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The Salary Cap and Harrison Smith

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One contract option that’s not really being talked about

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Hi gang, hope your weekend is off to a good start. If you’re a regular reader of this here site, you’ve probably seen the players that we’ve been profiling in our ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ series, and if you are, thank you for reading them.

If you haven’t, we’ve looking at some vets that are under contract in 2020 with a big cap number, or guys that are free agents, and trying to decide if they should remain with the Vikings or not.

For the veterans that are on the team that we’re discussing, one of the key factors is their 2020 contract. Most of them are pretty bad, and the Vikings are going to have to do something. We’re already aware that Everson Griffen voided his contract earlier in the week, for example, but the Vikings still need to make some decisions on guys like Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph, for example.

One guy who has a pretty high projected salary that isn’t that team friendly right now is Harrison Smith. His contract looks like one that the team could deal with, but hardly anyone has said anything about the possibility.

So, let’s look at it. But, before we do, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page: I do not feel this is a stay or go option for Smith, not at all. I fully expect him to be a member of the Minnesota Vikings in 2020. When you look at the status of literally every other member in the Vikes defensive backfield, Smith has two qualifications that stand out among everyone else: He’s the only one that’s under contract for 2020 that has consistently played well, and he’s literally the only safety on the roster.

However, his 2020 salary cap number is intriguing. He has a 2020 salary of $10.75 million, with $2 million dollars in dead money. If you look at his 2021 contract, he has a projected salary of $10.25 million, and no dead money. Of all the contracts that have put the Vikings up against the cap ceiling, Smith might have the best one in terms of being able to free up cap space for the Vikings this year while pushing out dead money further into out years.

I have a feeling that the Vikings will approach Smith about re-doing his deal sometime in the near future. If they do, they could, conceivably, lower his 2020 cap number, push his dead money out to future seasons where they’ll be a lot healthier cap wise, and give Smith more guaranteed money for this upcoming season.

Again, just so there’s no confusion—if the Vikings do approach Smith, and he balks at re-doing his deal, he would essentially be calling their bluff, and Minnesota won’t cut him. Well, I hate to speak in absolutes, so let’s just say that if he declines to re-do his deal and the Vikings released him, it would be the most shocking cut since Antoine Winfield.

And it would really piss a lot of us off, myself included.

Maybe I’m wrong, and believe it or not, that does happen on occasion, haha. I just feel this is something to be on the lookout for as we approach free agency and the Vikes start clearing cap space.