Harrison Smith

Contract Details: Smith, Amendola, Trufant

Here are the latest details on some of the notable contracts recently signed around the NFL:

  • Harrison Smith, S (Vikings): Four years, $64MM. The deal includes $14.2MM fully guaranteed, but Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com notes $26.4MM will be guaranteed by March 22 (Twitter link). Smith’s 2021 cap hit only comes in at $6.99MM. However, the veteran safety’s salary spikes from $2.95MM in 2022 to $14.7MM in 2023. His 2024 and ’25 base salaries ($14.45MM, $17MM) are not guaranteed.
  • Danny Amendola, WR (Texans): One year, $2.5MM. Deal includes a $1.25MM base salary and a $250K signing bonus, Sports Talk 790’s Aaron Wilson tweets. Amendola’s pact features $300K in per-game roster bonuses, with an additional $700K available through incentives.
  • Desmond Trufant, CB (Saints): One year, $1.075MM, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweets. Trufant’s deal qualifies for the minimum-salary benefit, putting his cap hit at just $850K.

Vikings, Harrison Smith Agree To $64MM Deal

The Vikings and Harrison Smith have agreed to a four-year, $64MM extension (Twitter link via Mike Golic Jr. of ESPN Radio). With that, the All-Pro now stands as the second highest-paid safety in the league. 

Smith, 32, was previously set to enter the final season of his five-year, $51.25MM deal. It was a whopper of a deal at the time, but that AAV had him outside of the top ten among safeties in 2021. Smith, who has spent the last nine years in Minnesota, wondered whether he was headed for divorce with the only NFL team he’s ever known.

“I mean I don’t know what happens at the end of careers,” Smith said recently. “Sometimes things change. I don’t plan on that happening, but the NFL is the NFL. It’s always wild. But I’ll always consider myself a Viking no matter what.”

Now, after watching Anthony Harris‘ offseason departure, Smith has a brand new deal and a significant pay bump to boot. Still a high-end safety, Pro Football Focus has rated him in the top-15 for each of the last four years. That includes 2015 when he graded No. 1 at safety.

This’ll be Year 10, but there’s no reason to believe that Smith is slowing down. Last year, Smith matched his career high with five interceptions. Now, with a new deal, he’ll look to set even more watermarks in Minnesota.

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S Harrison Smith Discusses Future With Vikings

Harrison Smith has spent his entire nine-year career in Minnesota, and the Pro Bowl safety naturally wants to end his career with the Vikings. However, during a recent appearance on All Things Covered, Smith admitted to the hosts, current teammate Patrick Peterson and former NFL cornerback Bryant McFadden, that anything could happen.

“Yeah,” Smith said. “I mean I don’t know what happens at the end of careers. I was listening to, it might’ve been the [episode] with Champ [Bailey], Pat Pete was saying at that ten-year mark, sometimes things change. I don’t plan on that happening, but the NFL is the NFL. It’s always wild. But I’ll always consider myself a Viking no matter what.”

These comments are relatively timely; we learned earlier this week that the Vikings were exploring an extension with the veteran defensive back. Smith signed a five-year, $51.25MM deal nearly five years ago, but his AAV is now 11th among safeties. Smith is set to hit free agency next offseason.

Given Anthony Harris‘ offseason departure, it would make sense for the Vikings to explore another deal with Smith, and it’d make sense for Smith to look for a slight pay bump. Another five-year deal is probably not in the cards, but Smith has remained a high-end safety into his 30s, with Pro Football Focus rating him as a top-15 player at the position in each year of his current contract.

The 2021 season will be Smith’s 10th, and while the 32-year-old defender saw his five-year run of Pro Bowls cease in 2020, he matched his career high with five interceptions last season. He did so for a Vikings defense that cratered after defections and numerous injuries stripped away veterans. Minnesota let Harris walk to Philadelphia — on merely a one-year, $4MM deal — but signed ex-Dallas starter Xavier Woods and drafted Camryn Bynum in Round 4 this year.

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Vikings Discussing Extensions With Harrison Smith, Brian O’Neill

Harrison Smith recently expressed a desire to stay in Minnesota beyond the duration of his current contract, which expires after this season, but it did not sound at that point like notable extension talks had commenced. However, the sides may be prepared to come together on another agreement.

