Sometimes you can gauge a player's standing with a team based on his contract. Vince Young signed a one-year, $1,987,500 contract with the Bills this offseason.
Here are the particulars and what it means for Young and Buffalo:
Young received a $350,000 signing bonus. That is the only guaranteed money in the contract.
Young's 2012 salary is $1.25 million if he makes the team. That's about average for a backup quarterback. The Bills are getting good value for a former No. 3 overall pick and a player with a 31-19 record as a starter. Young actually has many more wins than Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is 17-31 in his career.
The Bills put an interesting wrinkle in the contract. Young can earn incentives of just over $24,000 a game for being on the active, 46-man roster this fall. The third, emergency quarterback rules no longer apply after the new collective bargaining agreement in 2011. Therefore, Young has a good chance to earn this weekly bonus if he stays healthy. The Bills also have the option to make Fitzpatrick and the versatile Brad Smith active on game days, and potentially use Young's roster spot for another position and not pay Young the bonus.
Overall, signing Young to a modest contract was a smart play for Buffalo. It looks like Fitzpatrick and Smith will take up two quarterback slots this year, while Young and Tyler Thigpen battle it out for the final roster spot.
If Young doesn't make the team and is beat out by Thigpen for the backup job this summer, Buffalo is only on the hook for Young's $350,000 signing bonus because his salary isn't guaranteed. That is not a steep price for the chance to see what Young can do.