The variance depends on what happens with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the possible "cash-over-cap" provisions, and how teams will be allowed to spread signing bonuses over contract years.
It is not known at this time what Alexander's total signing bonus (guaranteed) is, but estimates of those predicting this signing had Alexander accepting a bonus in the neighborhood of $12-15 million. Jim Steiner, Alexander's agent, told the Associated Press that the deal is the richest ever given to a running back.
A league source had previously told Seahawks.NET that Alexander and Steiner were looking for a wage on the scale of San Diego Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson – Tomlinson signed an 8-year, $60 million contract in 2004 with a $12.4 million signing bonus. Other high running back contracts of recent vintage include Washington's Clinton Portis, who got $60 million over eight years with a $17-million signing bonus, and New Orleans’ Deuce McAllister, who snagged $50 million over eight years with a $12.5-million signing bonus.
Currently, the highest signing bonuses on the Seattle team are Grant Wistrom’s $14 million, Matt Hasselbeck’s $16 million and Walter Jones’ $16 million. Wistrom’s contract was signed in 2004, while Hasselbeck and Jones re-upped with the team before the 2005 season.
Alexander, the 2005 NFL MVP, drove the Seahawks to a Super Bowl XL appearance with 1,880 yards rushing on 370 carries for a 5.1 yards-per-carry average. He also scored an NFL record 28 regular season touchdowns.
There’s no doubt that the progress of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement talks factored heavily into Alexander's deal – an Alexander signing without a CBA extension would be “shocking”, according to the aforementioned source. The current deadline for the ratification of that extension is Thursday, March 9, at 12:01 AM EST.