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.