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Jets' Tyron Smith Contract Details Revealed: Incentives, Guaranteed?

The New York Jets made the crucial addition of left tackle Tyron Smith in free agency. The details of his contract make the signing even more of a win.

Signing a future Hall of Fame left tackle that is still playing at a high level is almost a good idea. Singing him to a below-market-rate deal can elevate that transaction from good to great.

In a league where the salary cap governs the league and surplus value remains elusive, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas has struck what looks to be the best value signing of his tenure.

On Monday, former Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith signed the dotted line, making him Aaron Rodgers’ protector on the blindside.

Jets - Tyron Smith contract

Smith’s contract has a maximum value of one year and $20 million, but only $6.5 million is guaranteed.

This is largely subsequent to Smith’s age and injury history that has rendered him one of the game’s elite part-time performers. He hasn’t played a full season since 2015, and has missed double-digit games in two of the last four seasons. Smith appeared in 13 games this past season.

Thus, there’s a reason for Smith’s discount, but he’ll have the opportunity to multiply his earnings through playing-time incentives.

Smith’s contract has two separate playing-time incentives, the first of which can earn him up to $5.75 million for playing 68 percent of offensive snaps. The second would task Smith with playing a vast majority of the team’s snaps, starting at 74 percent, and can earn him another $6.25 million if he plays 98 percent of New York’s offensive snaps.

The Jets are betting on his talent, and Smith is betting on himself to stay healthy. Both would be happy to see him earn as many of those incentives as possible.

There are also incentives for playoff wins ($250,000 per) and a $500,000 Pro Bowl bonus.

In all, Smith’s cap charge takes his guaranteed money and his “likely to be earned” incentives (the initial $5.75 million) to create a $12.25 million cap charge, per Over the Cap. Simply put, that is outstandingly affordable and keeps the Jets flexible as free agency rolls on.

Douglas successfully manufactured a new offensive line and did so without spending recklessly, opening the door for the Jets to pivot both in free agency and the NFL Draft, whether that means addressing the holes at receiver, trading down, or taking a succession plan at tackle.

New York’s roster isn’t finished, but acquiring Smith and doing so in such a cost-effective manner should have fans excited for what the rest of the offseason may provide.