Alex Smith’s contract gives him plenty of protection


It’s way to early to know whether the gruesome leg injury suffered by Washington quarterback Alex Smith will prevent him from returning to football, like it did when it happened to Joe Theismann 33 years ago today. Smith is still not yet 35, and he had shown no signs of slowing down.

If for some reason he can’t play again, Smith will have significant financial protections.

The contract extension Smith signed after being traded from Washington had a total injury guarantee of $71 million. He’ll make every penny of that even if he can’t continue to play.

Although, at the time of signing, only the amounts that are fully guaranteed matter, the injury guarantee provides security against a worst-case scenario that rarely happens.

For Smith, that may not happen; he may be good to go by next year. But if for some reason he’s not, he’ll get the full $71 million.

Of course, that wouldn’t be good for Washington, since they’d have to pay Smith (and absorb the cap charge) and find another quarterback. But that’s part of the price that a team pays when paying a quarterback big money. Given the guarantees that are no required, the team assumes the risk that the quarterback eventually won’t be able to play.

23 responses to “Alex Smith’s contract gives him plenty of protection

  1. I wish him all the best in his recovery and some advice…take 4 yrs to recover, then retire a very wealthy man! Walking is way more important then playing.

  2. The Redskins just have to go out and draft a good young QB. He’ll be playing on his rookie deal for 4 or more years, so if they’re good at evaluating QB’s it shouldn’t be a big problem.

  3. Why would the skins give a player so much in a contract? So far this season alex smith has been a bust and i dont wish injury to anybody but i was happy to see the offense have some life with colt mccoy. The way smith’s contract is structured we are screwed either way if he plays or not. That isnt smart business but who am i kidding….its the Redskins and another headscratcher of a contract.

  4. Prayers for Alex Smith. I’m stoked to see what Colt McCoy does with the team.

    Hopefully, Florio stops turning stories on the Redskins QB situation to complaints about Kaepernick. Kaep is an activist celebrity now, Mike, and is extremely well-paid for that. He’s winning civil rights awards.

    Book it, he will not play pro football ever again. By choice.

    Let it go. Please. Focus on the players in the locker room & on the field.

  5. I feel terrible for Smith wish him the best in his recovery!

    For Daniel Snyder this is poetic justice. His ego would never allow Cousins to get a long term contract in Washington as the 4th round pick in the same year his boy RGme busted. Snyder even doubled down trading a 3rd round pick PLUS a starting CB to get an inferior QB in Alex Smith.

  6. He needs to retire…that was absolutely gruesome…be smart Alex…and he was always a stop gap for the Redskins…we had no delusions he was gonna lead us to the promised land…

  7. Yeah as Joe T’s injury really changed the game of football. And even though that there are a lot more resources now then there were in 1985, really you never want anybody hurt. Hope Alex feels better and heals. Get well Alex.

  8. If I were Smith, I would want to fully understand what the ramifications of attempting a comeback are.

    If he comes back and isn’t able to play at his former level, does that give the Redskins the option to cut him and get out of the $71 mil guarantee?

    I don’t know that I’d bet $71 million that I could still play at the NFL level after this serious injury.

  9. The contract extension Smith signed after being traded from Washington had a total injury guarantee of $71 million. He’ll make every penny of that even if he can’t continue to play.


    Not sure if LeVeon Bell’s worth the per-year amount he’s asking for or that he’s gone about his situation correctly, but you see situations like Smith’s and realize how risky these franchise/transition tags are. Smith’s 8 years older than Bell, but all it takes is one freak play. Look at Earl Thomas.

    As for Smith, pretty awful luck. Rough sledding for the Redskins over the past 20-25 years in finding a consistent starting QB that lasts more then 2-3 years.

  10. My heart goes out to Smith. Didn’t the Washington FO knock Cousins because he was avoiding hits? Munching on $71 mil.

  11. Redskins gambled and lost. Again. Only way out of this is if McCoy can produce some wins. Alex I hope you make a full recovery. That was a nasty looking injury.

  12. It sucks to see Smith go down with that gruesome injury, it’s too bad the Skins won’t be at full strength when they play my Boys on Thursday, it’s always a better game when both teams are a full go.

    thoughts and prayers for a full recovery for A.S.

  13. With todays medical technology I’m pretty sure Smith will play again.
    The question is, will he be able to play next season, and how effective will he be?

    It’s kind of a shame for the redskins because they had a chance for the playoffs. Colt McCoy may be a good backup, and the rest of the division is weak, so all is not lost, but there is now a fair chance the Redskins don’t make the playoffs.

  14. But that is ok that Smith will get paid, who really cares if the rest of the team will suffer for the next few years. Interesting social commentary , kind of like what everyone else deals with daily. A handful of players get the bulk of the pie, but even gets worse when they no longer can play they still get their big piece of the pie and the rest fight for the scraps. So you see if anyone wants to point fingers at the owners and how they are billionaires and have everything and make the common folk fight for everything. The same can be said about the wealth structure of the NFL players. Just at a smaller scale, but still applies even if you don’t like it or not.

  15. Terrible injury…good for Alex Smith to negotiate such a contract…this is the exact scenario that LeVeon Bell is trying to protect himself from…most NFL players don’t have a deal like Alex Smith or other highly paid players…if LeVeon gets injured and can’t play again 14 mil would have been it….he. rightfully so, wants similar protections….

  16. Alex, life makes no promises. Take 4 years, 94 million and free nfl sideline game views. Somebody call Dan Snyder and Doug Williams. Resolve many issues, hire Kaepernick. Get a quaterback at a resonable price, argument againt nickname issue, show Washington isn’t apart of the NFL plantation mentallity, a rack of publicity, increase ticket sales and inspire fan- base.

    Fire Bruce Allen he dosen’t appreciate freedom of speech.

  17. Is it really that much money? 80 million is like the pooled value of 40 houses in some DC neighborhoods. Can the Redskins afford a small neighborhood. Yeah, they can. Can Alex Smith be paid the equivalence of the purchasing power of 40 households. Yeah, probably, the market can probably sustain that without being an “outrageous” big salary.

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