As I wrote in an article for The Viking Age last night, the Minnesota Vikings signed tight end Kyle Rudolph to a 5 year extension yesterday evening. The deal made him the 5th highest paid tight end in the NFL since the deal is worth $36.5 million and could be worth up to $40.5 million. While that looks like a ton of money on paper, the actual breakdown of the deal makes it much more manageable.
The contract includes some guaranteed money, but that number is deceiving in a way.
Over the course of 5 years, Rudolph is due to make $36.5 million. $19.4 million of that is guaranteed, including a $6.5 million signing bonus. The signing bonus is set to be distributed over the first five years of the deal to help give some relief to the salary cap. It is also expected that a lot of Kyle Rudolph’s guaranteed money will be weighed fairly heavily toward the beginning of the deal, similar to the deal that Everson Griffen was given.
The deal makes Kyle Rudolph the fifth highest paid tight end in the NFL with an average annual salary of $7.3 million. The only tight ends scheduled to make more than him this year are Jimmy Graham (Saints), Rob Gronkowski (Patriots), Jason Witten (Cowboys) and Vernon Davis (49ers).
Kyle Rudolph looks more than ready to try to live up to the deal. He has lost 15 pounds and has been declared 100% healthy going into the 2014 season. He will join an offence run by offensive coordinator Norv Turner that will focus on the running game and feature tight ends in a big way. If he can stay healthy, he could easily exceed the value of his deal.
Locking him up secures that many of the offensive pieces of this team will be in place for many years. Now it is up to offensive coordinator Norv Turner to turn this offense into an efficient point scoring machine and use Kyle Rudolph to his full potential. And it also allows for Vikings GM Rick Spielman to concentrate on bringing in more defensive talent in the future.
Special thanks to Spotrac.com for the contract numbers.