Numbers show compromise in new Tomlinson deal
By Kevin Acee
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The numbers on LaDainian Tomlinson's reworked contract are in, and they tell a story of compromise.
Tomlinson forfeited at least $6.125 million in potential salary over the three years on the deal, though he does have a chance to earn back $2 million of that by reaching yardage milestones in 2010.
Tomlinson, credited last week by team President Dean Spanos and General Manager A.J. Smith for helping the team create salary cap room so it could try to sign other players, afforded the Chargers approximately $4.1 million in cap relief over the three years.
As reported previously, Tomlinson will make $6.725 million in 2009, same as in the old contract. But $2.875 million was in a signing bonus, which means that amount is prorated over the life of the contract and saves the Chargers $1.25 million in cap room for '09.
Tomlinson's 2010 base salary is $3 million, of which $1 million is guaranteed even if he is released. There is also a $2 million roster bonus due next March, which means the Chargers have to release Tomlinson before then or pay him that money. Tomlinson can also make $2 million in incentives in 2010.
His 2011 salary is $6.15 million.
While Tomlinson was scheduled to make $24 million between now and 2011, he still has the potential to make almost $20 million.
“Being fair was what I was looking for,” Tomlinson said last week after agreeing to terms. “Not to really try to break the bank, just to be fair. That was all I was looking for. The Chargers have always been that. I didn't think they wouldn't be fair, and when it came down to it they were.
“(Providing cap relief for the team) is to get players here and help us win games. I've never been a selfish guy. The more guys we can have here to help us win. ... History tells us usually you do restructure late in your contract, and sometimes you don't get to; you end up getting released or traded. I was just happy I got the chance to restructure rather than be released or traded.”