If any NFL agents are thinking about writing rap lyrics bashing Jay-Z, they now have a little ammunition.
Per a source with knowledge of the details of the deal, Jets quarterback Geno Smith’s contract ties nearly $700,000 to Smith participating in the team’s offseason voluntary workout program.
Specifically, $276,328 of Smith’s $861,328 compensation in 2015 depends on Smith showing up for the otherwise voluntary offseason drills. In 2016, $414,491 of Smith’s $1.08 million compensation in 2016 is tied to working out in the offseason.
Typically, players must participate in 80 percent of the offseason workouts to earn the bonus. For Smith, this puts extra pressure on him to be able and willing to show up and work out in the final two years of his deal. If he fails to meet the minimums, he’ll potentially lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It’s not unprecedented for the Jets to use workout bonuses in rookie deals, but the amounts have been much lower. Last year, for example, second-round receiver Stephen Hill had $50,000 tied to workout participation in 2013, and $100,000 each in 2014 and 2015.
Still, some will look at the decision to tie nearly $700,000 of compensation to Smith’s decision to show up and work out as an indication that the Jets are concerned that, without a clear financial incentive to put in the work, Smith won’t. Some also may wonder whether the Jets noticed something during the 2013 offseason program that gave them concerns about Smith’s commitment to the otherwise voluntary sessions.
The clause also sets up inexperienced agent Kim Miale and her boss, Jay-Z, for criticism from the agent community, which tends to criticize anyone and anything if it means helping them expand their portfolio of clients. In this specific case, given the details of the rookie deals signed by the players taken before and after Smith, the criticism may be justified.