There’s a very common dynamic when it comes to the publication of contract numbers. The agent leaks a misleading (usually) or false (sometimes) description of the deal to multiple insiders, who then rush to Twitter with the information. Accuracy takes a back seat to being the one who win the thumb race, even though multiple people got the same information at the same time.
It became relevant on Monday, when multiple reporters said Derek Carr has a four-year, $150 million deal with the Saints. It’s really three years, $100 million.
Then came the Geno Smith deal. Three years, $105 million! As Mike Garafolo of NFL Media has reported, and as PFT has confirmed, it’s three years, $75 million, with a whopping $30 million in incentives.
The triggers aren’t yet known. They’ll say plenty about how much of the extra money he’s likely to actually earn.
The deal also has $27.3 million fully guaranteed at signing, with base cash flow of $28 million in 2023, $22 million in 2024, and $25 million in 2025. Another $12.7 million becomes fully guaranteed in February 2024.
We’re waiting for the full and complete details. The basic information suggests that the guarantee applies to all of 2023, with another $12 million guaranteed in 2024.
That makes it a two-year, $50 million deal (plus incentives). It also means the Seahawks could potentially move on after one season. They’d owe $12 million for 2024; possibly, he’d get that much (or close to it) on the open market, offsetting Seattle’s obligation.
The total breakdown will shed more light on the deal. For now, it’s not crazy to think that the contract makes it easy for the Seahawks to indeed use the fifth overall pick on a quarterback, who would sit for a year or two behind Smith — just as Smith did behind Russell Wilson.
So why do agents put out exaggerated or downright false information to reporters who know or should know the information is exaggerated or downright false? The agents use the headlines generated by the false information to recruit more clients. And the headlines with the correct information never get mentioned.
And the reporters preserve the pipeline of future information, even if it’s exaggerated or downright false.
As Chris Simms pointed out on PFT Live, it doesn’t help the player. Beyond the fact that people who may want some of his money will think he has more money than he does, it increases the pressure on the player. If he struggles, the investment looks worse if the investment has been overstated.