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Updated: March 12th, 2013 9:10pm
Phil Loadholt's deal makes him one of NFL's highest-paid right tackles

Phil Loadholt's deal makes him one of NFL's highest-paid right tackles

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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Phil Loadholt is one of the highest-paid right tackles in the NFL.

The contract extension he signed with the Vikings is worth $25 million over four years, including a $7 million signing bonus, an NFL source said late Tuesday.

That $6.25 million average would have exceeded the pay of any right tackle in the NFL last season except Dallas' Doug Free, a former left tackle whose deal averages $8 million.

The Vikings were offering $5 million a year as late as Tuesday morning. But they upped the ante after the NFC North Division rival Chicago Bears made a strong push to sign Loadholt, sources said.

Loadholt, 27, has base salaries of $2.9 million in 2013, $3.4 million in 2014, $4.4 million in 2015 and $5.4 million in 2016, plus roster bonuses of $500,000 in the last three years of the deal and workout bonuses of $100,000 each year.

His cap number for 2013 is $4.75 million and increases by $1 million every season after that.

Loadholt has missed only one start in four NFL seasons since the Vikings drafted him in the second round (54th overall) out of Oklahoma in 2009. The website ProFootballFocus.com rated him as the NFL's eighth-best right tackle last season.

"I love being in Minnesota, love the community, and my family feels really at home," Loadholt told the Vikings' website shortly after signing the deal.

"It's been great settling in Minnesota and calling it home. I was drafted here, and I wanted to come back and finish what we started here. I have a good feeling about where things are going with this team. We've just got to continue to build on what we've got and keep improving."

Carlson's new deal clears cap space

The restructured contract tight end John Carlson signed on Tuesday morning cleared $1.45 million in salary cap space.

Carlson's base salary dropped from $2.9 million to $1.5 million, including the $1.2 million fully guaranteed as it was in his old deal. His cap number dropped from $4 million to $2.55 million.

He also has a $50,000 workout bonus and can make up the difference in base salary through $1.45 million in "not likely to be earned" incentives for a maximum 2013 pay of $3 million.

The three remaining years of Carlson's deal remained untouched, with no guaranteed money. He has scheduled base salaries of $3.9 million in 2014 and $4.9 million in 2015 and '16, with $100,000 workout bonuses each season.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
In this story: John Carlson, Phil Loadholt
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