Za’Darius Smith did Vikings a real favor with contract

Za’Darius Smith did Vikings a real favor with contract

March 26, 2022

Za’Darius Smith’s contract with the Minnesota Vikings is an absolute steal for the NFC North-contending franchise.

Not only did Za’Darius Smith switch NFC North allegiances in his NFL free agency, but he did the Minnesota Vikings a huge favor with the way his three-year contract with the team is structured.

On paper, it is a three-year deal worth $42 million, but the former Pro Bowl edge rusher’s contract is way more advantageous for the Vikings than the one he previously had with the rival Green Bay Packers. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says it really is a one-year deal worth $9.5 million, and at the very worst a two-year deal worth $22 million in this incentive-laden contract.

Here are some of the finer details of Smith’s contract with the Vikings Florio was able to outline.

Za’Darius Smith Minnesota Vikings contract details

Smith gets a $5 million signing bonus. For 2022, he has a fully-guaranteed base salary of $1.45 million and a per-game roster bonus that goes up to $3 million for all 17 games. In 2023, Smith has a base salary of $9.45 million, but only $5.05 million is fully guaranteed. The same per-game roster bonus applies for 2023 and 2024. He also has a workout bonus each year worth $50,000.

The key part in his contract with the Vikings is while he has a $14.45 million base salary in 2024, none of that is guaranteed. He also has a 90-man roster bonus worth $2.5 million for that season as well. There are also plenty of incentives baked into the contract based on how many sacks he can get in 2022 and in 2023. 12.5 sacks gets him $1 million in 2022 and $4 million more in 2023.

The bulk of Smith’s incentives come from being on the active roster in his first two years. Since he only appeared in two combined games in 2021, one can understand why the contract was drawn up that way for the Vikings. Overall, the incentive-laden nature of the deal will help Smith get his compensation, but only if he earns it. The Vikings do not carry an albatross of a contract with this.

Not only are the Vikings getting a healthier Smith, but hopefully a highly motivated player as well.