AZ Republic: argers' offer to Rivers takes incentives to extreme

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    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Is the San Diego FO really over the Ryan Leaf debacle?

    Chargers' offer to Rivers takes incentives to extreme

    Andrew Bagnato
    The Arizona Republic
    Aug. 15, 2004 12:00 AM

    NFL contract incentives are like playoff contenders in August. Some are realistic. Some aren't.

    Talks between San Diego and quarterback Philip Rivers, the fourth overall pick in the draft, broke down in part because the Chargers insisted on incentives that could only be described as ludicrous. Under the reported terms of the team's proposal, Rivers would be paid a $5 million bonus if he appeared in four Pro Bowls and won four Super Bowls in his first six seasons.
    He would receive another $7.5 million if he appeared in five Pro Bowls and won five Super Bowls during that time. And he would get an additional $10 million if he appeared in six Pro Bowls and won six Super Bowls in his first six seasons. That's a total of $22.5 million for six Pro Bowl appearances and six Super Bowl wins in six seasons.

    Needless to say, no one has ever approached these feats in the long and storied history of the NFL. Still, Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith called it a "great offer" when he announced early in the week that the club had rescinded the offer and broken off talks.

    Rivers' agent, Jimmy Sexton, replied in a statement, "We are confused by the Chargers calling it 'a great offer' when such a large amount is impossible to ever achieve."

    So the talks broke down, although reports out of San Diego indicate the two sides are really only about $4.25 million apart in base salary over a six-year deal and that club insiders expect an agreement to be worked out within days.

    Browns and green

    Meanwhile, Cleveland tight end Kellen Winslow, the sixth overall pick in the draft, ended his 12-day holdout when he agreed to a six-year, $40 million contract that includes $16.5 million in guaranteed money. The incentive escalators kick in if Winslow catches 45 passes his first year (the Cardinals' Anquan Boldin grabbed 101 as a rookie), or 50 in his second, 55 in his third, etc.; if he nets 700 receiving yards; if he averages 12.5 yards per catch; if he makes the Pro Bowl in any year; if the Browns make the playoffs in any year.

    Winslow is likely to meet those incentives.

    "It's unheard of for a No. 6 pick to get a total package of $40 million," agent Kevin Poston said. "Now we think he'll make the $40 million. That was the whole key. It was important that his stuff was achievable."

    Brotherly love

    Houston and Miami scrimmaged last week at Reliant Stadium in Houston, giving Steve McKinney of the Texans and Seth McKinney of the Dolphins a chance to catch up and trade stories about their childhood. Some of the stories are rather frightening.

    "I used to torture him and his little friends to death," Steve McKinney told the Houston Chronicle. "One time, we were in the back yard with our bows and he'd run up there and get his arrows before I was done shooting. I told him if he did it again I was going to shoot him. He did, so I shot him in the foot. I was a pretty good shot."

    Then there was the incident in which Steve shot Seth with a BB gun on a duck-hunting trip. "I could have killed him, so that was scary," Steve McKinney said. "There was a little blood on his head, but you would have thought he was dying the way he was screaming and jumping around. There was a little blood, but it wasn't too bad. I did feel bad about that one."

    Fourth and inches

    Denver quarterback Jake Plummer has written "P.T." and "40" on his shoes to honor the memory of former Arizona State teammate Pat Tillman, who wore No. 40 for the Cardinals. . . . Former Cardinals head coach Joe Bugel, who joined Joe Gibbs' Washington staff as assistant head coach-offense, is impressing his colleagues. "Joe has that special camaraderie that every offensive line coach needs by making all his players feel like they're No. 1 picks," said Gregg Williams, the Redskins' assistant head coach-defense. "He makes his players want to go on that field and die for him."

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