Mike Klis of 9News reported today that offensive tackle, Donald Stephenson has restructured his contract, which involves a reduction in his base salary for this year.
Stephenson was a candidate for the roster chopping block with his hefty $4M salary in 2017; a high price for a 3rd tackle who struggled to be effective last year.
According to Klis:
Stephenson was to make a $4 million base salary this season -- $2 million of which was fully guaranteed, and $2 million that was not guaranteed. He also had a $4 million non-guaranteed salary for the 2018 season.
Under his new deal, Stephenson took a cut in salary in exchange for an additional $500,000 in guarantee. Stephenson, who is projected as the Broncos’ top backup tackle to starters Garett Bolles and Menelik Watson, will now make a fully guaranteed $2.5 million this year.
He can also make an additional $750,000 with 50 percent playing time and another $750,000 with 70 percent playing time, according to documents filed with the league office. So if Stephenson becomes a starter, he would essentially make his $4 million in 2017.
This essentially guarantees Stephenson’s roster spot for this year, and likely signals his exit next year.
It’s a smart move by Stephenson who saved his job while getting his salary for this year guaranteed. It was also a good move by Denver by retaining their 3rd tackle, who has starting experience, on a cheaper deal, with no cap repercussions next year.
It will be interesting to see if this means Ty Sambrailo will not make the roster, or if Denver will hang onto him as potential injury insurance at tackle; also, remember that Sambrailo has played guard in the past.
I think they’ll likely keep both Sambrailo and Stephenson, but with this new move, it seems as though Denver wants Stephenson to be the primary backup.