Understanding Charles Godfrey's Extension

There's one thing that has really been annoying me this season and that's the talking heads in the area misleading the public into believing Charles Godfrey is somehow the highest paid safety in the NFL, and/or making them believe he's somehow getting paid more money than the Steelers Troy Polamalu (which is a blatant lie); yes, 'The Drive' on WFNZ I'm talking about you. I know it makes for great radio and this kind of rabble rousing gets the public all worked up against Marty Hurney, but please use some facts here.

Today I'm going to attempt to get all of this straight by showing you how the contract is broken down, and why despite what compelling, baseless arguments radio will have you believe neither is Godfrey's deal cap prohibitive, nor does it resemble Troy Polamalu's contract in any way.

Breakdown after the jump

The contracts

- Godfrey: 6 years, $28.7 million, $12.4 million guaranteed

- Polamalu: 4 years, $36.5 million, $10.55 million guaranteed

Rabble rouser's reaction: "WHAT!?!?!?! Godfrey is getting more guaranteed than Polamalu! RAGE!!!!"

My reaction: Godrey's guaranteed money equates to a cap hit of $2.06 million per season, Polamalu's equates to a cap hit of $2.63 million per season.

The details of the contract or, "Stop trying to mislead the public"

It's here where fans are getting the wool pulled over their eyes, and it's wholly frustrating. The decision to re-structure Polamalu's deal was to give the Steelers immediate cap relief as he was entering the final year of his contract at $6.4 million. In re-structuring he reduced his yearly salary in 2011 to $3.45 million, but on the back three years of the deal he's scheduled to make upwards of $10 million per year. This deal was for one year relief.

Meanwhile in Carolina here's what Godfrey's deal looks like:

2011: $600,000

2012: $700,000

2013: $1.6 million

2014: $5 million

2015: $5 million

2016: $5.3 million

Anyone care to guess when the Panthers are planning to part ways or restructure the deal? That's right, after 2013. We see these kind of deals all the time, backloaded with money the player will never see. This is what is happening with Godfrey's deal. To offset this they gave him a larger chunk of guaranteed money, but when you look at it in terms of the life of the deal it's rather minuscule, especially how they broke down the guaranteed money.

$12.4 million guaranteed

$5 million signing bonus

$5 million roster bonus in 2012

$400,000 in workout bonuses 2012-2016

$2 million in other guaranteed money

It's the roster bonus here that's important, because unlike a signing bonus I can't be spread over the term of the contract and must be paid in full. This hamstrings the Panthers a little in 2012, ultimately his cap hit will be around $6.9 million this year. Granted, this is a lot... but he'll make under $3 million in 2013, important because it frees up money for a Jonathan Stewart extension.

Final analysis

Please shy away from the rabble rousing on the Godfrey deal, because there's a lot of intentional misinformation flying around to make for good radio. Charles Godfrey is not making more than Troy Polamalu, not unless the Panthers keep him in 2014, without re-structuring, which wont happen- if you know NFL contracts you know this will be the case.

In looking at the details this is a shrewdly constructed deal that pays Godfrey a lot of money in 2012 when we don't have any players to really worry about re-signing. Yes, it impacts the Panthers' ability to sign free agents this season but the MO of this team will be to build through the draft and retain their own talent, Godfrey's deal allows for that.

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