When the Jets signed quarterback Chad Pennington to a seven-year extension last week, it was widely reported that he'd received $23 million in guarantees. But Pennington is not assured of making that $23 million.
The reported figure included roster bonuses of $2 million in 2005 and $3 million in '06, which he is likely to earn, though they are not guaranteed. And instead of getting the $4.5 million in (nonguaranteed) salary he was due under his old deal, Pennington will earn $1 million in 2004. New York lowered his base pay by $3.5 million and simply added it to his $18 million bonus.
Why do figures get inflated like this? Usually, it's to give the agent--in this case, Tom Condon--the chance to trumpet the bonus money, which players love.