When the Vikings restructured Anthony Barr's contract last week, they arranged the deal in a way that cleared even more salary cap space than was previously reported.
Barr will make $10 million instead of $12.9 million this year, as had been expected since he finalized his deal last week. The Vikings gave him an $8.4 million signing bonus that will be spread over the final three years of his deal, giving him a total cap hit of just $6.107 million this year.
The news, in other words, means the Vikings have just over $10 million in salary cap space for 2021 — not counting the $7.9 million they'll recoup in June after Kyle Rudolph's base salary is off their books.
That puts them in position to make several more moves in free agency before signing their draft class, though it's worth noting the Vikings have known about this arrangement for the past week and still figure to be selective with what they do. Sources had said last week the Vikings were telling free agents they couldn't do many deals for much more than the league minimum.
Here's how Barr's deal breaks down:
—In 2021, he'll make a base salary of just $1 million, with the $8.4 million signing bonus, a $100,000 workout bonus and up to $500,000 in total per-game roster bonuses. It adds up to a total compensation of up to $10 million, though Barr's cap figure is smaller than that.
—He can make up to $3 million in base salary escalators determined by the number of sacks he posts this season.
—While Barr's contract can be voided after this year, sources said it's listed in NFL Players Association records as voidable, not void, in 2022 and 2023. That is likely to be a distinction without a difference, but it's worth noting for now.
—The five-year deal Barr signed in 2019 had a $13 million signing bonus that was set to hit the cap in annual $2.6 million installments. That's still true, but because Barr was lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle after two games in 2020, the Vikings got a $455,000 cap credit from an insurance policy on his contract. Barr's previous bonus, therefore, only counts for $2.145 million as part of his 2021 cap hit. Similarly, only two weeks of his per-game roster bonuses are considered "likely to be earned" for cap purposes, meaning they count for just $62,500 against the cap at the moment.
—Assuming Barr voids his deal after this year, the Vikings would have $10.8 million of bonus prorations — two sets of the $2.8 million figure from this year's deal, and two sets of the $2.6 million figure from his 2019 contract — still set to hit the cap. Barr's deal is almost a hybrid of Adam Thielen's restructure (which included a base salary-to-signing bonus conversion) and Dalvin Tomlinson's (which made use of void years to lower this season's cap number).
Given the Vikings' cap situation and the unique circumstances of the 2021 league year — where the cap dropped by nearly $16 million per team as a result of lost revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic — it's fair to say the team has used more maneuvers to get around the cap in the past few weeks than it has at any point in recent memory. It pushes more money into future years, but the Vikings, and many teams, are expecting an increased cap as a result of new TV deals (and hoping for full stadiums) to help alleviate the problem.