According to a report from NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, the Kansas City Chiefs have signed free-agent wide receiver Demarcus Robinson to a one-year contract that will bring him back to the team in the 2020 season.
The #Chiefs are re-signing WR Demarcus Robinson to a one-year deal, source said.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 28, 2020
Friend-of-the-site Terez Paylor of Yahoo! Sports has confirmed the story.
The Chiefs have re-signed WR Demarcus Robinson to a one-year deal, a source confirms. @TomPelissero had that first.— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) March 28, 2020
Pelissero came back with contract details.
Demarcus Robinson’s one-year deal is worth $2,297,500 fully guaranteed. That’s the maximum allowed to qualify for the new veteran salary benefit under the CBA. So Robinson gets guaranteed money, but only counts around $1M on the #Chiefs’ cap. https://t.co/e5REnm4Uvm— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 28, 2020
Robinson has just finished his fourth Chiefs season after being taken in the fourth round (126th overall) out of Florida in the 2016 NFL Draft.
He accumulated no regular-season statistics in his rookie season, but over the next three, he accumulated 949 yards and eight touchdowns on 75 catches.
While he wasn’t expected to earn a big free-agent deal, with a Super Bowl ring on his finger, it was thought he would find a home on another team when his rookie deal expired in mid-March.
But it looks he hasn’t received enough interest from other teams to make him walk away from a one-year, $2.3 million offer from the Chiefs — which, as Pelissero noted, appears to be structured to take advantage of a new type of veteran salary benefit (VSB) that was included in the just-adopted Collective Bargaining Agreemen (CBA) between the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
For a player to be eligible for this new VSB, the player must have been on a team’s active roster for four complete, uninterrupted and consecutive seasons. It allows a team to offer a one-year deal with a salary up to $1.25 million more than the NFL minimum salary — and pay a signing bonus of up to $137,500 — but only the minimum salary and signing bonus count against the salary cap. This means that Robinson’s contract will only count $1.05 million against the cap in 2020.
This new type of VSB is apparently designed specifically for those in Robinson’s situation: role players who have finished their rookie deals and aren’t quite ready to get a bigger contract in free agency. This kind of deal (called a four-year qualifying contract VSB) can only be used on up to two players per team each season — and the total amount deferred from the cap for both players cannot exceed $1.25 million. So it seems the Chiefs don’t believe they will have any other candidates for this type of VSB contract this season.