It is extremely important to take a step back and find out the details of a contract in the NFL today before jumping to a conclusion. Many around the league, writers and fans alike, had negative opinions over the six-year contract extension that quarterback Andy Dalton received from the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday. 

This is pretty much a repeat of the Colin Kaepernick extension from earlier this offseason. Jump the gun and invoke an idea that a specific team made a major long-term mistake.

On the surface, a six-year contract that could be worth about $115 million with escalators seems to be a bit rich for a quarterback that is 0-3 with one touchdown compared to six interceptions in the postseason.

But as we saw with the Kaepernick deal, that’s just on the surface.

For the lack of a better term, it’s a pay as you go type of deal. Cincinnati could conceivably release Dalton next March and not owe him a single dollar in guaranteed money. The $22 million he could potentially earn between now and February is also an indication that if Dalton does progress as a quarterback, the deal will be team friendly long term.

The base value of Dalton’s deal is said to be worth $96 million over six years with the remaining $21 million setting in if Dalton meets certain thresholds. In a really smart clause, at least from Cincinnati’s perspective, Dalton will not earn a bonus by simply making the playoffs. He needs to at least make the divisional round of the playoffs to earn a $1 million bonus over the life of the deal.

The rest of the escalators are based on appearances in the AFC Championship game and Super Bowl.

Considering Dalton’s lack of success in the second season, he is most definitely betting on himself to get the job done moving forward. And that’s the way it should be.

Now that Dalton has followed suit and taken what is seemingly a year-by-year deal, it will be interesting to see what the likes of Cam Newton and Andrew Luck do moving forward. They will be under the proverbial eight ball to take similarly structured deals barring a Super Bowl appearance this season. As it relates to Russell Wilson, he’s already earned that Super Bowl ring, so it stands to reason he will be rewarded accordingly.