A player is unlikely to receive all of the total money of a contract. A player is not guaranteed to earn any of the money in a contract above what is guaranteed. (Aren't even guaranteed to earn what is guaranteed, actually. Haynesworth didn't) but that does NOT mean that that money is meaningless.
If a player believes he will continue to do well that money is absolutely there for them to earn.
Just like I showed with Webster boley or Eli.
The total number is absolutely 100% important. That is money the player can earn.
You keep saying a player can be released and not owed any of it.
A player could get hurt and not earn any of his "guaranteed" money too.
But when a player like boley earns nearly double of what he was guaranteed I would say that is far from being meaningless.