Last week, I finally got around to answering some questions that were submitted by readers like yourself.
By Jordan Wright
Since then, I’ve received plenty more questions and there was one that really stuck out to me.
Kyle from Minnesota asks “Why haven’t the Vikings gotten Harrison Smith signed yet? Is there a chance he might walk after this season? Also, what’s a realistic price tag for someone like Harrison?”
That’s a great question Kyle, thanks for submitting it! The first thing we need to look at is the Vikings history of re-signing their key free agents. Since Rick Spielman took over, the Vikings have made it a priority to give players with one year left on their contracts an extension. Everson Griffen, Kyle Rudolph, and Brandon Fusco all come to mind as players who got an extension before they were allowed to reach free agency. I have no reason to doubt the Vikings are working diligently behind the scenes to get this done with Harrison Smith.
Is there a chance he might walk after this season? My assumption is the chances of that are very slim. Let’s say the worst case scenario happens and Harrison Smith is offended by a low ball offer from the Vikings and decides he’d rather play somewhere else. In that case, the Vikings would still be able to use the franchise tag on Smith to keep him in town for an extra season. However, I have heard nothing that would indicate that could be the case. Harrison Smith appears to love playing for the Vikings, the coaching staff is enamored with him, and the fan base and community have accepted him with open arms. All things are pointing to the Vikings working out a long term deal for Harrison.
The third part of Kyle’s question is where it gets tricky. It’s difficult to put
a price tag on Harrison Smith because of the immense value he brings to the Vikings’ defense. However, if we look at the contracts for other highly-rated safeties, we can start to narrow it down a little bit. According to Pro Football Focus, Harrison Smith was the top safety in the league last season. So let’s take a look at who was right below him and how much they earn per year. (All cap info is provided by overthecap.com)
Malcolm Jenkins of the Eagles was PFF’s second rated safety, and he earns $8.75 million per year.
Earl Thomas from Seattle was third according to PFF, and his contract pays him $10 million per year.
Morgan Burnett of the Packers is fourth, and he is making just under $6.2 million per season.
Patrick Chung of New England comes in at fifth, and is making only $2.4 million per year.
Eric Berry of the Chiefs is making $10.8 million per year.
Devin McCourty of the Patriots is scheduled to make $9.5 million a year.
All in all, the top safeties in the league make an average of just under $8 million per season. Harrison Smith should easily find himself as one of the highest paid safeties in the league once his extension is completed. My optimistic side thinks the Vikings could get Smith for about $50 million over five years, or $10 million/year. However, it wouldn’t be outlandish if he ends up getting closer to $12 million per year.
The Minnesota Vikings have one of the best front offices and cap management teams in the league. I have no doubt that re-signing Harrison Smith is one of their top priorities. However, the Vikings will also have to plan for the future, since there are some big time players who will need an extension in the next few years (Anthony Barr, Teddy Bridgewater, Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, and Stefon Diggs just to name a few).
Have any questions or comments? Feel free to reach out to me by e-mail (skoljwright@gmail. com), Facebook (facebook.com/skoljwright) or Twitter (@skoljwright).