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Dalvin Tomlinson’s Contract Details

Void Years and their Salary Cap Impact

NFL: New York Giants at Chicago Bears Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Interesting details are coming out about the Dalvin Tomlinson contract the Vikings agreed to late on Monday. I always find cap management interesting because I am a numbers nerd. I don’t remember seeing this much in the past, but void years were added to Tomlinson’s deal. I believe this is the first time the Vikings have used this contract structure.

Tomlinson’s deal:

2 Year Contract for $21M with $12.5M signing bonus with 3 void years (2023-2025)

$0.5M per year in potential sack incentives to make the potential total $22.0M

Cash by Year:

2021: $16.0M Cash = $12.5M Signing Bonus + $2.4M Roster Bonus + $0.1M Workout Bonus + $1.0M Base Salary

2022: $5.0 Cash = $0.1M Workout Bonus + $4.9M Base Salary

Cap Hits by Year:

2021: $6.0M = $1.0M base salary + $2.5M signing bonus + $2.4M roster bonus + $0.1 workout bonus

2022: $7.5M = $4.9M base salary + $0.1M workout bonus + $2.5M signing bonus

2023: $7.5M = $7.5M signing bonus (void years, no money for Dalvin and he will be a free agent)

What matters to Dalvin? He’ll get $16M this year and $14.9M of that this week. He’ll also have a strong possibility of earning his $5.0M in cash in 2022. Then he’ll be a free agent at the age of 29 and hopefully after some productive seasons in purple.

What matters to the Vikings? The cap hits are low for 2021 & 2022. The assumption is there will be a large cap increase in 2023 because of the TV contracts and in stadium revenue returning strong. The Vikings are voluntarily taking a $7.5M dead cap hit in 2023 to save cap now.

What is a void year and how does it work? It is a mechanism used by teams to push signing bonus cap impacts into future years. The contract will expire at the end of the real years and be voided. The remaining signing bonus allocation will immediately count against the cap. Since the Vikings paid Dalvin a $12.5M bonus and the contract has 5 years the cap impact of that bonus is $2.5M per year. There will be $7.5M left when Dalvin’s contract voids and will immediately count against the 2023 salary cap.

EDIT: The $7.5M in void years can be spread out to 2023-2025 if we extend Dalvin. Therefore it would be $2.5M each of those years + the next contract cap hits. Thank you Krauser for pointing that out below.

Also, according to the vast “knowledge” on Reddit players whose contracts are voided cannot be franchise tagged and do not count towards compensatory picks if they leave for another team.

Hopefully I explained it well. I think this is something we will see more of going forward for teams trying to kick the can down the road. The Saints have used it with Taysom Hill. The Buccaneers have used it with Tom Brady. It is also a scary mechanism that can be used by GMs trying to win enough games this year to try to keep their jobs. This season it makes some sense because of the cap drop, but it can be a dangerous thing.

There are also $500k in sack incentives each year that Dalvin can earn. Those will impact the following year’s salary cap if earned. I haven’t seen what those sack totals actually are. If he hits them, I am sure we will be happy to pay out the bonuses.

I used Spotrac for these details. Link to Dalvin’s Contract of Spotrac.