As usual, all sorts of erroneously inflated numbers circulate in the media after a player signs a contract. Then, by the time the real numbers are available, everybody has moved on to the next batch of erroneously inflated numbers.
In the case of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, some reports have pegged the deal as carrying $16.5 million in guaranteed money, and a maximum value of $33 million.
Unfortunately for Smith, it doesn’t.
Per a source with direct knowledge of the real numbers, here’s what Smith will receive:
1. No signing bonus.
2. $5 million base salary in 2012, fully guaranteed.
3. $3 million non-guaranteed roster bonus in 2012.
4. $7.5 million base salary in 2013, fully guaranteed.
5. $1 million non-guaranteed roster bonus in 2013.
6. $7.5 million non-guaranteed base salary in 2014.
7. Incentives worth up to $1.25 million annually.
So that’s $12.5 million in fully guaranteed money. The $16.5 million figure likely comes from the assumption that the roster bonuses will be paid in 2012 and 2013. But that doesn’t make them guaranteed.
The total $3.75 million in incentives pushes the maximum value to $27.75 million. (It’s possible, we suppose, that another $5.25 million in escalators can be triggered during the first two years of the deal, which would push the total to $33 million.)
If Smith finishes out the contract, the first overall pick in the 2005 draft will have spent 10 years with the team that drafted him.
UPDATE 4:25 p.m. ET March 23: A separate source tells PFT that the 2012 roster bonus is due on March 26, making it as a practical matter guaranteed. Also, a total of $9 million is indeed available via escalators and incentives. The specific triggers aren’t known; some could be unrealistic.