We just got the details of the contract that edge defender Za’Darius Smith signed with the Minnesota Vikings a couple of days ago and. . .well, it appears that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has pulled off quite the steal.
Here’s the full accounting of the deal, courtesy of Pro Football Talk:
- Signing bonus: $5 million.
- 2022 base salary: $1.45 million, fully guaranteed.
- 2022 per-game roster bonus: $3 million ($176,470 per game).
- 2023 base salary: $9.45 million, $5.05 million of which becomes fully guaranteed in 2023.
- 2023 per-game roster bonus: $3 million ($176,470 per game).
- 2024 90-man roster bonus: $2.5 million.
- 2024 base salary: $14.45 million.
- 2024 per-game roster bonus: $3 million ($176,470 per game).
- 2022-24 workout bonus: $50,000.
As Mike Florio points out in the piece, it’s essentially a one-year, $9.5 million deal and, “at worst,” is a two-year, $22 million deal. The third year is what Florio calls “fluff and puff” to make the deal look significantly larger.
Smith also has significant incentive bonuses and playing time bonuses in his deal, which makes sense given that he was limited to just one regular season game and one playoff game last season because of injuries.
(Then again, all of the Packers were limited to one playoff game last season. . .weren’t they?)
The contract, as it’s currently structured, gives the Vikings a significant edge rushing presence opposite of Danielle Hunter and gives Smith a chance to prove himself. If he plays to the level that he did in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to position himself for another big deal heading into 2024. If he doesn’t, it really doesn’t wind up costing the Vikings that much, all things considered.
Overall, this looks like a pretty solid job from the Vikings’ new GM to swoop in and grab Smith to reunite him with Mike Pettine and Mike Smith after his deal with Baltimore fell through for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear.