Inside the JuJu Smith-Schuster incentive package
It was sold as a one-year, $10.75 million deal. As we’ve known for nearly a week, it’s not.
Chiefs receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Chiefs. The deal includes an incentive package that can result in another $7.5 million.
With Tyreek Hill traded, those incentives become far more relevant. We’ve obtained the full details, from a source with knowledge of the agreement.
For at least 40 receptions, Smith-Schuster gets another $500,000. For at least 50 receptions, that number becomes $1 million. At 65 receptions, it maxes out at $1.5 million.
For at least 500 receiving yards, he gets another $500,000. For at least 650 receiving yards, it becomes $1 million. At 900 yards, the amount reaches the limit of $1.5 million.
For 45-percent playing time, he gets another $500,000. For 65-percent playing time, it becomes $1.5 million.
For making it to the Pro Bowl, Smith-Schuster earns another $1 million.
The final $2 million combines individual and team performance. If Smith-Schuster plays in at least 50-percent of the AFC Championship and if the Chiefs win the game, he gets another $500,000 for 65 regular-season receptions and another $500,000 for 900 regular-season receiving yards. If Smith-Schuster plays in at least 50-percent of the Super Bowl and if the Chiefs win, he gets another $500,000 for 65 regular-season receptions and another $500,000 for 900 regular-season receiving yards.
The absence of Hill changes the calculus for Smith-Schuster. He’s likely to play more, and possibly to get more targets. But he’s also more likely to enjoy unfavorable matchups, given that defenses won’t be focused on stopping both Hill and tight end Travis Kelce.
Here’s the real question. What did the Chiefs and Smith-Schuster know and when did he know it regarding a potential Tyreek Hill trade when Smith-Schuster signed with the Chiefs? Smith-Schuster agreed to terms a day after the trade that sent Davante Adams to the Raiders. And, as agent Drew Rosenhaus said on Thursday, the Adams trade changed everything.
So did the Chiefs know they’d be losing Hill when they persuaded Smith-Schuster to accept a base package of only $3.25 million ($1.455 million signing bonus, $1.035 million salary, $250,000 workout bonus, and $510,000 in per-game roster bonuses)? Did Smith-Schuster know?
If the answer to the first question is yes and the answer to the second question is no, Smith-Schuster may have been able to get more than $3.25 million in base pay, since he would have known that the Chiefs had an enhanced need at the position.
Regardless, Smith-Schuster’s experience with the Chiefs will be dramatically different without Hill than it would have been with Hill. It’s entirely possible that Smith-Schuster had no idea Hill would be gone less than a week after JuJu signed his name to a contract.