The NFL Network's Albert Breer is a smart guy, and he recently took a closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
Here Breer breaks it all down for us nice and simple:
Alex Smith's contract
· 2012: $5 million base salary (fully guaranteed); $3 million roster bonus; $1.25 million in likely-to-be-earned incentives; $1.75 million in unlikely incentives.
· 2013: $7.5 million base salary ($1 million guaranteed); $1 million roster bonus; $1.25 million in likely-to-be-earned incentives; $1.75 million in unlikely incentives.
• 2014: $7.5 million base salary; $1.25 million in likely-to-be-earned incentives; $1.75 million in unlikely incentives.
What it means: Smith was guaranteed $9 million upon signing ($10.5 million with injury guarantees), but this could well be a deal that runs a year and is worth only that much. The 2013 roster bonus is due in March, and if Smith is on the roster on April 1 of next year, his $7.5 million base salary will be guaranteed. If they cut him before the roster bonus comes due, they only owe him the $1 million guarantee. So, at least from a practical standpoint, the Niners will have to make a decision next March if Smith will be the starter for 2013.
So, basically the 49ers have a year to decide what they want to do with Alex Smith. He's got a full season to prove he's worth his salt, and that 2011 wasn't a fluke. I like his chances of having a good 2012 season. They have Colin Kaepernick as a backup plan and possible future QB, but he is still progressing as an NFL QB. So, it's Alex Smith for now.
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