For now, Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith is allowed to play on Sunday. But as he faces another DUI charge, he could be suspended. And if he is, it will cost him a lot of money.
Field Yates of ESPN reports that Smith’s deal with Oakland has a base salary of $1.25 million, a $250,000 roster bonus for each game he’s on the 53-man roster, an incentive payment of $1.375 million if he records eight sacks this season, and another $1.375 million if he gets to 10 sacks.
That’s a total maximum value of $8 million, which is a good deal for a guy many teams wouldn’t be willing to touch, given his repeated off-field problems. But the structure of that contract means a suspension would be doubly expensive for him: Not only would he lose one-seventeenth of his salary ($73,529) for any game he’s suspended, but he would also lose the $250,000 roster bonus for any game he’s suspended. So he’d lose $323,529 per game that he can’t play because of suspension.
Missing time would also make Smith less likely to hit those sack totals. Smith has 44 sacks in 50 games in his career, so hitting 10 sacks in 16 games is very doable for him. But if he gets hit with a long suspension he may not reach even the eight-sack incentive.
Smith was suspended for nine games last year, and the NFL usually comes down harder on repeat offenders. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see Smith face a lengthy suspension once the league has concluded its investigation of his most recent arrest. If he is suspended, he’ll pay millions for it.