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Dre Kirkpatrick contract breakdown with Bengals

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The Bengals are paying Dre Kirkpatrick handsomely, but it’s a good deal for both sides.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the offseason, re-signing Dre Kirkpatrick was among the Bengals’ biggest priorities.

Even so, it was anyone’s guess as to what Kirkpatrick would end up doing when free agency arrived. With cornerback being such a premium position in the NFL, it was hard to project what kind of contract offers Kirkpatrick was going to get.

Though the Titans and Steelers showed interest in him, neither appeared willing to match what the Bengals were ultimately able to offer him, which is a deal paying him $10 million annually.

The Bengals are clearly now paying Kirkpatrick handsomely, but it’s actually a good deal for both sides. According to Over The Cap, Kirkpatrick’s deal pays him a lot of his guaranteed money within the first two seasons, but decreases significantly afterward.

Via Over The Cap

While the cap hit goes up as the contract goes on, the guaranteed money lessens enough that it won’t cost too much to cut him if he’s not living up to his deal. Hopefully it never comes to that, but this deal is clearly meant to pay Kirkpatrick nicely while motivating him to keep performing like he did last season, if not better. It helps that he’ll make $1 million if he hits all of his workout bonuses, which come as a $200,000 annual bonus if he hits the workout requirements. Kirkpatrick also his roster bonuses in all years of the deal, though the final three years have lesser roster bonuses than the first two years.

Kirkpatrick played at a Pro Bowl level for the second half of last season. He still has his lapses and can be a liability against smaller, shiftier receivers, but he’s also shown he can play at a high level, and at his position, that automatically leads to a big payday.

Personally, I’m a fan of this deal. My fear with re-signing Kirkpatrick was that the Bengals would pay him over $10 million annually and give him a ton of guaranteed money. Instead, they got him at $10.5 million annually with just $12 million guaranteed, most of which is getting paid out during his first two years of the new deal.