Do they defer money for payroll considerations? to avoid going over the limit. Which just pushes the problem into the future. If so, this is a real problem.

Or do they do it in order to inflate the perceived value? That's a trick, everyone sees through it, and who cares? If Harper is offered $30M AAV and deferred payments drive down the effective value to $25M, then $25M is the number he uses to base a decision on. If Scherzer's $210M is effectively $180M, then $180M is the number he uses. Really, who cares?