Despite having two seasons remaining on his rookie contract, and being restricted by the 30% rule, 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis signed a long-term contract extension last off-season that included $50 million in “new money” and nearly $30 million in guaranteed money. Former Washington Redskins cap analyst J.I. Halsell broke down how the two sides navigated around the 30% rule for FootballOutsiders.com, with Willis’ $15.5 million signing bonus, $4.8 million supersede bonus, and $10.091 million in future base salary escalation not considered part of the 30% rule calculation.
According to a league source, the 49ers have until the fifth day of training camp this year to exercise the supersede bonus (or pay a $4.8 million non-exercise fee on the sixth day), but NFLPA records show that conditions were met in 2010 that have added over $10 million to his 2014-16 salaries. Halsell noted that these increases were “easily achievable”, as the 49ers defense only needed a one-time improvement in its year-over-year ranking in any one CBA-approved category between the 2010 and 2013. The 49ers’ improved its ranking in a few defensive categories, including net rushing yards allowed per play, where they went from 3rd in 2009 to 2nd in the NFL last season.