The extension Pioli worked out with Flowers last year was a beauty for the Chiefs. It shows exactly why Pioli is so well regarded in the NFL community.
Flowers was a year away from free agency and the promise of top ten corner money (about $10-$11M per year and rising,) and that would have given the Chiefs three top tier players as free agents and only one franchise tag. He would have had all the negotiating power a player can wield, and likely would have cost more in actual money, but definitely cost more in cap dollars.
What Flowers actually got was a five year extension worth $50M. His agent can go brag on getting him, on paper at least, $10M a year and a spot on the top 10 corner salary list. Let's break down the actual deal. He got a $10M signing bonus and a raise in 2011 (the last year of his rookie deal) to $1M in salary. He then gets salaries that bounce around from $5.25-$7.25M per year from 2012-16, along with reporting bonuses of $2M per year in the last three years of the deal (2014-16.) Salaries count the year they are paid, and the bonuses prorate evenly over the remainind years under contract at the time they are paid. Here are the details with cap ramifications...
2011 $10M bonus, $1M salary, $2.7M cap hit
2012 $5.75 salary, $7.45M cap hit
2013 $7.35M salary, $9.95M cap hit
2014 $2M bonus, $5.25M salary, $7.75M cap hit, $5.4M cap hit if traded or released
2015 $2M bonus, $7.25M salary, $10.75M cap hit, $4.9M hit if moved
2016 $2M bonus, $6.5M salary, $12M cap hit $3.5M hit if moved
The first reality of all NFL contracts is evident here. The last couple years are bullshit. See those outragious cap numbers? $10.75M in '15 and $12M in '16... not likely. Both years are set up such that the team can save not only $9.25M in '15 and $8.5M in '16 by getting out of the contract, but $5.85M in '15 and $8.5M in '16 in cap dollars as well. If Flowers begins to lose effectiveness by then, he will simply be released. If he's still playing well, but the Chiefs don't think he's worth the money or a new contract, he will be traded. And if (we hope) he's as good or better than he is now, he'll get another extension in 2014 that will convert some of that salary into a proratable signing bonus and keep him another three or four years. Even if he sees this coming, he's unlikely to hold out to fix it because he loses a $2M check if he's not in camp on time from 2014 on.
Flowers' agent leaves with 5 years, $50M. "I got Flowers $10M per, come sign with me!" But from the Chiefs' view, they have him for four years with a total cash outlay of $30.35M, or about $7.5M per. They only gave up $10M+ once, in 2011. He only has one year at $10M against the cap (actually $9.95M in '13) Just like Charles, DJ, and even Hali, this is a very team friendly contract.
So what does this have to do with Carr? Folks, this really mean he is gone. I wish it didn't but it does. I bet that Carr even got an offer of similar money and commitment from the team this year, and just wants more. He, too, is looking for top 10 corner money. But he wants to use his leverage to get the best deal, so he is waiting for free agency and job offers from other teams. Five years at $50M would probably do the trick. Pioli just isn't going to be the guy to give it to him. Now that there's no contract to extend, there's less magic on the table. If Carr gets paid like that, it would actually mean giving him $30M in three years, so he would get a couple million a year more than Flowers. His cap number would be higher than Flowers' from day one. Are the Chiefs going to make Carr their highest paid corner? How do we think Flowers would react to being the second paid corner on the Chiefs? Are the Chiefs going to commit over 20% of their cap dollars to three players in the secondary? No way. I don't think it will happen. I think the tag goes on Bowe, and Carr walks (I'm not even sure it won't just be a tag and trade with Bowe, but that's another conversation...) The team has known it, that's why they spent picks on Arenas and Brown. The only thing left to find out is what round the compensatory pick we get in '13 comes in.