Contract Forecast: Alex Smith

Contract Forecast: Alex Smith
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Contract Forecast: Alex Smith

It's been a bumpy road for QB Alex Smith since his #1 overall selection in the 2005 draft, but a "breakout", Pro Bowl year in Kansas City last season has the veteran on the cusp of a long-term extension for the first time in his career.

We'll assess Smith's statistical performances in 2012-13 and compare them to quarterbacks of similar age and production to determine and forecast a possible extension this offseason, should one be offered.

Comparable Quarterbacks
To generate a prediction the Spotrac team determined that the following quarterbacks were viable targets to use in comparing with Smith. The key was to locate players with similar numbers, who signed their second contract around his current age (30). Here's a look at the new money for each extension signed by each. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Guaranteed Age When Signed
Eli Manning 6 $97,500,000 $16,250,000 $35,000,000 29
Tony Romo 6 $108,000,000 $18,000,000 $40,000,000 32
Jay Cutler 7 $126,700,000 $18,100,000 $54,000,000 30
Matt Schaub 4 $62,000,000 $15,500,000 $29,150,000 30
Averages 5.75 $98,550,000 $16,962,500 $39,537,500 30.25
At 30 years old, Smith is at a prime age to get a long-term deal (finally). We'll adjust the above contracts up/down to reflect each as if it were signed at the age of 30 to provide a better scope for our base prediction.

Related:  View the list of Top Average Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL
Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
5 $85,351,923 $17,070,385

Statistical Analysis

To derive the most complete set of production comparisons, we'll use Games/Season, Passing Yards/Game, Completion %/Game, Passing TD/Game, Interceptions/Game.

To assess how well the player was performing prior to signing their respective contract, we'll show the averages of these statistics two years prior to their signing date. The two-year analysis will give us a "Prime Percentage", showing how well that player was performing when the contract was signed in relation to his overall career.

Player Games/YR Pass YDS/G Comp %/G PASS TD/G INT/G
Eli Manning (2008-09, NYG) 16 226.8 61.3 1.5 .75
Tony Romo (2011-12, DAL) 16 284 65.9 1.84 .9
Matt Schaub (2010-11, HOU) 13 263.4 62.7 1.5 .69
Jay Cutler (2012-13, CHI) 13 217.5 60.7 1.46 1
AVERAGES 14.5 247.925 62.65 1.575 0.835
Alex Smith (2012-13, KC) 12.5 197.3 65.4 1.44 0.48
% Change -13.79% -20.42% 4.39% -8.57% 42.51%
Smith falls short in many of the statistical categories - though he factors well in efficiency (completion percentage and interception rates). His injury in 2012 (that led to the Kaepernick phase) kept his numbers relatively average across the board, driving a small decrease to our original numbers. We'll factor these Prime Percentage into our base numbers.

Guaranteed Money
Smith dealt with an injury in the middle of 2012, and has shown a bit of up and down pattern in terms of durability and consistency. Many of his seasons include completion percentages well below 60%, and passing yards well below 3,000. Teams will question these factors when considered guaranteed dollars.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Eli Manning $97,500,000 $35,000,000 35.9
Tony Romo $108,000,000 $40,000,000 37
Jay Cutler $126,700,000 $54,000,000 42.6
Matt Schaub $62,000,000 $29,150,000 47
Adjusted Regression 33.7%

Length of the Contract
At 30 years old, Smith has room to receive a contract in the 6-7 year range. But a sloppy, inconsistent 8 season career to date should be a factor in terms of negotiation. We'll assume a 5 year contract for no other reason than to allow for signing bonus to pro-rate, thus reducing the cap figures accordingly.

Value of the Contract
Our initial base terms brought forth an average annual salary just over $17M a year, a figure that would make him the 8th highest average paid quarterback in footbal. We'll factor in our -8.57% Median Prime Percentage (the lower calculated determining factor) to our base numbers to provide a realistic look at what Smith could be seeing from the Chiefs in the coming months.

Quick Thoughts
It's likely that the Chiefs will wait for and use the Andy Dalton extension as at least a guiding point in their negotiation with Smith - even though the two are VERY dissimilar in terms of style of play (and numbers). Extensions are generally looked at as "what has someone else received lately" in terms of a starting point. Many believe (and to some degree I agree), that it makes more sense to keep Smith on a 2/3 year, high salary contract - rather than go the long-term route that Cutler and Romo recently received. The Chiefs have a fairly strong salary cap model in place for 2014, and heading into 2015 - so it shouldn't be of concern to pinch in areas such as their starting quarterback. Pay more today, placing less risk on tomorrow.

Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $78,037,263
Average annual salary $15,607,453, estimated $ 24,000,000 guaranteed

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