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Comparing Antonio Cromartie's Contract to Dimitri Patterson's Contract

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Jed Jacobsohn

Many people are upset with Dimitri Patterson receiving $3M from the New York Jets, since this is only $500k less than what Antonio Cromartie received from the Arizona Cardinals. The thinking is, Cromartie can play at a high level (even if he was truly godawful last year), so why didn't the Jets pony up the measly difference? This article won't go into the merits of Cromartie vs. Patterson, except to note only that the team, which has more inside information on his health status than anyone else, decided Patterson was a better pick from a value perspective.

Like most contracts, the devil is in the details here. You can look at the $3M vs. $3.5M numbers and say it was a small amount, but you would be wrong, as our dear friend Mr. Mehta is in this situation. Let's take a closer look.

Name Base Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings
Antonio Cromartie $2,250,000 $1,000,000 $250,000 $0 $4,000,000 $3,250,000 $750,000
Dimitri Patterson $1,500,000 $1,000,000 $187,500 $0 $2,687,500 $1,000,000 $1,687,500

As you can see, there is a substantial difference in the amount of guaranteed money. Patterson is receiving $1M, guaranteed, while Cromartie is receiving $3.25M, guaranteed. While the remainder of Cromartie's salary is filled out with incentive-based bonuses, presumably to get him to play at a consistently high level, Patterson's is filled with game-day bonuses (which you can't see on the above chart). Essentially, if Patterson plays, he gets paid. If he's injured, which has happened to him often in the past, he gets nothing.

Projections of their future play aside, these are radically different contracts. In fact, I would go so far as to declare them the complete opposite, in terms of structure. Cromartie's is almost entirely guaranteed, while Patterson's is mostly based on his health. You're welcome to argue the team should have retained Cromartie, and I won't fight you, but to argue their contracts are negligible isn't true.