October 5, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) watches from the sideline against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi
With free agency around the corner, it’s no secret that the Kansas City Chiefs are starving for cap space. It’s also no secret that Alex Smith headlines the payroll.
With that being the case, Kansas City’s quarterback can, to a degree, offer the club some budgetary breathing room.
When asked about the scenario, Smith recently told The Kansas City Star‘s Garrett Johnston that he would be open to restructuring his contract, saying:
"I’m obviously willing to do anything to help the team and help us get better — whatever that is.Changing around things, that’s not really my area of expertise. Those guys handle that but you’re willing to shift things around to help the team out. As a quarterback — why not?"
Now, before diving into the “Alex Smith: Angel or Antichrist?” debate, know that while he’s seemingly willing to restructure, No. 11 probably isn’t taking a pay cut.
As free agency creeps closer, it’s easy to confuse “restructure” with “renegotiate,” but the two have drastically different meanings.
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For all intents and purposes, when a contract is renegotiated, its length and/or value are modified (e.g. pay cut). On the other hand, when a contract is restructured, its length and value remain the same, but the framework is tweaked.
So, basically, Smith is saying that he would be willing to convert a portion of his base salary into a signing bonus. As a result, the Chiefs would gain immediate cap space but clear less of it if they were to release him in the future.
From Smith’s standpoint, the move is a no-brainer. On paper, it not only improves his supporting cast but guarantees a larger portion of his contract.
Either way, given the Chiefs’ current situation, every option is a welcome one.