Originally Posted by misturanderson
Yes they are, the thing you wrote immediately after that is the definition of a pay cut.
They are asking him to get paid less for the next 3 years then get the rest of his money over 2 additional years instead of making that money over 3 years and then getting paid additional money for the following years, even if it's for league minimum. That doesn't even get into losses associated with not having that money invested for the extra 2-3 years or the fact that the last 2 years won't be guaranteed.
Except that he could have a career ending injury this year and not see another dime. Guarantees add some value. You could ask him to take a moderate cut this year for some guaranteed money over the next two. Tough balance though. You can't lowball those later years because he has to feel like it competes with what he could get elsewhere if you were otherwise forced to cut him. They can't cut his pay in half or anything, but they may be able to shave 2-3 million off his cap hit this year.