Under the new rookie wage scale all rookie contracts are four years in length, and their monetary value is for the most part, already decided — the base salary is calculated based on the players draft positon. The only wiggle room that agents have are the signing/workout bonuses and performance incentives, which is what has caused the hold-up with Smith’s contract.
According to ProFootballTalk.com, around $700,000 is linked to Smith’s participation in the teams’ voluntary off-season workout program in 2015 and 2016 — $276,328 of Smith’s $861,328 in 2015 and $414,491 of Smith’s $1.08 million compensation in 2016. The workout “bonus” will allow Smith to receive a portion of guaranteed money before the start of the season by participating in a program that he will attend regardless of the apparent financial implications.
Because of Geno’s incentive ladened contract, there is speculation around the league that the Jets are concerned that without any financial motives, Smith may not show up and participate in the “voluntary” off-season sessions — a key period in the off-season.
There are clear benefits in this deal for both Smith and the Jets, if everything goes to plan for Smith, he’ll be the Jets starting quarterback. However, the Jets haven’t committed themselves to Geno Smith just yet. They have reserved the right to release Smith prior to off-season workouts and save themselves a chunk of money.
Any contract structured in this way, especially when negotiated by the already controversial RocNation, is going to feel a lot of heat, but only time will tell who it favors more.