So, what’s the deal here? Who is correct? The answer is: everyone.
Long’s contract with the Eagles is officially a five-year deal, but the last three years are set to automatically void. So it’s really a two-year contract worth $4.5 million. Except that it’s really only a one-year deal.
Chris Long's 2-year, $4.5m deal with Eagles is really 1 yr, $1.5m ($500k fully gtd) with upside.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) April 3, 2017
Team has to make decision on Long's contract by 3rd day of free agency in 2018 ($500k roster bonus due).— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) April 3, 2017
OK, got it? If not, here’s an overview of Long’s contract via Over The Cap.
As you can see, the Eagles can part ways with the 32-year-old pass rusher after the 2017 season for a savings of nearly $2 million and only $400K in dead money. So, yeah, it’s basically a one-year deal unless it’s an obvious decision to keep Long around for 2018.
Long isn’t the only Eagles signing this offseason to receive a contract with voidable years at the end of it. Take a look at the structure of Nick Foles’ deal via Over The Cap.
As is the case with Long, the last three years of Foles’ five-year contract are essentially fake and will void.
The purpose of these fake years is so that the Eagles, who are tight on cap space in 2017, can spread the cap hit over future years. While this strategy helps the Eagles in the short-term, it’s not necessarily ideal in the long-term. It means the team will automatically have dead money in the future. It’s not an obscene amount, so it’s not unforgivable, but it could be a little annoying. (Especially for the Eagles’ new general manager if Howie Roseman isn’t in charge by then.)
Many questioned how the Eagles were able to make a number of signings this offseason despite being one of the teams with the fewest cap space in the NFL. These voidable contract years reveal how the Eagles made their moves.