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Saquon Barkley Contract: Clarifying the "Guaranteed Money" Issue

Breaking down the differences between guaranteed money types--and why one is way more important than the other to a player.

As the clock ticks down to the 4 p.m. deadline on Monday for the Giants and running back Saquon Barkley to reach a new multiyear deal, a big sticking point continues to be the amount of guaranteed money in the first years of the contract.

But despite there being numerous reports out there about how much guaranteed money the Giants have offered Barkley during these talks, none of the reports have differentiated between fully guaranteed and total guarantees, which is a very significant difference and one which, once it's understood what the differences are, can maybe shed some light on each sides's stance.

Guaranteed at Signing

"Guaranteed at signing" money is simply the full amount of all the guarantees--the signing bonus, roster bonuses, and any other contract trigger that the player can earn regardless if he is on the roster.

Some of those guarantees--most notably the signing bonus--are spread over the contract's life. If there is a "guaranteed" option bonus, this doesn't take effect until the year in which it's written into the contract, and if the player's option is picked up, after which point the option bonus becomes prorated over the remaining years of the contract.

For example, a player gets a five-year deal with an option bonus in Year 4. At that point, if the club picks up the option, that money is prorated over Years 4 and 5 of the contract rather than the entire contract length. This mechanism is often done to ensure the layer's salary remains competitive while at the same time not choking the cap until it's had time to grow further.

The player doesn't get the money if a team doesn't pick up the option. But if the option is exercised, the money becomes "guaranteed."

In a nutshell, "guaranteed at signing" means the amount available for the player down the road if he is on the roster.

Fully Guaranteed

This is the amount players want to see bumped up because it simply means that any "guaranteed" money in the deal will be theirs, regardless of whether they're on the roster or what happens.

A recent example of this is former receiver Kenny Golladay. Golladay was due a $4.5 million roster bonus this year that was fully guaranteed, meaning he would collect that money whether he was o the Giants roster or not. When Golladay was cut, his cap hit was ridiculously high, thanks in part to this fully guaranteed roster bonus, a tactic teams use to outbid competition.

So Where is the Holdup?

Only Barkley's representatives and the Giants know for sure. If I were to take an educated guess, it would be that Barkley is probably seeking more fully guaranteed money than the Giants are willing to pay.

From the Giants' perspective, it doesn't make much sense to tie up gobs of fully guaranteed money in a player who may or may not be on the roster for the entirety of the contract. If we've learned anything from the Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence contracts, it's that the back ends of those deals have roster bonuses that are only guaranteed to the players if they are on the roster (as opposed to being fully guaranteed, regardless).

This could be a sticking point for Barkley. The Giants are considering a three-year deal for the running back with an out after two years. And it's possible that in trying to push the APY to a respectable number, they have a roster bonus in the last year of the deal, which isn't necessarily an ideal setup for the player.

The bottom one is there isn't much time left to get a deal done, and if both sides are firmly dug in, these remaining hours before the deadline will be tense to the scores of outsiders waiting to see how the standoff shakes out.