Harrison Smith Signs Big Extension. Is it Good for the Vikings?
Scotty Matthews wrote earlier that Harrison Smith, free safety for the Minnesota Vikings, signed a five year $51.25 million extension today. The initial report may by NFL.com's Ian Rappaort gave details on the deal's structure.
sportrac.com's valuing system, Smith is worst with a contract of five years $47.2 million deal with an average salary of $9.4 million. With what he signed for the Viking slightly overpaid but they were within a reasonable amount above that market value to make it acceptable. Compared to other contracts of past safety's to hit the open market, this deal holds up very well. Past players to sign at age 26 that Smith is right now would be Eric Weddle, Dashon Goldson, Devin McCourty, and Jarius Byrd. Weddle signed for 5 yr./$40 million, Goldson was at 5 yr./$41.25 million, then a big jump came with McCourty at 5 yr./$47.5 million and then Byrd was the highest at 6 yr./$54 million. None of those deals turned out exactly as hoped but, other than Goldson, the players who signed those deals didn't completely fall off a cliff with their production.
Is he worthy of being the highest paid safety in football? This is much trickier. To profootballfocus.com's
Josh Liskiewitz, Harrison Smith is the best safety in football, and I'm sure Vikings fans agree. Even if he doesn't get the same media attention of guys like Eric Berry, Tyrann Mathieu or Seattle's duo of Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, Smith is able to impact more parts of the game than any of these players. From his piece: "Smith is the only safety besides Philadelphia’s Malcolm Jenkins to finish in the top- 10 in both run defense and coverage last year. He is also the only safety with positive grades in all three major categories (coverage, run defense, and pass rush) in both 2014 and 2015." Although he has experienced some injury issues over his career, Smith proved his value last two season's, as noted by Liskiewitz, and proved his fight and worth of contract even more by staying on the field and fighting through knee issues which is just as valuable a stat as any other, especially in football.
How does this affect the Vikings moving forward? Moving forward this gives the Vikings a young player in his prime to anchor the defense for the next five years. This limits the Vikings ability to sign any impact free agents for next offseason but it doesn't hamper their ability to resign Adrian Peterson if still affective after the 2017 season, and Teddy Bridgwater as well. Time will tell how this turns out, but all signs point to this being a great extension and good news for the Vikings and all Vikings fans.