Details on Saints’ landmark contract with Erik McCoy

·2 min read

Whew: Erik McCoy just became a very wealthy man. The New Orleans Saints’ starting center reached an agreement with the team on a long-term contract extension, which NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports will run five years. Garafolo adds that the deal is valued at up to $63.75 million, carrying more than $40 million in guarantees. It’s a big deal for a top-five center in the league.

That total amount includes incentives, which means that the actual annual payout may clock in lower than the $12.75 million it averages out to. But if that’s an accurate number, it clocks in as the fourth-best return for centers around the league — only Eagles veteran Jason Kelce ($14 million per year),  Lions Pro Bowler Frank Ragnow ($13.5 million), and Buccaneers cheap-shot artist Ryan Jensen ($13 million) are getting more. And of that group, only Ragnow is receiving higher guarantees at signing ($42 million).

How does this impact the salary cap? We’re still waiting on exact details and the structure of the deal, but it’s likely going to open up a little room for New Orleans in 2022. McCoy’s salary cap hit was north of $3.4 million prior to agreeing on this extension, most of which came from his $2.79 million base salary. The Saints can now kick a lot of that into future years and create some more room for 2022 by lowering his base salary to the veteran minimum ($965,000) and paying him back the difference in his signing bonus. That would free up as much as $1.8 million in cap space and help facilitate minor moves throughout the season. New Orleans was under the cap by just $2.89 million on Thursday prior to the new deal.

So good for McCoy, and for the Saints in reupping a homegrown talent. McCoy just turned 25 in August and will be well positioned to cash in again by the time he turns 30. Jensen signed his new contract earlier this year just months before his 31st birthday. Kelce will be 35 in November. If McCoy sustains his impressive level of play, he’ll have another opportunity to secure a big payday.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire