Examining Geno Smith’s new contract — and how it compares to Pat Sajak, Kevin Hart and others
I remember reading a story on Seattle Seahawks and former West Virginia University quarterback Geno Smith.
Because of his early NFL struggles, he was asked how he managed to get through the tough times.
And his response has rattled around in my brain ever since.
“Honestly, my tough times would be a dream to someone else,” he replied. “I never will look at it as something that was too hard for me or really tough because throughout that time, I was still enjoying my life and still in the NFL.”
And still making money.
Lots and lots of money.
The quote hit me as I was listening to sports talk radio on my way home from work on Monday. It was after Smith landed his “bag,” as it’s called these days. Someone said his new contract gives him more than triple what he’s made in his 10 years.
And that’s true if he makes over $52 million. Yet no one should have ever felt bad for Geno Smith. While, yes, he struggled to get a successful starting gig until last season’s Pro Bowl-worthy effort, the man has banked $17.446 million in his career. Only 8.8 percent of U.S. adults are millionaires.
And now Smith, 32, is making a whopping jump.
After leading the NFL with a 69.8 percent completion percentage and throwing for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions, he landed a new contract reported as worth $105 million with the ability to earn $52 million in the first calendar year.
“It’s a message opportunity for us to realize that if you hang with people and you have a good connection with them, and you can feel their competitiveness and willingness to hang in and their ability to not accept what’s going on, and to keep seeing through it and believe it in themselves,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters last week during the NFL combine. “It’s a great story now.”
Actually, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Media, Smith’s deal is three years, $75 million, with $30 million in incentives.
According to Pro Football Talk:
“The deal also has $40 million fully guaranteed at signing, with base cash flow of $28 million in 2023, $22 million in 2024, and $25 million in 2025… 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.”
Just for funsies, let’s say “all” Smith ends up with is the $40 million guaranteed at signing and the $12 million guaranteed for 2024.
Gang, if you add his previous earnings, we’re talking $70 million that will or has hit his bank account. At bare minimum.
From 2013, when the New York Jets drafted him out of WVU, through last season, Smith started 49 games at QB with various teams. He made $356,042 per start. Pretty good, right?
Next year, if he plays 17 games, he’ll make around $2.35 million per start.
Of course, pinning the $70 million tag on Smith doesn’t account for anything going out the door. But get this: Washington state doesn’t have a personal or corporate income tax.
So, let’s run with the $70 million figure.
Do you know his career net worth would be right there with Wheel of Fortune’s Pat Sajak?
Fun, right? Celebrity Net Worth estimates Sajak at $70 million, while Money Inc. guesses he’s at $65 million.
I also looked at Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities list. Smith isn’t anywhere near Kylie Jenner’s $590 million earnings (Kylie Jenner!!) last year, but, if you use next year’s $40 million slotted income, he’s right there with tennis standout Rafael Nadal.
Are you a Heidi Klum fan? Geno is set to make more than she did last year. ($39.5 million)
Ditto (and this is the one that really stunned me) Kevin Hart, who made $39 million at age 43.
Ditto Katy Perry.
Ditto Lady Gaga.
Ditto DJ Khaled.
And, are you ready for this…
Ditto Paul McCartney, who pulled in a mere $37 million last year.
It’s a heck of a story.
As he said, when everybody wrote him off (and, lol, he was going through those tough times), he didn’t write back.
Until signing a very, very big contract.
Congrats to the former Mountaineer.
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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.