Alex Smith contract….Leave that sucker alone

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Dec 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 20-12. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

With the ongoing discussion of Justin Houston and when will his contract be taken care of, people wonder why the Kansas City Chiefs haven’t re-worked the contract of quarterback Alex Smith. He has the highest cap number and contract, so it only would be natural that’s where the Chiefs could get some relief right? Wrong.

The Chiefs need to leave that contract alone. First we’ll explore his contract, it’s numbers, analyze what it means, and then, simply, we’ll realize why re-working the Smith contract just isn’t a great idea.

When Smith signed his contract extension with the Chiefs, it was announced to be a four-year extension, running from the 2015 season through the 2018 season. The announced total of the contract was $68 million, with $45 million being guaranteed and $18 million being in the form of a signing bonus prorated at $3.6 million a season from the 2014 season to the end of the 2018 season.

It is important to point out for both the sake of this conversation and going forward, a bulk of that guaranteed money is paid out by the end of the 2016 season. The 2015 and 2016 season salaries are fully guaranteed at $11.9 million and $14.1 million respectively.  His cap number for this upcoming 2015 season is $15.6 million, and his 2016 cap number is set to be $17.8 million.

Once the Chiefs and Smith get past the 2016 season, Smith’s contract becomes much more interesting and manageable. Lets explore.  In a previous column, we had discussed that the 2016 NFL Draft would yield a quarterback early, as it was predicted California quarterback Jared Goff.  The Chiefs really are unable to do much of anything with Smith until after the 2016 season, as moving on from him would cause mind numbing cap hits.  While the organization obviously is going forward with Smith this season, the dead money cap hit K.C. would have to absorb for releasing him after this season would be a staggering $24.9 million dollars.

However, once the Chiefs conclude the 2016 season, which will obviously bring with it greatness and glory, Smith’s guaranteed money takes a steep nose dive. Once the 2016 season is completed, the only money left that’s guaranteed on Smith’s contract is the balance  of his signing bonus, $3.6 for each the 2017 and 2018 season. In translation, after the 2016 season, Smith only has a total of $7.2 million guaranteed over the following 2017 and 2018 seasons, which brings me to my point, don’t re-work the Smith contract.

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