It was a bit of a surprise that the Raiders signed linebacker Aldon Smith to a two-year deal when he’s suspended until the middle of November at the earliest. It’s no surprise to see the full terms of the deal.
According to a source with knowledge of the contract, Smith received no signing bonus and no guaranteed money as part of the two-year deal with base salaries of only $1.25 million each year.
The contract, as previously reported, pays $250,000 for each game that Smith is on the regular-season 53-man roster. There’s also a $500,000 workout bonus each year; given his suspension, he has no way to earn the workout bonus in 2016.
The contract also contains up to $3.5 million in incentives each year, and an escalator for 2017 of $1.5 million based on total sacks in 2016.
To have any sacks in 2016, Smith needs to be reinstated. The sooner he’s reinstated, the sooner he’ll have a chance to earn per-game roster bonuses and potential incentives.
The contract itself becomes a significant incentive for Smith as he tries to get back into the NFL after his latest suspension. The Raiders could have waited; by doing the deal, they have given him real reason to do whatever he has to do to return.