How Big is Daunte's Deal?

Daunte Culpepper

For the last several days, VU has been fielding questions about the $102 million deal signed by Daunte Culpepper. Here's the lowdown.

When the Vikings announced at minicamp that Daunte Culpepper signed a 10-year contract extension for $102 million, VU was immediately flooded with questions and comments -- both good and bad.

However, when asked by other media types on our impressions, we were quick to remind them of the contracts signed by Steve Young, Troy Aikman, and more recently Drew Bledsoe and Brett Favre. The true $100 million contract has never existed. That doesn't mean Daunte may not make $100 million as an NFL QB, it just won't be with this deal.

VU had a chance to get privy to the contract details. They are as follows:
* The actual cash value of the extension is $72 million. The remaining $30 million is based on escalator clauses and performance standards that may or may not be reached.
* The majority of the escalator portions of the contract are pushed to the final three years -- which makes it extremely unlikely that Culpepper's current deal will remain in its same form more than five years from now.
* His deal included an immediate $8 million signing bonus.
* In the first five years of the contract, he will have a base salary of $30 million, plus performance incentives.
* His base salaries for 2004 and 2005 are guaranteed.
* He will receive $2.5 million roster bonuses in 2006 and 2007 under the current contract.

In short, the deal gives Culpepper the financial security he wanted, but isn't the actual numbers released to the media. Like the franchise QBs mentioned above, his deal will likely be torn up by 2007 in exchange for another signing bonus and more guaranteed money. That's the way the NFL works, and Culpepper's deal is no different.

TUESDAY NOTES
* The Vikings are expected to sign OT Robbie Doane, a non-drafted free agent who took part in last week's minicamp, to a contract as early as this week.
* Willie Shaw, who was at minicamp last weekend, has been assigned the duties of an advance scout to help the Vikes with prep work for future regular-season opponents. Head coach Mike Tice made sure Shaw got at least one more year with the team. After this season, Shaw will have enough time in as a coach to be fully vested in the league's pension program.

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