While Za'Darius Smith can earn up to $47 million over his three-year contract with the Vikings, it's really a pay-as-you-go structure for his new team.
Smith got $6.45 million guaranteed at signing and can earn an additional $3 million in per-game roster bonuses — or $176,470 for each time he's active in the regular season, according to Over The Cap. He received an additional $5.05 million guaranteed for injury, which becomes fully guaranteed if he's rostered on the third day of the 2023 league year next March. Smith's initial salary cap hit is about $3.3 million this season.
The Vikings could theoretically move on from Smith, if healthy, after one season and up to $9.5 million (including a $50,000 workout bonus). But if Smith is healthy and plays every game, the Vikings likely wouldn't be looking to ditch one of the NFL's best pass rushers.
Smith's cash flow increases each year with a $9.45 million base salary in 2023 ($14.1 million cap hit) and a $14.45 million base salary in 2024 ($21.6 million cap hit). He can earn up to $3 million in per-game roster bonuses in all three seasons. He can add an additional $5 million through incentives over the life of the deal.
Smith, 29, was very durable before last year's back injury, which he described as a bulging disc suffered in the weight room. He was active for 57 straight games, including the playoffs, for the Packers and Ravens before undergoing September back surgery. After signing the deal on Tuesday, Smith said he was motivated to reunite with two of his former Packers coaches and had a good feeling after his visit to the Vikings' headquarters.
"Coming into the building, it just felt like family," Smith said. "I already have two coaches here – Mike [Smith] and [Mike] Pettine. It just felt like home to me. Walking in, the cafeteria – the people in the cafeteria – from the GM himself, the head coach. Just everybody – they came in with open arms, and I love it. That's what made me go with the Minnesota Vikings."