyalty (and adamant refusal to admit mistakes), Dalton is here to stay.
And maybe that's why I couldn't sleep last night.