Vikings S Harrison Smith Likely Facing Pay Cut In 2024

Harrison Smith has played his entire 12-year career with the Vikings, and he remains under contract with the team. If he elects to continue his career, though, he will likely need to do so at a reduced rate.

Smith was in a similar situation last offseason. He ultimately agreed to a restructure which resulted in a pay cut while guaranteeing much of his base salary. Two more years remain on the 35-year-old’s contract, and he is set to carry cap hits of $19.22MM and $22.02MM, respectively, if no further alterations are made.

As Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes, Smith declined to offer a firm stance with respect to his playing future once the Vikings’ season came to an end. The six-time Pro Bowler racked up 93 tackles, three sacks and a trio of forced fumbles in 2023. He did not allow a touchdown in coverage, and he is one year removed from a five-interception campaign. While he would remain a productive player if he elected to play in 2024, Goessling writes that Smith would likely be required to agree to another pay cut to remain in Minnesota.

The former All-Pro is due $15.3MM next year, but the Vikings would see considerable cap savings via a trade or release (particularly if they were to designate Smith a post-June 1 cut). A restructure, by contrast, would allow Minnesota to retain him while creating $6.67MM in cap space. Given the major financial decisions the team has to make in the near future, any added flexibility would be welcomed.

The Vikings need to work out a new deal with Kirk Cousins or find a replacement starting quarterback. The team is also set to resume negotiations on a mega-extension with wideout Justin Jefferson. The latter does not appear poised to offer a hometown discount, although he is already on the books for 2024 via his fifth-year option. Clarity on the Cousins and Jefferson fronts will inform moves with other key veterans, such as pending free agent edge rusher Danielle Hunter.

Goessling notes that both head coach Kevin O’Connell and defensive coordinator Brian Flores want to have Smith back for next season. His desire to continue playing remains the key question in this situation; if he elects against hanging up his cleats, however, it will be interesting to see if he is willing to take a pay cut for the second year in a row.

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