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Merriman gets good guarantee

The details of the contract extension signed by linebacker Shawne Merriman with the Bills show that Merriman is expected to get more guaranteed money than originally reported.

The contract includes a $1.5 million signing bonus and $3 million in base salary in 2011 that is guaranteed -- as long as his injury from the 2010 season doesn't keep him off the field.

The deal breaks down like this: Because he signed before the end of the 2010 season, the Bills get to amortize his $1.5 million bonus over three seasons - 2010, 2011 and 2012. That's a benefit to the Bills. He gets a base salary of $2.75 million in 2011. He gets a reporting bonus of $500,000 and a workout bonus of $500,000 this year. Undoubtedly he's going to get those two bonuses.

His base salary in 2012 is $4 million, $3 million of which is guaranteed "with exception for 2010 injury."  We're not sure of the exact language of the contract on that exception. As long as he hits the field in 2010, the presumption is he gets it. We originally reported that he was expected to $2.5 million guaranteed. Merriman would get a $1 million roster bonus in March of 2012 and a $250,000 workout bonus in 2012. The deal also includes $4 million in incentive bonuses in 2011 and 2012 that are tied to playing time and sack totals.

As long as he recovers from his Achilles tendon injury and is on the roster for the start of the 2011 season, he's going to get $8.25 million from the Bills.

---Mark Gaughan




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