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Reviewing Andre Smith’s one-year contract with Bengals

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The Bengals get a potential starter on a relatively small deal.

Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

We now have the details on Andre Smith’s new contract with the Bengals.

Smith signed a one-year, $3,250,000 contract with Cincinnati, including a $1,550,000 signing bonus, which is all that’s guaranteed on the deal. That guaranteed number is also what Smith’s dead money cap hit would be if the Bengals cut him this year, which is very unlikely to happen, especially after the departures of Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler.

It’s actually Zeitler’s right guard spot where Smith is expected to start, and the deal he’s been given suggests the Bengals plan on that happening.

In 2017, Smith will have a workout bonus of $200,000 and a per game active roster bonus of $15,625, which amounts to $250,000 if he’s active for the full 16-game season. That means nearly $500,000 will need to be earned through offseason workouts and playing well enough to be active in every game next season.

Here is what Smith’s 2017 contract looks like, according to Over The Cap:

Base Salary: $1,250,000

Prorated: $1,550,000

Roster Bonus: $250,000

Workout Bonus: $200,000

Cap Number: $3,062,500

Dead Money: $1,550,000

Cap Savings if Cut: $1,512,500

There are several things to consider here when judging whether or not this was a fair deal for the Bengals to give Smith, who is coming off a lost season in which he made $3.5 million with the Vikings.

  • Smith has the frame and measurables to make you think he’ll be a decent starting guard with a full offseason and training camp committed to that position, and $3 million is a fair deal for that.
  • The NFL salary cap rose by over $11 million this year compared to 2016, so Smith making the same amount of money this year as he did in 2016 is fair since his stock is down from last year, but the cap rising still means he should get paid about what he did in 2016.
  • Smith had very little free agent interest last year, so the deal he got from the Vikings was the best he was going to get. This year, the Bills made a run at Smith and likely drove up his price slightly, which is why the Bengals had to give him the deal they did.

All of this shows that, while it seems like a bit much to pay Smith, the deal he’s getting is actually a very fair one for both sides.