Darius Slay’s contract details and breakdown

Eliot Shorr-Parks
March 25, 2020 - 8:36 am

The details of the contract the Eagles handed to cornerback Darius Slay are out, and as expected, it is a Howie Roseman special — very cheap early on, very expensive in the later years. 

Slay received a three-year, $50.05 million contract extension, making it a four-year deal that nets him $26.05 million in guaranteed money. His 2020 ($1.05 million) and 2021 ($12 million) base salaries are guaranteed. 

Here is the breakdown of salary-cap hits, according to Over The Cap

2020: $4.3 million cap hit

2021: $15.75 million cap hit

2022: $19.75 million cap hit ($13.25 million saved if released/traded, $6.5 million in dead money)

2023: $20.75 million cap hit ($17.5 million saved if released/traded, $3.25 million in dead money)

While the cap hits go up considerably, it is important to note that the salary cap will as well. Slay will still be one of the more expensive players on the roster, but as the cap goes up, the impact of a $19.75 million cap might not be as bad in 2022 as it would have been in 2020. 

A closer look at the deal shows it is in some ways really just a two-year commitment. 

The Eagles can move on from Slay in 2022 and save $13.25 million in salary cap space, with just $6.5 million in dead money, a relatively low number in dead money. Slay will be 31-years old in 2022, and if he is still playing at a high level, the Eagles will likely either re-do his deal or just keep him on the current one. If his play has slipped, however, they can release him and open up cap space. It would be very surprising if Slay was playing in 2023 on his current deal. 

In fact, if you want to look at it strictly in terms of cap hits, Slay’s deal is really a two-year deal that will average $10 million in cap hits. Add in the potential for dead money in 2022 if the team releases him, the clear out-year in the contract, and that average goes down to $8.85 million. 

The structure of the contract should elevate the concerns some had about the Eagles being stuck with an older cornerback on a big-money deal. The team is really only committed to Slay for the 2020 and 2021 season, seasons which Slay will be 29 and 30 years old. Anything is possible, but it is fair to assume Slay will still be able to play a high level when he is 30-years old. 

Although trading a third-round pick for an expensive veteran isn’t exactly cost-effective, landing a player of Slay’s caliber on a two-year, relatively cheap deal was a wise move by Roseman considering how badly the team needed help in the secondary. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!