Since being picked third overall in the 2009 NFL draft, Chiefs defensive end Tyson Jackson has played under the microscope associated with understandably lofty expectations. He's improved each season as a pro, finishing with a career-best 55 tackles in 2011. But his scheduled base salary for 2012 of over $8 million was a huge total for any defensive lineman, and the 25-year-old has agreed to restructure his contract.
Under the new terms of the deal, Jackson will be paid $4.25 million in base salary, including $4 million in fully guaranteed money. His salary cap number of $10.755 million in 2012 has shrunk to $9.5 million.
The Chiefs are in no sort of financial bind, as they are amongst the league leaders in available cap space, so this move likely had little to do with an attempt to create more fiscal flexibility.
More likely, the price tag of $8.05 million (Jackson's previously scheduled base salary) was too steep for the team to justify paying him given his level of play.
The contracts agreed to with rookies prior to the institution of the most recent collective bargaining agreement were long a point of discussion, and the figures were severely curtailed in 2011 (e.g. Cam Newton's $22 million in guaranteed money last year was down from the $50 million Sam Bradford received with his contract in 2010).
With Jackson's new deal done, each of the top six picks from the 2009 draft have had their contracts altered, be it in the form of an extension or restructure, as he joins Matthew Stafford (Lions), Jason Smith (Rams), Aaron Curry (Raiders), Mark Sanchez (Jets) and Andre Smith (Bengals).