Two weeks before the Vikings reeled in the top free agent signing in Riley Reiff, General Manager Rick Spielman braced for a frenzied market anticipating NFL demand to far outweigh the supply of veteran offensive tackles.
Spielman wasn’t able to close deals to acquire ex-Ravens right tackle Rick Wagner, now with the Lions, or to retain left tackle Matt Kalil, who signed a five-year, $55 million deal in Carolina.
The Vikings’ strong free agency push still landed upgrades at tackle while staying committed to a “pay-as-you-go” business principle with the multi-year contracts for Reiff and right tackle Mike Remmers.
Both five-year deals signed by Reiff and Remmers are breakable after two years (2017 and 2018 seasons), during which most of the duo’s $36.8 million guaranteed will have been paid.
The Vikings opened the bank for Reiff, 28, with $26.3 million in true guarantees. Both of his base salaries are fully guaranteed ($6.2 million and $9.1 million) for the next two seasons along with an $11 million signing bonus, prorated as $2.2 million cap hits across all five years. Should he not live up to the contract, the Vikings can move on from Reiff in 2019 by eating $6.6 million in dead cap space.
However, Reiff can earn more by playing well.
He can be paid $58.75 million over the five-year deal. The contract has a max value of nearly $60 million with $300,000 salary escalators in 2018-2021 for making the Pro Bowl. He also has a $100,000 workout bonus each offseason.
Reiff’s scheduled cap hits for the next five years are $8.5 million, $11.4 million, $11.7 million, $13.2 million and $13.95 million.
Remmers, the 27-year-old right tackle, received a solid deal for his strong development with the Panthers. Only a handful of right tackles have earned more than his $10.5 million in true guarantees on a five-year contract worth up to $30 million.
For the 2017 season, Remmers is fully guaranteed a $1.4 million base salary, a $3 million signing bonus and a $3 million roster bonus, to be paid Wednesday. Rounding out his guaranteed money is next year’s $3.1 million locked into a $3.9 million base salary in 2018.
Remmers has another potential $1 million in earnings tied up in $250,000 salary escalators for making the Pro Bowl in 2018-2021. He also has a $100,000 workout bonus each offseason. The final year of the contract, for the 2021 season, is a Vikings team option.
Remmers’ scheduled cap hits are $5.1 million, $4.6 million, $6.35 million, $6.7 million and $7.25 million.
If needed, the Vikings can feasibly move on from Remmers after one season, but would incur $5.5 million in dead cap space without creating any room. The dead money drops to $1.8 million after two seasons.
The Vikings sit with roughly $26.5 million in salary cap space after both contracts.