Alex Smith Agrees to a Contract Extension with a $30 Million Guarantee at Signing

By Jason Lisk

Alex Smith has agreed to a four year contract extension, according to Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star.  The deal is four years, $68 million, with a reported guarantee amount of $45 million. Is this the real guarantee amount? We saw the Colin Kaepernick deal get initially reported as $61 million in guaranteed money only to be nothing of the sort.

However, Pro Football Talk is reporting that it is $30 million guaranteed at initial signing, with $15 million more vesting next offseason, as an injury-only guarantee. (That is basically the same as a large chunk of Kaepernick’s deal and, in my opinion, should not be reported as guaranteed money, which means, well, guaranteed, not conditional.)

I wrote about Alex Smith and his value and wanting “Jay Cutler money” early this offseason. While he didn’t get that–unless you include this injury-only provision–he still got a pretty good chunk to be the quarterback in Kansas City.

Here’s what I said then about Smith’s prospects as a longterm investment:

"Quarterbacks like Smith have not aged well in their thirties. In baseball terms, he’s like the starting pitcher who can’t afford to lose much off his fastball. He’s not known, for good reason, as a strong arm or accurate deep thrower. He is conservative, he avoids turnovers, he will hold the ball and take sacks rather than put it up for grabs, and does not generally throw into dangerous spots. . . . When I run a comparability study looking at other quarterbacks ages 27 to 29 (which should be favorable to Smith since I exclude the rest of his career and just focus on his best seasons) I get the following ten guys most similar to Smith over the last three years: Neil Lomax, Jason Campbell, Bernie Kosar, Ken O’Brien, Neil O’Donnell, Jim Zorn, Donovan McNabb, Jim Harbaugh, Drew Bledsoe, Bubby Brister. . . . The group averaged 37 starts after their 30th birthday, 2.3 seasons where they made at least 8 starts after turning 30, and 0.4 pro bowls. Several of them were more accomplished than Smith before turning 30. Neil O’Donnell is a good comparison for the stats vs. wins crowd. He was a good, solid quarterback in his late twenties. He was not among the league’s best. The team, though, won a lot of games. In 1995, he led five 4th quarter game winning drives, and the team reached the Super Bowl. After the season, Pittsburgh let him walk."

So needless to say I have my longterm concerns on what kind of effect this will have in 2016 and 2017 if Smith is not worth the money or still a decent starter. It is interesting that Alex Smith, despite being older and not as valued league-wide, got more money up front than Colin Kaepernick.