The Vikings have discussed another extension with Smith, according to SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson, who adds the talks have picked up “significantly” (h/t Sean Borman of VikingsTerritory.com). Given Anthony Harris‘ offseason departure, it would make sense for the Vikings to explore a second Smith extension. He has been one of the NFL’s better safeties for many years.

Smith signed a five-year, $51.25MM deal nearly five years ago today. That July 6, 2016 agreement, however, is no longer a top-market contract. Counting Marcus Maye and Marcus Williams‘ franchise tags, Smith’s AAV ranks 11th among safeties. The market has eclipsed $15MM per year, and seven safeties are now attached to $14MM-AAV accords. Jamal Adams‘ likely forthcoming Seahawks extension stands to raise it higher.

The 2021 season will be Smith’s 10th, and while the 32-year-old defender saw his five-year run of Pro Bowls cease in 2020, he matched his career high with five interceptions last season. He did so for a Vikings defense that cratered after defections and numerous injuries stripped away veterans. Minnesota let Harris walk to Philadelphia — on merely a one-year, $4MM deal — but signed ex-Dallas starter Xavier Woods and drafted Camryn Bynum in Round 4 this year.

Although another five-year deal is almost certainly not in the cards, Smith has remained a high-end safety into his 30s. Pro Football Focus has rated him as a top-15 player at the position in each year of his current contract. The former first-round pick will be expected to play a key role in elevating the 2021 Minnesota defense, which looks considerably better than last season’s iteration.

Additionally, Wolfson notes the Vikings and Brian O’Neill have begun extension talks. A 2018 second-round pick, O’Neill is going into a contract year. O’Neill has been a critical piece for Minnesota’s offensive line. He enters the 2021 season as that unit’s longest-tenured starter, having been a first-string right tackle in 42 games since his rookie year.

The Vikings seemingly have an open slot for an O’Neill extension, with none of their current starting O-linemen tied to notable veteran contracts. The bulk of Minnesota’s blockers are not yet eligible for extensions, putting O’Neill in an interesting spot. The team has some big-ticket deals for offensive standouts on its payroll, having added Dalvin Cook to this group last year, but also shed the Kyle Rudolph and Stefon Diggs contracts over the past year and change.

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Vikings S Harrison Smith On Contract Situation

Vikings safety Harrison Smith is entering the final year of the five-year, $51.25MM extension he signed in July 2016. There have been no public reports of contract talks between Smith and the Vikes, and reading between the lines of recent comments Smith made to reporters, it doesn’t sound like substantive discussions have taken place.

“I don’t have a solid answer for you, but obviously I’ve been here going on 10 [seasons] and would love to be here in the future,” Smith said (via Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune). “Going to look at those things and see what we can do. That’s about it right now.”

2020 was a difficult year for the Minnesota defense. The team was among the league’s worst in terms of points allowed per game and net yards per pass attempt, and Smith frequently had to cover for his less experienced teammates in the secondary. The Vikings made a concerted effort to address their deficiencies in that regard, adding veterans Patrick Peterson, Mackensie Alexander, Bashaud Breeland, and Xavier Woods to the defensive backfield.

Despite the influx of new pieces, the hope is that the full traditional offseason program of 2021 will allow those pieces to gel in a way that just wasn’t possible last year in the COVID-marred landscape. However, all of the new free agent acquisitions are working on one-year deals, and given Smith’s current status as a free agent-to-be, the Vikings could be looking at another major secondary overhaul in 2022.

An extension for Smith would help to add some stability to that outlook, but it’s not as though stability is the only thing that Smith offers. Though he is now 32 and saw his streak of five consecutive Pro Bowl nods come to an end last year, he still managed to intercept five passes, which tied a career-high mark. His tackle numbers (89 total takedowns) were in line with what they have been throughout his career, and he continues to be an advanced metrics darling, having graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 14th-best safety out of 94 qualifiers.

The safety market dipped considerably after Smith inked his big-money deal, but it is once again on the rise. Although the Notre Dame product might not get the $15MM+ AAV that currently tops the market, another typical season should put him in line for a multi-year pact with an eight-figure annual average.

Whether such a deal comes from the Vikings or another club remains to be seen. After all, Minnesota was open to trading Smith at last year’s deadline, though rival clubs were not keen to part with draft capital to acquire his services.

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Trade Rumors: Giants, Ryan, Fuller

After dealing Markus Golden to the Cardinals, it appears the 1-6 Giants have officially declared themselves sellers at this year’s trade deadline. Though GM Dave Gettleman may be reluctant to trade away veteran talent that could theoretically help Big Blue win a few games — and perhaps save Gettleman’s job in the process — players like Evan Engram, Kevin Zeitler, and Golden Tate could be available, as Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes (though Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says the club is unlikely to deal Engram).

