Players will only sign contracts at their asking length or longer and their asking price per year, or higher. That is, if he is asking $3 mill a year for 3 years, you can offer him a contract at $12 mill (total, including bonus) over 4, and he will sign it, or $15 mill over 5 (or $9 mill over 3). You can structure the contract in any manner that meets the following requirements:
Season - This is the actual season salary that you would like to offer the player. In a two-year contract, neither season can comprise more than 60% of the total value of the contract. In a three-year contract, no season can comprise more than 40% of the total value of the contract. In a four-year contract, no season can comprise more than 30% of the total value of the contract. In a five-year contract, no season can comprise more than 25% or less than 10% of the total value of the contract. There is a maximum allowable offer of $20 million for any season. The minimum for any season is the minimum annual salary at that level. For the big leagues, this is 325K. To change the offer for any season, please click in the box next to the season and enter an integer value. For a three year contract, you must enter in values for the first three seasons, but you may leave seasons 4 and 5 blank. The total value of the contract will appear at the bottom of the page.
If you offer a bonus, deduct that amount from the total and meet the above requirements (and the bonus will come out of your first year's Player Payroll budget)