The Denver Broncos announced Monday that they had reached a four-year contract with franchised kicker Matt Prater. According to Mike Klis of The Denver Post, the contract is worth $13 million, or $3.25 million per season.
That's just shy of the $3.3 million per year average of the contract that franchised Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth received last month, but it still places Prater in the top five among current kicker contracts.
Two areas in which Prater came out ahead are the stated amounts of guaranteed money and the total maximum value of the contract.
According to a source with knowledge of the contract details, Prater's deal includes a $3.25 million signing bonus and a $1 million fully guaranteed base salary in 2012 for a stated guarantee of $4.25 million. Barth's deal had a stated guarantee of $4 million, comprised by a $3 million roster bonus in 2012 and $500,000 in base salaries in 2012 and 2013. Since the Buccaneers were not going to cut Barth in 2012, his true guarantee is $4.95 million (roster bonus plus full $1.45 million base salary in 2012 and $500,000 of his 2013 base salary).
Barth's deal maxes out at $13.2 million, while Prater's deal could be worth as much as $14.05 million, as $350,000 in undisclosed base salary escalators are available in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Prater and Barth had identical $2.654 million franchise tags and would have cost their respective teams a total of $5.839 million to franchise them in both 2012 and 2013. Under their contract extensions, both Prater and Barth are scheduled to earn $6.75 million over the next two seasons. The $200,000 difference in total contract value between Prater and Barth is found in the last two years of the contract, with Barth scheduled to earn $150,000 more in 2014 and $50,000 more in 2015. The available base salary escalators afford Prater the opportunity to surpass the Barth deal.
We'll see over the next two weeks what this means for Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee, who is a more established player than either Prater or Barth, and has a larger franchise tender ($2.88 million) to use as a base in negotiations. At the very least, Scobee's agent, Ken Harris, will be looking to beat Prater's $4.25 million guaranteed amount and may push the team with the most amount of cap space remaining for $5 million in guaranteed money.