The San Francisco 49ers are in the middle of contract negotiations with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and given the likely value of his next contract, comparisons against other contracts will remain a topic of discussion. It's kind of fitting then that former 49ers QB Alex Smith is in the middle of his own negotiations with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Smith is scheduled to earn $7.5 million, with $500,000 in potential bonus money. He'll be a free agent following the season, and negotiations may or may not be getting a little difficult. Our friends at Arrowhead Pride are all over it, and naturally this results in thousand comment threads. Those certainly were the days!
I bring Smith's contract up in part because we just can't quit him, and in part because his contract could very well impact Kap's own negotiation. If Smith can't get big money, I don't think it really impacts things, but if Smith can get the numbers some people are throwing out there, it likely boosts Kap's price tag a little bit.
What are those numbers? Well, it started with these tweets from Jason Cole and Ian Rapoport:
Correct. $18M. RT @JasonPhilCole Back in January, I know Alex Smith wanted a deal above Jay Cutler (7 yr, $126M). Can't imagine it changed.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 28, 2014
This got people talking about the $18 million figure, including this Over the Cap article on whether or not Smith was worth that kind of money. It's a fascinating article because it makes some good arguments for why Smith might be worth Cutler money. Of course, those arguments are as much about why Cutler probably did not deserve Cutler money, as they are about why Smith deserves it. In reality, Cutler probably deserved less than Tony Romo, but we know logic is not always a key part of these kinds of discussions!
And yet, is Alex Smith actually asking for Jay Cutler money? His wife, Elizabeth Smith, threw out a bit of a curve ball Wednesday afternoon:
It is probably fitting that these numbers are a bit fuzzy because Alex Smith's value remains a bit fuzzy. He has done very solid work for playoff teams, but it is not a simple task slotting him into a given tier of quarterbacks. That is not helped by the fact that the quarterback market has become such an extreme between the high end and the rookie market. If we're just talking about these two markets, arguments could be made in support of Alex Smith being a Jay Cutler value quarterback. Plenty of arguments could counter that, but the quarterback market does not always follow logic.
Some will argue against Colin Kaepernick getting that top tier money, but I have to think there is a certain inevitability to it. He is going to be getting one of those big contracts, but it will be interesting to see how it ends up getting structured. If he puts up a monster season, his next contract (franchise tag possibility aside) will be like any of these other monster deals. But if the two sides can get a deal done before the season, I do wonder what kind of incentives, escalators and bonuses we might see. There might be a happy medium where Kap has the possibility of earning the crazy bucks, but there will be some measure of "prove it" to the deal. Or maybe he just gets a big money contract, and that's that.