Last offseason, the Miami Dolphins exercised their fifth-year option on center Mike Pouncey, locking him into the 2015 season, the final year of his rookie contract. The option pays Pouncey a fully-guaranteed $7.4 million this year, a huge salary-cap hit for a team looking to create space this offseason.
It sounds like, however, both the Dolphins and Pouncey want to come to terms on a new contract, one that would keep Pouncey in Miami long-term, as well as lower his salary cap number this season. According to a report from the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero, a source close to Pouncey believes reaching an agreement on a new contract "shouldn't be too hard."
For the Dolphins, a new contract makes sense. The team has a two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman, who has now made the league's all-star game at both center and guard, and is just 25 years old.
For Pouncey, a new contract also makes sense. Instead of a $7.4 million season, he could get more money this year, while counting less against the cap, if the deal is structured correctly.
Salguero's report indicates Pouncey's twin brother Maurkice Pouncey's five-year extension with the Pittsburgh Steelers last year should serve as the framework for Mike's deal. That deal gave Maurkice a $13 million signing bonus, with base salaries of $1 million in 2014, $1.75 million in 2015, $3.5 million in 2016, $7.5 in 2017, $7 million in 2018, and $7 million in 2019. It also includes roster bonuses of $3.75 million this year and $3.5 million next season.
What makes a deal like this beneficial for the team is the $13 million signing bonus is prorated across the length of the deal, meaning only $2.6 million of it counts toward each season's salary cap. It is beneficial to Maurkice because he is handed a $13 million check as soon as he signs the deal.
It's a win-win, at least in the early seasons. In the last three years of the deal, where Maurkice's cap number will jump to $10.1 million, $9.6 million, and $9.6 million, the hit will be harder. Of course, those numbers can then be changed by the two sides agreeing to a new contract, and basically doing the entire process over.
Using Maurkice's contract as the example, Mike would likely agree to the deal because he gets that $13 million check at the beginning, plus another $1 million over the season, compared to the $7.4 million the fifth-year option gives him. The Dolphins would like to do this deal because the $3.6 million salary cap hit from this contract is less than the $7.4 million hit from the fifth-year option.
Again, it is a win for both the team and the player. And, as Salguero's source said, this "shouldn't be too hard."