The details from ESPN's Roster Management System tell a little different story for the former Browns linebacker -- and indicate if things don’t go well, Jackson will again be treading in free-agent waters a year from now.
Jackson’s deal gave him a $1 million signing bonus and $4.5 million guaranteed salary this season. That’s $5.5 million of true guaranteed money.
In 2015, Jackson is due a $4.63 million roster bonus that is guaranteed only if he is on the roster on the fifth day of the league year. He then earns an $870,000 base salary, guaranteed for injury.
That $5.5 million in ’15, then, is truly not guaranteed. Because the Colts will be able to decide if Jackson’s play in 2014 merits the pay/bonus in 2015.
The deal looks even more iffy in ’16 and ’17. In those seasons, Jackson will turn 33 and 34, and is due salaries of $5.5 million and $5 million (with a $500,000 roster bonus).
Which means his base pay goes up as he ages.
Jackson, of course, can earn all the money by being productive on the field. And technically it is a $22 million contract.
But the likelihood of him seeing all $22 million might not be that high.
He might not even see more than $5.5 million.
In reality, it’s a one-year deal worth $5.5 million, with team options the next three seasons.