Jets’ Geno Smith does not receive “QB premium” in rookie contract

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

New York Jets second-round quarterback Geno Smith signed his four-year, $5.019 million rookie contract on Monday. With Smith changing agents after the draft — firing the experienced Jeff Nalley to join the relatively inexperienced Kim Miale at Roc Nation Sports, which is owned by Jay Z — his rookie contract is generating more interest than those signed by the other second-round picks in this year's draft.

According to a source with knowledge of Smith's contract, here's how it breaks down:

Signing bonus: $2,030,620

Base salaries:

2013: $405,000 - guaranteed for skill/injury/cap
2014: $633,164 - guaranteed for skill/injury/cap
2015: $585,000
2016: $675,000

Other compensation

2015: $276,328 workout bonus
2016: $414,491 workout bonus

Smith's signing bonus and fully guaranteed base salaries in each of the first two seasons are perfectly in line with his draft slot. In total, Smith's contract is worth $5,019,603 with $3,068,784 in guaranteed money. Both figures are standard, but it is somewhat interesting that Smith, who believed he should have been selected in Round 1 of the draft, did not receive a "quarterback premium" contract, which are deals where a quarterback obtains more guaranteed money and/or a larger total value contract from the team than a player at another position would have received in the same draft slot.

In 2011, quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, the third and fourth picks in the second round, signed deals with slotted total values and signing bonuses. However, both quarterbacks received more guaranteed money than the first two picks of Round 2 as the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers fully guaranteed substantial portions of Dalton and Kaepernick's Year 3 base salaries.

Last year, Denver Broncos second-round quarterback Brock Osweiler received $1,937,433 in guaranteed money even though his draft slot called for guaranteed money in the $1.4 million range. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson did not receive additional guaranteed money in his rookie contract, but his outer year base salaries all exceed the league minimum and he has a base salary escalator available in 2014, so the total value of his contract came in higher than the seven non-quarterbacks chosen ahead of him in the third round of the 2012 draft. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, also a 2012 third-rounder, has a contract with a total value higher than the nine non-quarterbacks selected ahead of him in last year's draft.

"Quarterback premium" deals have occurred in 2013.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers third-round quarterback Mike Glennon received $637,500 in guaranteed money, which is what his slot called for. However, the total value of Glennon's deal is $3.104 million, which is higher than the nine non-quarterbacks drafted ahead of him. Eagles fourth-round quarterback Matt Barkley has an opportunity to earn nearly $60,000 more than the linebacker (Zaviar Gooden of the Tennessee Titans) chosen ahead of him in April through higher base salaries and workout bonuses in the outer years of his contract.

Smith's deal is not bad, but this is the only contract he is assured of signing and a little more fully guaranteed money would have made this contract look a lot better.

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