The Detroit Lions could be giving out a bunch of money to a group of new players this week. The franchise, though, is going to be paying out some familiar players, too.
Three key players for the Lions last season — including quarterback Matthew Stafford — are on pace for either picking up bonuses or having bonuses fully guaranteed (and therefore paid out) over the first five days of the new league year, which starts Wednesday.
And all of the payouts come in the millions of dollars.
It’s led, of course, by Stafford, who signed a five-year, $135 million extension last August that — at that time — made him the highest-paid player in the NFL. He has since been surpassed by Jimmy Garoppolo and likely could see Kirk Cousins pick up a bigger deal when he agrees to go to a new team.
But Stafford is getting some money coming to him this week, as a $6.5 million roster bonus that was only guaranteed for injury when he signed the contract becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the new league year. This is in addition to the $9.5 million base salary that was already fully guaranteed.
Stafford also could pick up $500,000 later this year in the form of a workout bonus.
As Stafford’s contract extension officially kicks in Wednesday, he has roster bonuses attached to his deal every year through the final year of the deal in 2022. This year, though, is the last year he has fully guaranteed money attached to his contract.
One of Stafford’s primary protectors, right tackle Rick Wagner, will have his $3 million base salary become fully guaranteed as long as he’s on the roster on the fifth day of the league year, too. Like Stafford, Wagner will have no fully guaranteed money on his deal after the 2018 season, although he does have his $9 million base salary in 2019 guaranteed for injury only.
Safety Glover Quin will have $3.6 million of his $3.85 million base salary become fully guaranteed on the third day of the league year. The day before that, he’ll pick up a roster bonus of $500,000 as well.
So it’ll be a lucrative week for those three players.
All three of these contracts were negotiated by general manager Bob Quinn and his staff, so with free agency coming, it’s worth noting the structure Quinn seems to like to use. A lot of the deals for re-signed free agents include roster bonuses and workout bonuses as part of the structure.
For high-ticket players coming in from the outside, Quinn mostly steered away from roster and workout bonuses. Wagner has none in his contract and Jones didn’t have one in the final four years of his five-year deal. He had a $2 million roster bonus paid to him just after he signed in 2016, but that’s it.
Cornelius Washington and Akeem Spence, two mid-level free agents Quinn signed last year, had both roster bonuses and workout bonuses tied into their contracts — more aligned with the re-signings he has made. Paul Worrilow and Darren Fells, veterans who signed one-year contracts with Detroit last season, also had either a workout bonus (Worrilow) or a roster bonus (Fells) tied into their contracts, too. Cornerback D.J. Hayden had both.
So that’s something to pay attention to as the Lions get ready to enter the new league year and come to terms with new players over the next few weeks.
Workout bonuses due for current Lions in 2018:
Matthew Stafford: $500,000
Theo Riddick $125,000
Cornelius Washington $100,000
Akeem Spence $100,000
Darius Slay $250,000
Matt Prater: $100,000
Sam Martin: $100,000
All salary information comes from ESPN Stats & Information. Follow Stats & Info on Twitter @ESPNStatsInfo