Last week, star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton signed a five-year contract extension with the Indianapolis Colts worth $65 million with $39 million guaranteed. That puts him at an average of $13 million per year over the course of the deal, which would rank fourth in the league among receivers. Now, however, some interesting details have emerged about Hilton's contract.
The National Football Post's Aaron Wilson got ahold of the contract breakdown and shared it. During 2015, he has a cap hit of just $3.136 million, though that escalates in the following years (full details in the chart below). He has $1 million in guaranteed salary this year and received a $10 million signing bonus. Furthermore, Hilton has a $6 million roster bonus that triggers on the fifth day of the 2016 league year, money that is guaranteed for injury.
That's where some of the details get interesting. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio also commented on some of the details of the contract, writing about a key area in which Hilton's deal doesn't compare to those signed by Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas earlier this offseason. Namely, much of Hilton's guaranteed money is guaranteed for injury only. Florio notes that only $11 million is guaranteed at signing (the $10 million signing bonus and the $1 million in guaranteed salary this year), while the rest is only guaranteed for injury. That's true of the roster bonus that triggers on the fifth day of the 2016 league year, that's true of the base salary for 2016 (until the fifth day of the 2016 league year), and that's true of the 2017 base salary (until the fifth day of the 2017 league year). By the time 2018 rolls around, the money is only guaranteed for injury.
Why is this significant? Well, as Florio notes, if the Colts make a change at either head coach or general manager after the season (unlikely, but the possibility is still there), they could realistically decide to part ways with T.Y. Hilton without having to be crippled by the contract long-term. Now, let's understand something: that won't happen. Though the contract may be structured so as to keep open the possibility, the Colts aren't parting ways with Hilton after the season - or else they wouldn't have extended his contract this offseason. Hilton is firmly in the team's long-term plans and it is fully expected that Hilton will be Andrew Luck's go-to guy for many years to come. So while it's an interesting note in the contract, it's nothing more than that. Hilton will be a Colt for many years to come.
It also makes it a bit more interesting when considering what agent Drew Rosenhaus told Indianapolis media after the deal was announced. According to the Anderson Herald Bulletin's George Bremer, Rosenhaus said that the desire to get a deal done right now was motivated (at least in part) by the fact that Hilton was due to make just $1.5 million this year, which posed a huge risk if he was injured. The contract details that have now come out shed more light on what Rosenhaus said, as it seems clear that getting money even in the case of injury was an important point. They certainly received that, as Hilton's deal contains a lot of guaranteed money - though much of it is only guaranteed in the case of injury.
Here's a chart detailing the five-year breakdown for Hilton:
|T.Y. Hilton contract breakdown|