Yesterday, news broke that cornerback Darrelle Revis signed a contract worth $12 million for this upcoming season.
More information has surfaced and it turns out that his deal is actually structured over two seasons. The Patriots actually hold an option for a second season, which would greatly increase the value of Revis' contract.
Year one: Revis has a $1.5 million base salary, with a $500k roster clause (Revis will earn $33,333.33 per game active, up to 15 games) and a $10 million signing bonus. Total money is $12 million.
Year two (option): If Patriots exercise the option before April 1st, 2015, Revis earns $7.5 million base, another $500k roster clause, $12 million bonus. Total money is $20 million.
So if the Patriots keep Revis for both seasons, he'll earn the $16 million per season he was set to gain in Tampa.
Because the second year is an option, the Patriots aren't on the hook with regards to applying the total money to their salary cap, yet they're able to apply the signing bonus over two seasons. As a result, the Patriots aren't hit with a $12 million cap hit in 2014; instead they're only charged $7 million (the $1.5 million base, the $500k roster clause, and half of the signing bonus: $5 million).
It all likelihood, the Patriots won't exercise that second year option as that would be a ridiculous amount of money to pay any one player- and the fact that he would count $25 million against the cap, or over 1/6 of the projected cap in 2015.
The Patriots are probably going to seek an extension with Revis that would reduce his cap hit over a few seasons. Revis will be 29 this season and would likely earn a 3 year extension, should the Patriots value his services. If the Patriots wish to part ways, Revis would generate $5 million in dead money against the 2015 cap.