Those bleary-eyed accountants who help NFL teams put their player contracts together speak a different language than commonfolk.
We all learned back in grammar school that 2 plus 2 equals 4.
But NFL accountants would disagree.
They contend 2 plus 2 equals 4, but only if it's guaranteed.
Otherwise, in the NFL it's a figment of your imagination.
We saw that last week in the NFL cornerback triumvirate of Darrelle Revis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Aqib Talib.
One thing certain is that no one gets this concept better than Revis, undoubtedly the smartest businessman posing as a defensive back in the NFL.
In the salary cap wars between players and owners, he is a decorated mercenary.
Revis understands the 2-plus-2 rule as if he wrote it, which is why he got
over on former Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik, no matter how anyone wants to spin it.
After signing with the New England Patriots a few days ago for $12 million, Revis has now put $28 million in his pocket during the past two years. There is no signing bonus for a cornerback known to mankind that would've filled up his coffers so fast.
If the Patriots want him in 2015, they will have to pay him $20 million. And Revis has no fear about moving to another team.
He cost the Bucs a first-round pick last year, which the Jets used to select Sheldon Richardson, last year's defensive rookie of the year. So who got over on whom?
DRC is being slammed in many circles for not taking an offer the Denver Broncos made to him to return next season.
Talk was the Broncos made the Lakewood Ranch product an offer he couldn't refuse.
In truth, it was an offer he couldn't accept.
Instead, the Broncos signed Talib.
The 2-plus-2 rule says DRC made the right decision because Talib is betting on himself, which, given his history, is a risk.
Multiple published reports said Talib signed a six-year, $57 million contract. Some of the smarter scribes whittled that down to a three-year, $27 million deal.
The truth is in the guarantees.
Talib will earn $11.5 million next season, but nothing else is guaranteed unless there is an injury issue. The Broncos can cut Talib after the 2014 season and not owe him a penny.
Among the top-paid 50 free agents signed this year, Talib has the lowest percentage guaranteed (20.2), according to OverTheCap.com.
So now you know why Revis doesn't care about negotiating for those headline-slamming signing bonuses and fluffy-looking contracts that often contain nothing but air.
Reports said Denver offered DRC and his highly regarded agent Eugene Parker a six-year deal for $54 million.
Sources familiar with the negotiations say only $5 million was guaranteed.
In essence, DRC would've been paid $10 million for 2014 and would've had to make the team every year after.
The final three years for both DRC and Talib ($30 million each) was phony money (see 2-plus-2 rule).
There is a naive opinion floating around that DRC missed out on the big money, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Some teams still have enough cash to put together an attractive guaranteed package suitable to his talent, which has him rated as the best free agent cornerback still available and one of the best in the NFL.
He is in New York talking to the Jets and Giants this weekend and has an invitation to visit the Cleveland Browns. Two of these potential suitors are exciting.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan likes to play Revis-style man press coverage and sees DRC as a Rodgers Island, if you will. If he goes to Cleveland, he plays opposite cornerback Joe Haden, and the Browns become a team to take seriously.
In his eight years in the NFL, he has earned $84 million and don't you know the Patriots are gleeful about having him instead of Talib even if it costs them $20 million in 2015.
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.