According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Dalton's new deal is worth $96 million:
"No, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton's contract isn't worth $115 million over six years, as others have reported. The base value, per a source with knowledge of the details, is $96 million over six years.
"That doesn't mean it's time to have a bake sale for Andy Dalton. Still, that's a $19 million gap between initial reports and reality.
"The most important numbers are the numbers fully guaranteed at signing. Dalton receives a signing bonus of $12 million and a roster bonus in three days of $5 million. That's a total of $17 million out of the gates. Coupled with his $986,000 base salary (which isn't guaranteed as a legal matter but it is a practical matter), Dalton will make $18 million in the first year of the deal.
"Then, on the third day of the 2015 league year in March, Dalton earns a $4 million roster bonus. He also has a $3 million non-guaranteed base salary in 2015. That's $25 million over two years.
"Dalton passed on the opportunity to load injury-only guarantees into the contract, since the Bengals would have wanted Dalton to buy a disability policy similar to the one that the (San Francisco) 49ers had Colin Kaepernick buy as part of his six-year extension. The policy cost $2 million in pre-tax dollars, and (as we'll explain in a separate post) creates a bizarre donut hole of protection for the player and the team.
"The rest of the base deal is simple. In addition to annual workout bonuses of $200,000, Dalton has base salaries of $10.5 million in 2016, $13.1 million in 2017, $13.7 million in 2018, $16 million in 2019, and $17.5 million in 2020.
"Unlike the Kaepernick deal, which loaded up the base value artificially and then used de-escalators based on playing time and team or personal achievements, Dalton's deal potentially goes up, not down.
"If in any year he participates in 80 percent of the regular-season snaps and the Bengals get to the divisional round of the playoffs (via wild-carn win or bye), he gets another $1 million in each additional year of the deal. If he qualifies at any point for the conference title game (with 80 percent playing time in the regular season), another $500,000 flows into the base value of the deal, for each additional year. If he wins a Super Bowl, he won't be driving off in a Hyundai; Dalton will get another $1.5 million per year for each remaining year of the deal.
"So if the Bengals win the next Super Bowl this year and if Dalton participates in 80 percent of the regular-season snaps in 2014, he'll get another $18 million over the life of the deal, pushing the new-money average from $16 million per year to $19 million. Getting to the divisonal round this year pushes the new-money average to $17 million."
Dalton spoke about his extension during a press conference at Paul Brown Stadium on Aug. 4, per Bengals.com:
"Obviously going into this, it wasn't my main focus. When it comes back to time for training camp, there are a lot of other things that I'm worried about. But yeah, you do have it in the back of your mind. When is it going to get done? Where are we at a certain point? Now we don't have to worry about it, and like (Bengals head coach) Marvin (Lewis) said, you just get to play the game. I don't have this hanging over me. It is a relief. There's a lot of hard work that went into it. I'm glad we're to this point, and I'm glad I'm sitting in front of you right now.
"I always thought it was going to get done. Both sides wanted to get it done. I figured it would get done. It obviously did."
ESPN's Coley Harvey weighed in on Dalton's mega deal in his Aug. 4 blog:
"Yes, it's true, the Bengals are a regular-season winner with Dalton at the helm. He has gone 30-18 and reached the postseason in each of the three seasons he has played since getting drafted 35th overall in 2011. He also has guided his team to two winning streaks of four games or more in his career. During last season's four-game midseason streak, Dalton threw for 300 yards or more in three of those games.
"When you consider that the Bengals had been to the playoffs only twice in the 20 years before Dalton's arrival, his regular-season success becomes even more noteworthy...
"...The 26-year-old's biggest drawback has been his performance past Week 17. The Bengals are 0-3 in his postseason trips, which include six interceptions and just one touchdown. He also has posted an 18.1 career playoff QBR that stands in stark contrast to the 51.5 QBR he has lifetime in the regular season.
"Numbers like that have had some in Cincinnati wondering whether an extension of Dalton's four-year, $5.2 million rookie deal ought to have come before this season, or ever.
"It will be incumbent upon the Bengals to continue to protect the player who in April called himself the face of the franchise by keeping pieces like A.J. Green (who will play out a fifth-year option next year) and linebacker Vontaze Burfict (whose own contract negotiations stalled last week) around him.
"He certainly appears to be the face now. It doesn't matter how the money comes Dalton's way, the message has been sent. The Bengals trust their quarterback. Now it's time for him to put up and shut the rest of us up."
Dalton is entering his fourth NFL season and has thrown for 11,360 yards, 80 touchdowns and 49 interceptions on a 85.7 passer rating in 48 career regular-season games, per ESPN stats.