The Cost Of David Clarkson's Suspension & The Effect Of Signing Bonuses

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David Clarkson is set to make $4.5M this season.  Or, an average of $54,878 per game (not exact if it is paid by day and not by game, admittedly).  So, assuming he gets a 10 game suspension for leaving the bench in last night’s game, he should forfeit $548,780 in salary, right?

Not so fast.

Sep 22, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson (71) during the pre game warm up against the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Clarkson’s contract, $36.75M over 7 years, contains a lot of signing bonus.  According to Capgeek.com, $27.75M of his contract is eaten up by signing bonus.  His base salary this year, is $1M.  If fact, his largest base salary in any year of the contract is $2M, in years 4 and 5 of the deal. The rest of the years are all $1M salary plus signing bonus. Here are the details, from Capgeek.com:

clarkson contract

When I first saw this months ago, I didn’t think it was a huge deal.  It was curious to me, but I thought, money is money regardless of when he is getting it paid.  It all counts against the cap, so nor harm no foul, right?

If I understand it correctly and I am making the correct assumptions, given the fact that his actual per game earnings are $12, 195, the suspension (anticipated) will only cost him $121,950 in salary instead of the over half a million it would had his contract not contained 75% signing bonus.

Nice foresight by the player’s agent to set it up in such a manner, knowing full well the type of game he plays could lead to a suspension or two at some point in the next 7 years.  And it doesn’t matter to the Leafs when they pay the money, because they don’t have cash flow issues at all. Whether its paid in the summer, or week by week, doesn’t make a bit of difference to them.

And the financial penalty for the decisions he makes on the ice are reduced by about 75%, because he already has that money in the bank.   His wallet won’t be hurt too badly.

It only hurts his team because they will be without their prized free-agent acquisition for 10 games minimum.

And if I am not understanding the CBA and supplemental discipline correctly, I am sure it will be pointed out to me.

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Tags: David Clarkson Signing Bonus Suspension Toronto Maple Leafs

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