The Pittsburgh Steelers acquired tight end Vance McDonald Tuesday morning via a trade with the San Francisco 49ers and now that we’ve taken a closer look at him when it comes to his play on the field, it’s time too examine what he’ll cost his new team in terms of salary and cap charges.
Last December, the 49ers signed McDonald to a five-year contract that had a maximum value $32.5 million if he hit all of his roster and playtime bonuses in addition to statistical incentives. The 49ers gave McDonald a $7 million signing bonus as part of that deal and now that they’ve traded him, they must account for the remaining $5.6 million amortization that’s on their books as dead money. $1.4 million of that will go as dead money for the 49ers in 2017 with $4.2 million set to be charged off against their cap number in 2018.
As part of McDonald’s contract that he signed, he’s scheduled to have base salaries of $2.1 million, $3.7 million, $4.2 million, $5.5 million and $5.5 million from 2017 to 2021. His base salary of $2.1 million for 2017 is fully guaranteed for skill and cap. If McDonald remains on the Steelers’ 90-man roster come April 1, 2018, all $3.7 million of his 2018 salary becomes fully guaranteed at that point. If he’s on the Steelers roster come April 1, 2019, $3.2 million of his $4.2 base salary that year then becomes fully guaranteed. As for his $5.5 million base salaries in 2020 and 2021, those are option years.
As part of his deal, McDonald is scheduled to earn $150,000 in annual workout bonuses for participating in 90 percent or more of the team’s offseason program. The 49ers have already handled that bonus in 2017, however. Additionally, McDonald can earn up to $750,000 in per-game roster bonuses in each year of his deal. Being as McDonald only dressed for 11 regular season games in 2016 for the 49ers, the Steelers need only to account for $515,625 to go his cap charge in 2017 as that is considered likely to be earned money. The Steelers will be credited or debited the difference of that roster bonus amount in 2018 should McDonald dress for less or more than 11 games during the 2017 regular season.
As far as incentives go, McDonald can earn $75,000 a season if he catches 55 or more passes and another $75,000 should hit 700 yards receiving in a single season. Being as he has never hit those statistical marks, that money goes down on the ledger as not likely to be earned. In short, there’s no reason to worry about that part of his contract until he hits those statistical levels and it will be great cap money spent should he ultimately do so.
In summation, McDonald is currently scheduled to count $2,615,625 against the Steelers salary cap in 2017. If he flounders this upcoming season, the Steelers can easily cut him by April 1, 2018 without incurring any dead money and the same goes in 2019 if he plays the next two seasons in Pittsburgh. As for the final two years of his deal, there are no dates or guarantees tied to his salaries and thus he can be cut at any time without any issue starting in 2020.
It’s important to remember that McDonald’s salary cap charges starting in 2018 can certainly fluctuate just a little depending on the amount of games he dresses for in 2017 and whether or not he hits his single season statistical incentive. Just keep track of the total amount of games he dresses for and watch his stats.
While McDonald’s currently scheduled salary cap charge in 2018 of $4.6 million might look a little daunting to you, keep in mind that early expert estimates have the league’s salary cap number being $180 million that year. McDonald will have to earn the right to see that 2018 money this upcoming season, however.
Moving forward, just look at McDonald as a year-to-year player as that is basically what he is.
|YEAR||BASE SALARY||SIGNING BONUS||LTBE ROSTER BONUS||NLTBE ROSTER BONUS||WORKOUT BONUS||NLTBE INCENTIVES||CAP CHARGE|