Details of new contract for Kalif Raymond confirms the expected

Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond warms up before the game against the Cardinals on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, at Ford Field.Lions Ariz
Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond warms up before the game against the Cardinals on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, at Ford Field.Lions Ariz /

The Detroit Lions do value Kalif Raymond, but his contract is not quite what it was first reported to be.

Opportunity knocked for Kalif Raymond with the Detroit Lions last season, and he answered with a clear career-best 48 catches for 576 yards and four touchdowns. He also averaged 11.2 yards per punt return, which was in the top-five of the league among players with at least 20 returns.

The Lions re-signed Raymond, to a two-year deal first reported to be worth up to $9.5 million. “Up to” is the contract catch-phrase this offseason, with incentives (likely to be earned or otherwise), bonuses, etc. intertwined to get to a max number.

Raymond seems to have a place in the equation for the Lions, as the No. 4 wide receiver (currently), a versatile weapon and the primary punt returner.

Kalif Raymond actual contract details are telling, and expected

Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus had the breakdown of Raymond’s new contract. H/T to Pride of Detroit for the nice year-by-year breakdown.

Base salary: $1.3 million (guaranteed)
Signing bonus: $1.25M ($625,000 prorated per year)
Workout bonus: $50,000
Cap hit: $1,950,000

Base Salary: $1.95 million ($300,000 guaranteed)
Signing bonus: $625,000 prorated
Workout bonus: $50,000
Roster bonus: $400,000
Cap hit: $3,025,000
Dead cap if cut: $925,000 ($2.1M in savings)

Up to $1.5 million salary escalator for 2023
Up to $1.5 million in incentives each year

Where the original “up to” $9.5 million came from, besides the inflated optimism of an agent feeding a reporter, is unclear. Raymond is getting $2.85 million guaranteed for one year, with the second year essentially as a $2.15 million option. Even adding in the max $1.5 million 2023 base salary escalator, plugging in the full $400,000 in per-game roster bonuses for 2023 and maxing out to $1.5 million in incentives in either year, with the current details of the latter pretty vague (see the tweet from Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson above), and you get to $8.4 million.

Reaching the full extent of incentives in both years, along with maxing out everything else, would push the max total over two years to $9.9 million. But if that happens, no offense to Raymond, something has probably gone very wrong for the Lions.

Unless the incentive and escalator benchmarks are set very low, it’s unlikely Raymond will get to many or any of them–let alone reach all of them and max out. But he’s officially back in the fold for next season.

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