2017 second-round DT Dalvin Tomlinson could also be on the move, per Dunleavy. Tomlinson is playing out the last year of his rookie contract, and while he has expressed interest in staying with the Giants long-term, there has been little progress in contract talks.

As we creep closer to the November 3 deadline, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league:

This Date In Transactions History: Vikings Extend Harrison Smith

In 2016, Vikings GM Rick Spielman praised Harrison Smith as “better safeties” in the NFL. Actually, Smith proved himself to be one of the best in the league at his position but, as Spielman joked, assigning him that label would have driven up the price. Four years ago today, the two sides met in the middle to tie Smith to Minnesota through the 2021 season. 

[RELATED: Latest On Dalvin Cook, Vikings]

All told, it was a five-year extension worth $51.25MM in new money with $15.278MM fully guaranteed and $28.58MM in total guarantees. At the time, the deal made Smith the highest-paid safety in the league. Smith fell short of Devin McCourty‘s $22MM watermark for full guarantees, but he was the kingpin in terms of average annual value and total value.

The metrics certainly indicated that Smith was one of the best in the league and this contract reflected it. Pro Football Focus positioned the then-27-year-old as the NFL’s No. 1 safety in 2015, despite the fact that he only played 13 games. He ranked in PFF’s top 10 for safeties in pass coverage, run defense, and pass rush grades. And, since 2012, he was the only player to post 300+ tackles (311), 5+ sacks (5.5), 10+ interceptions (12), and a 4+ interception/touchdown ratio.

Sometime after Smith’s big extension, the NFL’s safety market dipped dramatically. In 2018, teams weren’t willing to make major committments to mid-field veterans, leaving notables like Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Reid, and Tre Boston in limbo throughout the offseason. Other ill-fated deals ruined the fun for safeties, but Smith’s deal was different.

Smith has been a Pro Bowler in each of the last five seasons and he’s missed only three regular season games in the last four, under the extension. This year, he’s slated to earn $10.75MM, which puts him eighth among all safeties in 2020 comp. The Smith extension was pricey, no doubt, but it’s now an undeniably team-friendly deal. And, if his performance slips for whatever reason this year, the Vikings have an easy escape hatch – his $9.85MM base salary for 2021 is non-guaranteed. However, history suggests that he’ll continue to deliver, and the Vikings will probably start chatting with him about his next contract soon.

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NFC Rumors: DGB, E. Thomas, H. Smith

Dorial Green-Beckham, whom the Eagles acquired in a mid-August trade last year, believes Philadelphia has not seen him at his best. After all, he had to learn a new offense on the fly after the trade, and then he had to adjust to a new starting quarterback a few weeks later. But as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, DGB has an uphill battle just to make the team, let alone make a major impact. The Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency, they spent mid-round draft choices on Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson, and Jordan Matthews looks to remain with the club after being the subject of offseason trade rumors. All five of those players are roster locks, which means that Green-Beckham will battle former first-round selection Nelson Agholor — whom the Eagles have more of a commitment to from a salary and draft standpoint — for the final wide receiver spot. So, barring injury or a transcendent training camp, DGB’s days in Philadelphia could be numbered.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • Steve Wyche of NFL.com reports that Seahawks safety Earl Thomas is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken left left leg, and head coach Pete Carroll has no doubts that Thomas will be at full speed in training camp. WR Tyler Lockett, who is also recovering from a broken leg, is not as far along as Thomas, but Carroll indicated that Locket is still “on schedule.”
  • The Giants signed D.J. Fluker this offseason to help bolster an offensive line that was a major weakness last season. Fluker, whom the Chargers drafted as a tackle, shifted inside to guard over the past couple of seasons, but it was expected that he could at least compete for the Giants’ right tackle job this summer. But the Associated Press reports that Bobby Hart has manned right tackle during OTAs, which has relegated Fluker to John Jerry‘s backup at right guard.
  • The Lions recently signed former division-rival Matt Asiata to complement their running back corps, but barring an injury, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press does not see Asiata making the team. Birkett expects Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington to be the Lions’ running backs, in that order, and he does not believe there is room for a fifth RB, even without a fullback.
  • Vikings star safety Harrison Smith says his ankle is fully healed and is now a non-issue, per the Associated Press.
  • Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune reports that Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is expected to return to Minnesota today, to visit his eye doctors tomorrow, and if all goes well, he will be coaching OTAs on Tuesday (Twitter links).

