So there’s no “$24 million” upfront. Sorry. The CBA limits salary plus bonuses in any given year to 20% of the upper limit in the year in which the contract is signed.
Winger Zach Parise has a once-in-a lifetime chance to get maximum dollars in unrestricted free agency. He can write his own ticket. If he wants giant dollars up front in his new deal — via a two-stage signing bonus for, say, $24 million — he will get giant dollars up front. That is why the New Jersey Devils failed to keep him off the market.