Congratulations to LeSean McCoy for recently signing a $45 million extension with over $20 million of that guaranteed, but he will never see much more than the guaranteed totals as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Extensions like this are, for better or worse, public relations moves on the part of both team and player (and, of course, the player's agent).
Yes, Drew Rosenhaus gets to trot out this gigantic number of $45 million to the press and, more importantly, his other clients. He made McCoy one of the highest-paid running backs in the league.
In reality, McCoy was previously on his lowly paid rookie contract, earning the Eagles countless more millions of dollars than he will ever receive in return. By the time big money hits in this extension, McCoy will either be used up by the Eagles or conveniently need to take a pay cut by signing another extension.
According to Rotoworld, the contract breaks down as follows: 2012: $615,000; 2013: $3.25 million; 2014: $8 million; 2015: $10.25 million; 2016: $7.15 million; 2017: $7.85 million.
With the salaries in the first three years fully guaranteed (a total of $11,865,000), that leaves just over $8 million in bonuses as money that is guaranteed to hit McCoy's pocket. That lofty base total of $10.25 million in 2015 will almost certainly never be deposited in McCoy's bank account.
Between now and 2015, a lot can happen.
Philadelphia has a number of talented backs on its roster (including 2012 UDFA Chris Polk) and one back, Ronnie Brown, is witness to how little it takes to go from feature back to roster fodder.
What does all of this mean?
Well, this isn't meant to denigrate McCoy, who has earned this extension. And it isn't meant to besmirch the Eagles, who have done more than other franchises to reward their stud running backs (looking at you, Chicago).
Simply put, let's all remember this big total in 2015, when that dollar amount never actually reaches McCoy, and in every year between now and then, when a big-name player holds out or refuses to sign a tender because the numbers don't match up to his perceived value.
NFL contracts are not, and likely will never be, fully guaranteed. Because of that, each NFL team has full rights to cancel out any non-guaranteed money at any time. Big money is back-loaded in deals with little other reason other than PR for both sides.
As the NFL continues to evolve into a business worth hundreds of billions of dollars, the actual take-home pay of players is a much more logically responsible way to talk about what these players are making.
So congrats to McCoy and congrats to the Eagles for locking up another piece of great young talent, but $45 million might as well say "umpteen bajillion," because McCoy will never see all the money most outlets are erroneously reporting to be his.
Michael Schottey is an NFL Associate Editor for Bleacher Report and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He has professionally covered both the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions, as well as NFL events like the scouting combine and the Senior Bowl.