FRISCO - The NFL commissioner's office has allowed Aldon Smith back into the NFL. And the Dallas Cowboys' slight "risk/reward'' just got rewarded.
As always, especially when it is the agent who leaks news of a client’s new contract, the insta-tweets scream out the biggest, fattest, roundest numbers. That’s often the involved reporter’s payback to the agent for handing over the info; almost everybody - player, agent and report - comes out smelling sweet.
And then, a week or a day or an hour later, the media digging continues, and the broad strokes in those original insta-tweets are thinned and refined.
The numbers look less chubby. And in many cases, the check-writing team looks less generous. And less foolish.
Which brings us to new Dallas Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith’s contract. A handful of media folks seemingly got the same text at about the same time on Wednesday evening: “It’s one year and $4 million.”
But of course now we know that it’s not. Not any of that. Not necessarily any of those zeroes. Here's what we have learned is the dollar-by-dollar breakdown on a gifted pass-rusher with a frightening off-the-field history who, it is hoped (for his sake far more than for the football team's), is as "clean and sober'' as supporters claim:
Guarantees: $95,000 - but that's only IF Smith, who is presently on NFL suspension, is reinstated.
Training camp installments: $100,000 + 100,000 + 100,000 paid over the course of the month at camp, based on his presence.
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Regular-season weekly active bonus = $650,000 total. ($40,625 x 16 weeks.)
8 sacks = $500,000.
10 sacks = $1 million.
12 sacks = $1.5 million.
14 sacks = $2 million.
The grand total of all those "if's,'' should Smith achieve them for the 2020 Cowboys? It's $4 million.But the locked-in guarantees? The "for-sure's''? Those total zero.
The Cowboys (led by an owner in Jerry Jones who embraces the concept of the "second chance'') are likely optimistic about reinstatement, and will happily pay that first paltry $95,000 if it happens here in the next 60 days or so. And they'll pay every dollar along the way, because that will be the result of a healthy and productive Aldon Smith, who in his first two years of NFL games, a decade ago, recorded 33.5 sacks. They'll do that happily, too.
But in the event of an unhappy ending here? All the bluster and the insta-tweets and the fat numbers will add up to ... not lots of zeroes. Jut one zero.