Jun 4th 2008 12:54PM by Tom Mantzouranis (author feed)
Filed under: Saints, NFC South, New OrleansI noted that Will Smith’s attendance at last weekend’s minicamp was a good sign that he and the team are close to finalizing a contract extension, or at least negotiating in good faith.
I now am optimistic that a formal announcement will come sometime this week, perhaps even later today. Smith reported on WWL radio last night that he didn’t have any good news to report on the contract front but that he might in the near future. Likewise, Sean Payton, in response to a question about whether Smith’s contract had been “sorted out,” said, “…when the time comes there will be an announcement,” indicating it’s more about the when than the if.
The subject of the extension is a divisive one. After getting $63 million last offseason, Charles Grant practically disappeared. Smith will surely command even more, especially with big money deals to Dwight Freeney and Jared Allen since. Smith’s a very good player, but it remains to be seen whether he deserves the top-tier pay he will surely get.
On the other hand, he is the team’s best defensive player and you can’t let a guy like that walk when you’re close to rebuilding that unit. The Saints are also around $25 million under the cap, which gives them plenty of room to sign all of their rookies and lock up Smith (and Marques Colston). So the money’s there.
Either way, whether you’re in favor of the extension or not, it’s happening. And probably soon.