clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Massive contract details for new Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei

New, comments

That’s a spicy meatball.

The newest player to hold the mantle of “most expensive player on the Buffalo Bills” is free agent defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who this week signed a five-year, $50 million deal. Mike Rodak of ESPN was the first with the exact breakdown.

To kick things off, Lotulelei received a $13 million signing bonus, likely that high to keep his 2018 salary cap hit low while still giving him a good amount of money in the first year. Putting it in the signing bonus allows the team to spread the hit over five seasons. On top of that, he’ll receive his entire $3.5 million salary in 2018 and $2 million of his 2019 salary guaranteed, to total $18.5 in guaranteed money for the deal.

The guaranteed money in the second year is another nod to the 2018 salary cap and is reflected in the relatively tiny $6.7 million cap hit in 2018 vs. the huge $11 million cap hit the following year.

Five days into the 2019 league year, his entire 2019 salary will become fully guaranteed. Right now $5.15 million is guaranteed for injury only.

In addition to his salary, Lotulelei will receive roster bonuses five days into each league year; $1 million in 2019, 2021, and 2022 and $500,000 in 2020.

Since Lotulelei played in all 16 games in 2017, his $31,250 per game active roster bonus is considered Likely To Be Earned to the tune of $500,000 each season. He has the same game bonus in each subsequent season but they won’t count against the cap until we know how many games he played the season before. That will inform the Likely To Be Earned vs. Unlikely To Be Earned portion of the bonus, hence the “up to” numbers below.

If he is released after the 2018 season, Buffalo will have paid him at least $16.6 million and be on the hook for $2 million more in 2019 if he’s not signed by another team for at least the $2 million he is guaranteed in that season. His dead cap hit would be $10.4 million, so Buffalo would at most save $600,000 on the cap if he was signed elsewhere for more than $2 million. Buffalo’s first legitimate out is after the 2019 season when his dead cap number falls to $7.2 million. They would save $2.4 million on their 2020 cap by releasing him.

He’ll receive at at least $16.6 million in year one, $25 million in the first two years, $32 million in the first three years, and $39.75 million in the first four years. Those numbers are if he plays zero games. Add $31,250 for each game. If he plays out the entire contract, it’s $47.5 million plus the games played for a grand total of $50 million possible.

The deal makes him the highest-paid player on the Bills and the 11th-highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL (for now).

2018

Workout bonus: $100,000
Salary: $3.5 million (guaranteed)
Pro-rated portion of signing bonus: $2.6 million
Likely To Be Earned Per-Game Bonus: $500,000 ($31,250 per game)
Cap hit: $6.7 million

2019

Workout bonus: $250,000
Roster bonus: $1 million
Salary: $7.15 million ($2 million guaranteed, rest on fifth day of 2019 league year)
Pro-rated portion of signing bonus: $2.6 million
Potential Per-Game Bonus: Up to $500,000
Cap hit: $11 million (Up to $11.5 million)

2020

Workout bonus: $250,000
Roster bonus: $500,000
Salary: $6.25 million
Pro-rated portion of signing bonus: $2.6 million
Potential Per-Game Bonus: Up to $500,000
Cap hit: $9.6 million (Up to $10.1 million)

2021

Workout bonus: $250,000
Roster bonus: $1 million
Salary: $6.5 million
Pro-rated portion of signing bonus: $2.6 million
Potential Per-Game Bonus: Up to $500,000
Cap hit: $10.35 million (up to $10.85 million)

2022

Workout bonus: $250,000
Roster bonus: $1 million
Salary: $6.5 million
Pro-rated portion of signing bonus: $2.6 million
Potential Per-Game Bonus: Up to $500,000
Cap hit: $10.35 million (up to $10.85 million)