Sometimes a player's contract, especially a rookie contract, contains escalator. An escalator is a provision in the player's contract that increases the salary paid in the following season. They work much the same way as LTBE and NLTBE incentive bonuses, but instead of paying the bonus out on a specific date, the player's base salary for the following season increases and is paid when the player receives his base pay salary checks. The Lions have had two players that have recently hit an escalator.
As I had said in a previous blog, over the past two seasons, Kitna has had two very good statistical seasons and it wouldn't be surprising if he had an incentive bonus that was triggered. According to the NFLPA, his base salary recently was increased from $1.95M to $2.95M. He triggered one of the escalators that was written into his contract and instead of it being a bonus payment, it increased his base salary for 2008. Current year cap cost $3.825M.
Roy has also had very good statistical seasons over his first four seasons in the league. In 2006, he hit an escalator that increased his base salary by $2.85M, from $535,000 to $3,385,000. Similarly, in 2007, he triggered another escalator that increased his 2008 base salary by $3.1M, from $574,500 to $3,724,500. Current year cap cost $5.1M.
In a prior blog entry, I tried to explain how both ProFootballTalk and Adam Schefter could both be correct with their reports on the Lions cap status. On 02/19/2008, ProFootballTalk reported that the Lions were $17.9M under the cap and on 02/21/2008 Adam Schefter reported that the Lions were only $6.8M under the cap. ProFootballTalk's figure didn't include the Kitna or Williams' escalators of $4.1M and it also did not include the $5.35M cap adjustment that was reported by Frank Reuban of SI.com. Thus far, we've explained about $9.5M of the $11.1M difference between the two reports and the other $1.6M is probably incentive bonuses within player contracts that are being reclassified from NLTBE to LTBE bonuses.