Below is Antoine Bethea's Contract Details

2014 2015 2016 2017
Salary 1.25M 3M 4.5M 5.25M
46-Man Roster Bonus 400k 400k 400k 400k
Work Out Bonus 100k 100k 100k 100k
Signing Bonus Amortization 1.25M 1.25M 1.25M 1.25M
Total Salary Cap Hit 3M 4.75M 6.25M 7M

for Comparison, below is Whitner's Contract Details

2014 2015 2016 2017
Salary 2M 4.5M 6.2M 6.3M
Signing Bonus Amortization 2.25M 2.25M 2.25M 2.25M
Total Salary Cap Hit 4.25M 6.75M 8.45M 8.55M


Clearly, Donte Whitner is getting more money every year over 4 years, but the real difference comes in the details. Whitner's 6.5M salary through 2015 is effectively gauranteed, compared to Bethea's 5.25M, which requires Bethea to make the 46-Man Roster all 16 games for 2 seasons and attend offseason workout sessions for 2 seasons. Under this deal, SF safeguards their money in the event Bethea is injured or has off the field issues that cause him to not stay on the team.

Another important note to make is the salary cap hit in 2015, Whitner (6.75M) vs Bethea (4.75M). There is only a 2M difference, but that can be a big deal next year when SF has plenty of key players headed towards Free Agency.

Finally, pay attention to the amount of dead dead money following the 2015 season. Should either Safety be released after the 2015 season, Whitner will have a 4.5M impact to the 2016 salary cap, while Bethea will have a 2.5M impact to the 2016 salary cap, once again a 2M savings.

At first, Bethea's intially reported 4yr/$26M contract was disconcerning, but I suspected it would be a total lower amount, with several incentives to safegaurd the franchise. Bethea is really on a 2yr/$10.25M, whereas Donte is really on a 2yr/$15.5M. For me, $5.125M a year for a 31 year old Safety is still too much, especially with a $4.75M Cap hit in 2015.