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Alex Smith will get $1 million bonus for playoff appearance


The 49ers signed Alex Smith to an affordable one-year contract before the year with some incentives that weren’t necessarily “likely to be earned.” But the team is happy he earned them.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Smith will get a $1 million bonus for leading the 49ers to the playoffs. The terms of the bonus: Smith had to play 70% of the snaps during the year and play in a playoff game.

Smith also got a $1.5 million bonus earlier this year for playing in over 80% of the team’s snaps during the season, considerably bumping up his $4 million base salary.

It’s easy to forget how Jim Harbaugh was derided for re-signing Smith. Many analysts assumed Colin Kaepernick would wind up becoming the starter by the second half of the season.

Harbaugh said this week that Smith’s desire to make it work in San Francisco after so much failure intrigued him.

“That character of wanting to come back and do it here in San Francisco, which is pretty rare – probably somewhere between rare and extinct,” Harbaugh said via

That decision led to the first playoff game for the 49ers since the 2002 season, and the first playoff game for many 49ers veterans.

A playoff win or two would earn Smith even more money; he’s a free agent after the season.

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16 Responses to “Alex Smith will get $1 million bonus for playoff appearance”
  1. nyyjetsknicks says: Jan 14, 2012 12:01 PM

    Harbaugh is the coach of the year. If someone said that Alex Smith would lead the 49ers to the 2 seed in the NFC, I would have laughed in their face and told them they know nothing about football.

  2. spellingcops says: Jan 14, 2012 12:01 PM

    How refreshing. An incredibly high paid athlete (by normal person standards) actually trying to earn his money. Especially after so much adversity.

  3. bspn2 says: Jan 14, 2012 12:01 PM

    That’s a bit excessive.

  4. woodyg says: Jan 14, 2012 12:03 PM

    Most fans have to be happy that A. Smith was able to hang in there & be considered an NFL success after being the #1 pick a few years back ……

    At the same time one gets the feeling that this season will always be Smith’s high point (whether he stays with the 49’ers or not) ……. The 49’ers won with a solid run game & an even more solid “D” …… Smith was basically along for the ride …….

  5. brenenostler says: Jan 14, 2012 12:05 PM

    He may not be the best, but it’s good to see this guy in the playoffs after many considered him a bust after 2007.

  6. nomoreseasontix says: Jan 14, 2012 12:08 PM

    Good for him! I’m a Raiders fan , but I’m impressed that he stuck with it through a whole lot of bad times and is being successful.

    Good luck today Niner fans… It’s gonna be a great game.

  7. baxman89 says: Jan 14, 2012 12:12 PM

    I’m rooting for the 49er’s. I always felt like Alex Smith got a raw deal with all the offensive coordinators and poor coaching.

  8. thesportgenius says: Jan 14, 2012 12:14 PM

    Kinda wish all athletes got paid based on the quality of their on field performance. Base salary (based on past performance), incentives for team goals and personal performance, and insurance against injury to protect them financially. Football is pretty close to that model but the NBA & MLB dish out stupid money to guys who do nothing after the big contract (ie: Eddie Curry or Barry Zito)

  9. vikescry1 says: Jan 14, 2012 12:20 PM

    not a niners fan but glad to see he’s getting paid for working hard.

  10. dawkattack says: Jan 14, 2012 12:55 PM

    Should go to the D since they led them to the playoffs not alex

  11. ecountry411 says: Jan 14, 2012 1:06 PM

    Coach should get some for putting in a system he can be sucessful in.

  12. wryly1 says: Jan 14, 2012 1:17 PM

    Glad Smith is having some success after being through years of hard knocks, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that SF still has one of the worst, if not the worst, Red Zone offenses – at least in terms of conversion to TD’s. They kick more FG’s than any other team in the NFL – by double digits.

  13. thraiderskin says: Jan 14, 2012 1:44 PM

    I’m happy for Smith, shows perseverance still pays off.

  14. whodat2 says: Jan 14, 2012 1:46 PM

    Tebow gets 250k for winning a playoff game…..Smith get 1 mil to show up??

  15. garyman1 says: Jan 14, 2012 4:04 PM

    Am guessing the 49’rs thought there was no way in hell they would ever have to pay that bonus.

  16. pixelito says: Jan 14, 2012 4:21 PM

    At least the guy has a nice stash set aside for when he’s out of Football in 2 years.

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