'11 bonus key in Donovan McNabb deal
McNabb's five-year extension is worth $70 million and can get to $78.5 million if he is on the active roster for every game in those five seasons. The deal's maximum value is $88.5 million if McNabb leads his team to a Super Bowl victory every year.
But the real question is how much he'll actually earn and whether it will be in Washington.
One of the contract's most significant points is a payment due, when the Redskins must decide whether to pay McNabb a $10 million option bonus. If they do, it would trigger the rest of the contract and make Washington liable for McNabb's $2.5 million base salary in 2011.
The exercise period on the $10 million option bonus in McNabb's contract is between the first day of the league year and the day after the first game, according to an NFL Players Association source. This means Washington can go through this winter and spring before it makes a determination on whether to exercise the $10 million option bonus payment in McNabb's deal.
If they don't, then McNabb would stand to cash in. McNabb then would get to become an unrestricted free agent at a time when multiple teams will be looking to upgrade their quarterback, the position that commands the game's priciest salaries.
McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, clarified some of the details of McNabb's deal Tuesday to The Associated Press and acknowledged while the contract is worded so that it has "$40 million in guarantees," the Redskins do have an option to cut McNabb at the end of the season with no further money due.
Asked about his chances of not being with the Redskins next season, McNabb said Tuesday on his weekly radio show on ESPN980 that there is language in the deal that was necessitated by the possibility of a lockout.
"That doesn't mean I won't be a Redskin," McNabb said. "I will be here next year. ... Not just next year, but after that as well."
McNabb also responded to Cincinnati Bengals receiver Terrell Owens, who took a dig at McNabb over the Monday night debacle by tweeting: "How do u justify a 78 million dollar contract w/this type of performance?"
"It's funny he's worried about what I'm doing," McNabb said. "When what are they, 2-6?"
The Bengals are actually 2-7.
Option bonuses have become standard in all current deals due to the league's financial uncertainty and the lack of a collective bargaining agreement.
In McNabb's case, the Redskins paid their quarterback $3.75 million in 2010 for the right to pay him $12.5 million in 2011 and control his rights.
If the Redskins cut him after the year or trade him, they are on the hook for only the $3.75 million while McNabb has his football freedom. Plus, with this deal, the Redskins now will pay McNabb $17.5 million this season -- more than the franchise quarterback salary.
If McNabb suffered a catastrophic injury this season and never played again, he also would receive $25 million more.
Here is how the rest of the full deal breaks down, according to an NFLPA source:
• 2010: $3.5 million signing bonus/$250,000 if active eight games
• 2011: $10 million option bonus/$2.5 million salary/$750,000 if active 16 games/$250,000 workout/$2 million possible playoff incentives
• 2012: $12.75 million salary/$750,000 if active 16 games/$250,000 workout/$2 million possible playoff incentives
• 2013: $13 million salary/$1.5 million if active 16 games/$250,000 workout/$2 million possible playoff incentives
• 2014: $13.75 million salary/$3 million if active 16 games/$250,000 workout/$2 million possible playoff incentives
• 2015: $13.55 million salary/$2.25 million if active 16 games/$250,000 workout/$2 million possible playoff incentives
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Seahawks stifle Cardinals, stay in West race
- Brady, Pats keep rolling, stretch streak to 7
- Patriots RB Gray doesn't play after lateness
- Source: Texans' Mallet played with pec injury
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
NFL WEEK 11 PREVIEW