Source: Deal has $16M in guarantees
Antoine Winfield received the job security he was looking for Thursday when he agreed to a five-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings that, according to a source, is wroth $36 million and includes $16.1 million in guarantees.
"It was important for me to finish my career here," Winfield said on the team's Web site. "Once I'm done playing for the Minnesota Vikings, I'm done with my career. Ever since I signed with the Vikings five years ago, I've been playing at a totally different level. I want to win a Super Bowl and the Vikings give me a chance to win right now."
The complicated but profitable deal gave the 32-year-old cornerback, who was headed into the final season of his contract, four additional seasons with the Vikings. The deal should keep him with the team through the 2013 season and according to a source, the additional four years will provide $30 million in new money.
In some ways, the deal was somewhat rare because of Winfiield's age. Teams normally don't like to give long-term commitments and guarantees to cornerbacks in their thirties, with Ty Law of the New England Patriots the most notable recent exception.
The clinchers for this deal were the Vikings giving Winfield $16.1 million in guarantees and Winfield's willingness to insert a de-escalator into his contract for 2011. If Winfield turns 34 years old and is no longer the starter but is the third cornerback, he will be paid top salary for third cornerbacks -- around $3 million a year, according to a source. If he regains the starting job after he's 34, the higher terms of the contract would prevail.
It took an extra day to complete the language of the contract. Winfield's agent, Ashanti Webb, flew into Minneapolis on Wednesday night and spent most of Thursday completing the language with the team.
Winfield is coming off a Pro Bowl season and is considered one of the leaders of the Vikings defense.
The Vikings also signed third-round draft pick Asher Allen to a four-year contract on Thursday.
The cornerback was the 86th overall selection out of Georgia. He also could help the Vikings as a return man on special teams. Allen ranks third on Georgia's career list with 1,110 return yards.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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