Garett Bolles Contract Extension Details

Per Ryan O’Halloran:

According to a league source who has viewed the full contract, here are the details:
*The deal is four years and $68 million (average of $17 million).
*The full guarantee is $40 million.
*The signing bonus is $20 million.
*The three-year cash is $39,969,383.
*The salary cap hits … $7.5 million (2020), $5 million (2021), $21 million (2022), $18 million (2023) and $20 million (2024).
*Bolles’ 2021 base salary, although only $1 million, is already guaranteed.
*Bolles’ 2022 base salary is fully guaranteed by the fifth day of the ’21 league year (March).
*In 2023, $2 million of Bolles’ base salary is guaranteed for injury-only and the base salary is fully guaranteed by the fifth day of the ’23 league year.

These details should translate to the following contract table:

YearBase SalaryProrated BonusCap NumberDead MoneyCap Savings
2020$1,969,383 $5,540,842 $7,510,225 $41,510,225 ($34,000,000)
2021$1,000,000 $4,000,000 $5,000,000 $34,000,000 ($29,000,000)
2022$17,000,000 $4,000,000 $21,000,000 $29,000,000 ($8,000,000)
2023$14,000,000 $4,000,000 $18,000,000 $8,000,000 $10,000,000
2024$16,000,000 $4,000,000 $20,000,000 $4,000,000 $16,000,000

As I suggested when I examined his contractual future, a priority for the Broncos was to craft a deal that they could escape from after just two seasons, in order to indemnify against regression or age. The Broncos succeeded well in this goal, as dead money is very manageable from 2023 onward.

Something else that this contract did very well was to keep Bolles’s 2021 cap number very low. I believed this to be a necessity due to the expected plummet in the salary cap for that season. By getting this extension done during 2020, the Broncos end up sticking $9 million in new money over the 2020 and 2021 caps. Now, once RFA and ERFA tenders are in, my guess is that the Broncos will have about $11 million in cap dollars to work with in the offseason under their current payroll.

As for the metrics, this contract is clearly not on the top tier of left tackle contracts that was established by David Bakhtiari, Laremy Tunsil, and Ronnie Stanley. His APY of $17 million is fourth highest behind those three, and only $500,000 APY above the second tier. The most competitive part of the deal for Bolles is the full new money guarantee of $38 million, via a $20 million signing bonus and $18 million of base salary guarantees. That comes just $2 million short of Tunsil’s $40 million for third place–although Bakhtiari’s reduced full guarantees reflects an old school approach by the Packers, who insist on avoiding salary guarantees beyond the signing bonus.

But it’s the running cash flows in which this contract really lags–not just well behind the top tier but behind several players in the second tier:

PlayerYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Ronnie Stanley$41,750,000 $51,250,000 $63,750,000 $78,750,000
David Bakhtiari$39,000,001 $53,000,001 $70,500,001 $92,000,001
Laremy Tunsil$29,650,000 $47,500,000 $66,000,000 Free Agent
Dion Dawkins$29,015,000 $38,145,000 $48,000,000 $58,300,000
Taylor Lewan$24,659,000 $40,659,000 $52,259,000 $65,159,000
Nate Solder$22,000,000 $35,000,000 $48,000,000 $62,000,000
Garett Bolles$21,000,000 $38,000,000 $52,000,000 $68,000,000

After one season on the extension, Bolles will earn less than six other left tackles, including Dion Dawkins, Taylor Lewan, and Nate Solder. Lewan and Dawkins also edge him after two seasons, and finally catches up to Lewan after three, when the guarantees start to run out.

In my opinion, Bolles signed a very team friendly contract. Compared to what I had described as a potentially team friendly contract, the metrics here fall even below that. There was potentially the specter of two consecutive franchise tag usages that would have pushed Bolles’s earnings over two years down even further, likely to about $31 million. But this is a specter that could have also applied to Bakhtiari and Stanley, yet both were able to sign long term deals for much more.

However, the decision to sign is ultimately up to Bolles, and the indications are that he is content with staying in Denver. As I said above, the guarantees are the strongest part of this deal. It would not surprise me if what Bolles valued the most in negotiations was long term security and consistency, even it comes with being patient and earning a little less. If so, such a value is very eminent and should be respected.