NFC Rumors: Vikings, Zeke, Roseman, Cards

Harrison Smith underwent ankle surgery in February but is expected to be ready for training camp. The Vikings‘ top defensive back is ahead of schedule in his recovery from the left ankle operation, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, but the team is expected to be cautious with him this offseason. A high ankle sprain hampered Smith toward the end of last season, and although the Pro Bowl defender returned for the Vikings’ final two games after missing two in December, a corrective procedure became necessary. A source informed Tomasson that Smith opted for surgery after playing on the injured ankle in the Pro Bowl led to it “getting worse.” Smith will enter the first season of his five-year, $51.25MM contract in 2017.

Here’s more from the NFC.

  • Jerry Jones acknowledged the Ezekiel Elliott video that emerged via TMZ last month is “not good.” The video shows the Cowboys running back lowering a woman’s top on a float at a Dallas St. Patrick’s Day parade. “There is not much that I want to say other than that was unfortunate and not good,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News,” Jones said. “It wouldn’t be the right emphasis one way or the other to get into any communications or dialogue since that happened. … I wouldn’t want to say on communication, but I’m aware of the incident and I’m aware of the criticism.” Representatives of the 21-year-old Elliott expect him to be cleared of wrongdoing in a 2016 domestic violence case, but this incident adds to a growing list of off-the-field drama for the talented back.
  • The Rams did not pursue T.J. McDonald or Case Keenum in free agency, according to the Los Angeles Times. An impending eight-game suspension reduced interest in McDonald, who landed with the Dolphins. Keenum signed with the Vikings.
  • Howie Roseman‘s given more power over the Eagles‘ draft board to VP of player personnel Joe Douglas than he did previous lieutenants Ryan Grigson or Tom Gamble, Jeff McLane of Philly.com writes. “The draft is going to be really built by Joe,” Jeffrey Lurie said, via McLane, before adding “the final decision will be made by Howie.” This will be Douglas’ first draft with the Eagles after landing in Philadelphia last May. McLane writes this will take some of the prospect-evaluation burden off of Roseman.
  • The Cardinals do not look set to add any notable help at either running back or wide receiver. Bruce Arians said (via Kent Somers of AZCentral.com) the team is content with what it has there. The fifth-year Cardinals coach noted Kerwynn Williams can be the No. 2 back behind David Johnson, and the coach expects a healthier season from John Brown. Somers notes depth pieces could come via lower-round picks or UDFAs, but it appears Arizona will address other positions with its higher draft picks.
  • Tim Hightower‘s 49ers deal is a one-year agreement, according to Nick Shook of NFL.com. The former Cardinals, Redskins and Saints back will turn 31 in May.

Vikings’ Harrison Smith May Miss Rest Of Year

Vikings safety Harrison Smith will miss Sunday’s game against the Jaguars while dealing with a high ankle sprain, and the possibility exists that Harrison could miss the remainder of the season, a source tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.Harrison Smith (Vertical)

[RELATED: Minnesota Vikings Depth Chart]

Smith could need surgery at some point, but for now, team doctors will evaluate him on a weekly basis and assess his condition. Smith, who was originally injured in the Minnesota’s November 20 game against the Cardinals and has aggravated the issue in two contests since, has a grade three sprain, the most serious form of the ailment, per Tomasson. Smith could potentially return late in the regular season, but that decision will likely be affected by the Vikings’ playoff position (the club currently sits at 6-6, second place in the NFC North).

Smith, 27, is one of the premier safeties in the NFL, and was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2015. Signed to a five-year, $51.25MM extension prior to 2016 that made him the third-highest paid safety in the league, Smith has continued to produce, starting all 12 games while posting 64 tackles, two fumble recoveries, and two passes defensed. Pro Football Focus currently grades Smith as the No. 7 safety in the NFL among 89 qualifiers.

Poor injury luck has hit the Vikings harder than any other NFL club, but most of those issues have come on the offensive side of the ball, where Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson, Matt Kalil, Andre Smith, Mike Harris, Jake Long, and others have been lost for most (or all) of the season. Minnesota’s defense has been more stable, but could struggle to uphold its No. 6 DVOA ranking with Smith sidelined.

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