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Comparing Andy Dalton's $115 million deal to Joe Flacco's $120.6 million contract

When the San Francisco 49ers signed quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a contract earlier this year with a maximum value of $126 million that was billed as having $61 million guaranteed, it was actually a deal with just $12.328 million guaranteed at the time of signing.

Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown followed a similar team-friendly, pay-as-you-go approach to a six-year contract extension this week for quarterback Andy Dalton, which differs greatly from how the Ravens structured their blockbuster contract for Joe Flacco.

The Baltimore Sun has obtained a copy of Dalton's contract.

While Flacco signed a $120.6 million deal that included a $29 million signing bonus and $51 million guaranteed, Dalton's contract has a maximum value of $115 million with a $12 million signing bonus and a total of $17 million guaranteed.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton's six-year, $115 million contract has a base value of $97.086 million, including a $12 million signing bonus and $17 million guaranteed.

The Dalton deal has an additional $18 million capable of being earned if he triggers escalator clauses. Those clauses are divided each year by the chance to make up to $3 million by qualifying for the playoffs, including divisional round, conference championship and the Super Bowl. There's also a playing-time component to the escalator clauses where he has to play 80 percent of the snaps.

Dalton has a $986,027 base salary this year. 

The contract includes a $100,000 reporting bonus and a $5 million roster bonus to be paid within three days of signing. His first-year compensation totals $18.086 million with a salary-cap figure of $9.059 million.

Dalton is due a $3 million base salary, a $200,000 workout bonus and a $4 million roster bonus in 2015. That marks the first year of his annual $3 million escalator clause. Dalton has a $9.6 million salary-cap figure in 2015.

From 2015 through the final year of the contract that runs through 2020, Dalton has annual $200,000 workout bonuses and identical $3 million escalator clauses.

His base salary for 2015 is $10.5 million with a $13.1 million salary-cap figure.

Dalton's base salary in 2017 is $13.1 million with a $15.7 million salary-cap figure.

Dalton has a $13.7 million base salary in 2018 with a $16.3 million salary-cap figure.

Dalton has a $16 million base salary in 2019 with a $16.2 million salary-cap figure.

During the final year of the deal in 2020, Dalton is due a $17.5 million base salary and a $17.7 million salary-cap figure.

Unlike Kaepernick, Dalton has no de-escalator clauses. Kaepernick's contract has a provision that would lower his base salary per year by $2 million starting in 2015 if he doesn't meet playing-time and Pro Bowl requirements.

The Ravens didn't include any language like that in Flacco's contract.

Flacco was already paid a $15 million option bonus this year and is due a fully guaranteed $6 million base salary with a $14.8 million salary-cap figure.

Flacco is due a $4 million guaranteed base salary in 2015, a $7 million option bonus and carries a $14.55 million salary-cap figure.

Flacco's contract is expected to be restructured after the third year of the deal following a payout of $62 million in the first three years of signing.

That's because the Ravens will want to reduce high base salaries and salary-cap figures in 2016 ($18 million salary, $28.55 million cap figure), in 2017 ($20.6 million salary, $31.15 million cap figure) and 2018 ($20 million base salary, $24.75 million salary-cap figure).

It's a much different approach to paying a quarterback.

Flacco broke the bank after being named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLVII where he defeated the 49ers.

The Bengals clearly took a more cautious strategy toward their financial commitment to Dalton, who has gone winless in three career playoff starts.

awilson@baltsun.com

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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