It's been a few days since Minnesota Vikings' safety Harrison Smith signed his five-year contract extension that places him. . .however temporarily. . .as the highest-paid player at his position in the National Football League. Now we're finally getting a look at the way it's structured, and though it looks like a lot of money for the team to dole out, in a couple of years we may be looking at it as a bargain.
According to the folks from Spotrac, the "initial guarantee" on the contract is $15.278 million. That's a combination of Smith's 2016 salary and a $10 million signing bonus. The signing bonus is spread out over five years, which is something we'll get to in a moment.
Smith's base salary for the 2017 season is $5,150,000. The $2 million pro-rated portion of the signing bonus and a $350,000 workout bonus will make his 2017 cap hit $7.5 million. The base salaries jump a bit starting in the 2018 season, as he will make a base salary of $7,650,000 in 2018 and base salaries of $8,350,000 in 2019 and 2020. In the final year of the contract, 2021, Smith's base salary will jump to $9,650,000.
According to Spotrac, Smith's base salaries for both 2017 and 2018 will become fully guaranteed on the third day of the league year, which occurs in the early part of March.
As far as cap hits are concerned, his salary cap hit for 2016 is $7,278,000 and will jump to $7,500,000 in 2017. After that, he will reach the $10 million figure in terms of salary cap hits for the final four years of the deal. Again, that sounds like a lot, but it's also possible that in a couple years that having a player of Harrison Smith's caliber at the safety spot for $10 million during his prime years could look like a bargain.
The Vikings are going to have some pretty significant contract decisions coming up over the next few years. Both cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd could be extension candidates following this season, as they'll both be going into their fifth-year option years, and both linebacker Anthony Barr and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be potentially coming up for long-term deals after them. . .and there are guys that could play their way into long-term deals with the Vikings that we're not considering at this point. Smith's contract keeps him tethered to the Vikings for the next six years, during which he should be one of the leaders on what's becoming a very good defense.
Once again, it would appear that salary cap guru Rob Brzezinski has put together a deal that will be beneficial to both the player and the team in the long-term.