Ahman Green Restructures Contract; Avoids The Turk?

Tremendously interesting report in this morning's Chronicle, don't you think?
In the deal negotiated by general manager Rick Smith and agent Joby Branion, Green agreed to give up $2 million in base salary and a $500,000 bonus for a chance to make $3 million in per-game bonuses.

In addition to his $1.8 million base, beginning with the second game — the home opener against Baltimore — Green will get $200,000 for every game in which he’s active. If he’s active for the last 15 games, he’ll make $3 million, bringing his income to $4.8 million.

The last two years of the four-year contract won’t change. His base salary next year is $4.8 million. His base salary in 2010 is $4.3 million. He receives $500,000 bonuses each year.

On the surface, of course, this restructured deal gives Ahman Green the opportunity to make even more money in 2008 ($4,800,000.00) than he originally would have under his original deal ($4,300,000.00). And note how low the floor is for Ahman's bonuses to kick in; he doesn't have to start, play, or even contribute. He only has to be listed as "active." In that respect, you can't even call the bonuses performance-based. For lack of a better term, they're pulse-based. That, in turn, raises a troubling question. Do you think Ahman Green might show a greater willingness to play (or at least suit up) through the pain than he did in 2007, now that he stands to make a cool half-mil every week? I'm betting the answer to that question is yes, which should only serve to make Texans fans even angrier about his lack of field time last season, though it may also show that Smithiak believes that Ahman needs that type of carrot at the end of the stick to stay honest.

Let's look at the practical ramifications of the restructuring as well. Based on what we've seen, does anyone really think that Ahman Green is going to be active for fifteen (15) weeks this season? I know I don't. So in that respect, this deal is a coup for the Texans. This year, Ahman Green is essentially on a pay-for-play deal. Well, maybe it's more like a dress-for-play deal. In any event, it beats being on the hook for $4,300,000.00 when your "starting" RB can't seem to get healthy enough to contribute on Sundays.

Lest anyone think this deal is absurdly one-sided, I should note that the restructuring benefits Ahman Green in a big way. It more or less guarantees that the team won't jettison him come Saturday's round of final cuts; the Texans don't have nearly the contractual exposure via keeping him on the roster that they did before this restructuring, and they're only on the hook for $1,800,000.00 through Week One. In a world where Shaun Alexander is still waiting for his phone to ring, that should be great comfort to Ahman Green.

One final note on the consequences of this news: In my opinion, it makes Chris Brown a stone-cold lock to be handed his walking papers. Ahman Green has a guaranteed spot on the roster now, which should mean that Brown is the odd man out among Chris Taylor, Steve Slaton, and Darius Walker (the last of whom is likely headed to the practice squad). And that, my friends, gives this development even more cause for celebration.

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