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Remember when the Eagles traded for Darius Slay and made him the highest paid cornerback in the NFL? 

Well, it isn’t exactly what you think. 

Now that we have the full contract numbers on Slay’s three-year extension with the Eagles, let’s take a closer look: 

• Slay’s three-year extension is worth a total of $50.5 million with $30.05 million guaranteed but just $26.05 million guaranteed at signing, according to a league source. 

• So while Slay’s average per year with new money is $16.7 million, making him the highest paid corner in the league, his average salary over the next four years is just over $15 million per season. 

• And, here’s the big thing, the Eagles aren’t really committed to Slay past the 2021 season. 

This is a team-friendly deal that would allow the Eagles to move on from Slay before the 2022 season when he’s a 31-year-old corner. 

It could basically turn into a two-year, $26 million deal. 

• Coming from Detroit, Slay was scheduled to have a base salary and cap hit of $10 million in 2020 but the Eagles basically gave that money to him, plus some, in the form of a $13 million signing bonus to spread out the cap hit over the duration of the four years. He’s still getting that $10 million but he’s getting it right now, which is why he’d be all for this. Because of that, the Eagles have a minimal cap hit in the first year he’s in Philly. Pay attention to the cap hits. 

That $13 million signing bonus prorates over the length of the contract, counting for $3.25 million for cap purposes in each of the four seasons. He also has $500K workout bonuses from 2021-23 and a chance to hit an escalator in 2020 if he hits two of three marks for Pro Bowl nod, playing time and interceptions. 

Here’s a summary of the contract: 

2020: $1.05 million base salary ($4.3 million cap hit)

2021: $12 million base salary ($15.75 million cap hit) 

2022: $16 million base salary ($19.75 million cap hit) 

2023: $17 million base salary ($20.75 million cap hit) 

If the Eagles want to cut Slay after the 2021 season, they could save $13.25 million in cap space with $6.5 million in dead money (two final years of prorated signing bonuses). The cap savings is the normal cap hit minus the dead money. (Note: $4 million of his base salary in 2022 appears to be guaranteed for injury only, but that won’t come into play unless he’s hurt.) 

If the Eagles hold on to Slay for 2022 but want to cut him before the final year of the deal when he’s a 32-year-old corner, they can. They’d save $17.5 million in cap space with just $3.25 million in dead cap space (the final year of prorated bonus money). 

So if Slay is with the Eagles on this contract through the 2023 season, both parties would be happy about it because it would mean he’s playing at an elite level. But if he isn’t, the Eagles will have no problem getting out of it. 

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