The Joe Staley contract extension had been in the works for several months. Today, I learned more details after communicating with a league source with knowledge of the deal, which was signed Thursday.
Staley’s six-year extension, through the 2017 season, includes $40 million of “new money.” The contract includes $16 million guaranteed. The total package can fluctuate $3 million up ($43 million) or $3 million down ($37 million), depending on Staley’s performance and whether he remains healthy.
Some of the other details of the contract are interesting. Staley, according to the source, will not receive a signing bonus. Signing bonuses are prorated for the life of a contract for salary-cap purposes. Instead, Staley will receive two roster bonuses, which count immediately against that year’s cap.
The reason the 49ers would structure the deal in that way is because they have an abundance of salary-cap space. The 49ers were approximately $25 million under the cap before the Staley extension. Staley’s 2009 cap figure, with this new deal, rises from $1.42 million to $11.6 million.
Staley is signed for nine more seasons. A lot of times when a player gets a big paycheck early in the contract, he grows frustrated that the yearly salaries are not as high on the back end. In recent years, there have been several Philadelphia Eagles who grew frustrated with back ends of their long-term deals, including Brian Westbrook, Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard.
It can reasonably be assumed that the 49ers took measures to avoid that kind of potential future discontent with Staley. (Chief negotiator Paraag Marathe declined comment through a club spokesman.)
All of Staley’s bonus money is heavily deferred. Although the guaranteed bonus money will count immediately against the cap, Staley will keep getting checks for a long time. Because he will continue to receive that money through the years, perhaps there will be less reason for Staley to be discontent with his yearly income.
“I’m excited about my deal, and I’m going to play that contract,” Staley said. ‘Any of that is way too far down the line to ever think about. I think it’s a fair value for myself, and I look forward to playing football.”
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Staley, clearly, is pleased that Mike Martz is no longer the 49ers’ offensive coordinator. While the offensive line had its share of problem last season, Staley does not believe the unit was as bad as this number suggests: 55 sacks allowed.
“This system of offense (under new coordinator Jimmy Raye) that we’re running this season fits more to our strengths, as opposed to last season,” Staley said.
“It’s more (about) getting the ball out a little quicker. The reads are a little bit faster (to) cut down on the sacks.”
Staley also noted the 49ers plan to use a power-running game between the tackles, as opposed to last year’s philosophy of “outside running all the time.”
“It fits our offensive personnel more, which is going to contribute to the offensive line looking better and us playing better,” Staley said. “Play-action helps us immensely. If you can set up the run and establish the run game, and get (the defense) thinking run, then in a run situation you throw a play-action (pass) and there’s a potential for a lot of big plays.”
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