Tomlinson was scheduled to make $24 million over the final three years of his contract. Under the new deal, the Chargers gave him a $2.875 million signing bonus and lowered his base salary to $3.825 million, a source said. In so doing, Tomlinson was able to keep the 2009 payout of his contract at $6.725 million.
That $6.725 million payout number was important because Darren Sproles, his backup, was given the franchise designation and is scheduled to make a little more than $6.6 million this season. Under the revised contract, Tomlinson, who is the starter, is making the most money among the running backs.
In return for preserving his 2009 salary, Tomlinson reduced the overall payout of his three-year contract to $6.625 million, a $1.375 million savings. Tomlinson has a $2 million option bonus due after the season, which forces the team to make a decision if it wants to keep him for the 2010 season.
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.