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Guarantees Were Likely Sticking Point In Spiller Holdout

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The Buffalo Bills have formally announced the signing of rookie running back C.J. Spiller, who agreed to terms on a five-year, $25 million deal with $20.8 million in guarantees earlier this morning. Examining his contract, as well as the deals signed by the two players immediately preceding and following him in April's draft - Rolando McClain and Tyson Alualu - it's pretty apparent that Spiller's lengthy holdout was based on guaranteed money.

McClain got $23 million guaranteed on a five-year deal from Oakland. Alualu got $17.5 million guaranteed; quick math tells you that had Spiller acquiesced to a deal exactly between those two figures, he'd have gotten $20.25 million in guarantees. But Spiller didn't hold out for that extra $550,000; he held out because accepting something in that vicinity would have been accepting less than the "going rate increase."

McClain's $23 million was a 19.7% increase over 2009 No. 8 overall pick Eugene Monroe, while Alualu's $17.5 million was a whopping 23.5% increase over Michael Crabtree's guarantees, of all people. Spiller's $20.8 million guarantee, meanwhile, is "only" a 15.5% increase over B.J. Raji's deal a year ago.

The Bills likely stayed patient with the holdout, and agreed to the lofty escalators that could ultimately pay Spiller $37.5 million over the life of his five-year deal, in an effort to keep the guaranteed portion of his contract slotted. In the end, the deal worked out well for both sides - Spiller has a chance to earn a fatter contract over the long haul, while the Bills made sure to keep the guaranteed portion of Spiller's deal in check as much as possible. Now, thankfully, we can end discussions on contract figures and watch the young man play football; he's expected to be on the field for tonight's practice.