An Estimation Of The New Contract For Emmanuel Sanders

NOTE: this contract table may not be fully accurate, as it’s taking some guesses. Watch for an update on the OTC contract page for Emmanuel Sanders in the coming days.

Precise details on the Emmanuel Sanders extension have not come out yet, but thanks to two reports by Mike Florio and Mike Klis, I can piece together an estimated guess on what it could look like.

Florio has the cash breakdown for Sanders, including stating that “[h]e’ll make $13.25 million in 2016”.  However, while it is possible for Sanders to have a $13.25 million cap number, it would give the Broncos only about $1.3 million in current cap space, which cuts against the grain of their modus operandi.  Klis, meanwhile, said that  “Sanders will receive a hefty signing bonus”, and also noted on Twitter that “[h]e keeps [his] $5.6 million salary this year“.  That last piece of information joins well with the general concept that when a player is extended, the extension should not change the base salary of any years on his previous deal.

Therefore, I am guessing that Sanders received a $7.65 million signing bonus, the difference between the $13.25 million in cash payment that Florio reported, and his existing $5.6 million base salary for 2016.  If I am right about that guess, here is what Sanders’s new contract table would look like:

Year Base Salary
Prorated Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings
2016 $5,600,000 $2,912,500 $8,512,500 $21,000,000 ($12,487,500)
2017 $6,750,000 $1,912,500 $8,662,500 $12,487,500 ($3,825,000)
2018 $8,250,000 $1,912,500 $10,162,500 $3,825,000 $6,337,500
2019 $10,250,000 $1,912,500 $12,162,500 $1,912,500 $10,250,000

Here are the takeaways from such a contract:

  • Although Florio, like other national insiders, states Sanders’s guarantees as $20 million right in the title, at least he cedes in the body of his article that the $5.6 million in his 2016 base salary “became guaranteed as a practical matter on Wednesday”.  But more importantly, that $5.6 million comes from his previous contract.  Thus, the new money full guarantees that Sanders received were actually $14.4 million.
  • That said, $14.4 million in full guarantees, averaging to $4.8 million per year, is still a good win for Sanders.  In my proposed contract, I gave him new money guarantees of $10.4 million, $2.4 million higher than what Doug Baldwin got.  My guess is that the Tavon Austin deal, of which John Elway cited as a factor, pushed that guarantee tab upward with his $4.25 million guarantee per year average.
  • But while I ultimately shortchanged Sanders on the guarantees, I nailed the contract length (3 years) and was very close on the total value ($33 million vs $35 million).
  • The additional 2016 cap liability of almost $2 million is one that the Broncos can easily carry given their cap space.  Combining this with the signing of Austin Davis likely puts them in that nice $7 million range of cap space to get through the 2016 season.
  • As you can see in the cap savings column, this is a very easy contract to escape out of after the 2017 season. According to Florio, Sanders has a $6.9 million injury guarantee that becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 league year, so that’s enough time to act should something go wrong.

My verdict: another solid contract by Elway that is in good interest for the Broncos, yet is also is also fair to Sanders.