Jun 11th 2008 3:05PM by Tom Mantzouranis (author feed)
Filed under: Saints, NFC South, New OrleansIt was exactly a week ago today that I guessed that the Saints would announce a contract extension for defensive end Will Smith before the week ended. I was a few days late on that prediction, but I won’t let that stop me from giving myself dap (do the kids still say that?) in noting that the deal was announced today. And Smith is a very rich man.
The extension calls for Smith to earn up to $70 million over six years, with $26 million in guaranteed money. The deal places him third on the list of highest-paid ends behind Jared Allen and Dwight Freeney, but Smith’s deal isn’t far behind either of those two. It also trumps the seven-year, $63 million deal with $20 million that linemate Charles Grant got a summer ago. So was it worth it?
Well, who knows. Smith was on his way to being a premiere pass-rusher before fattening up and playing poorly last year. New line coach Ed Orgeron is trying to install a scheme much like the Giants’ (who isn’t?), which relies on lighter, faster linemen, so Smith will have the opportunity to remind everyone that he’s got the ability. Whether he takes advantage remains to be seen.
Either way, from a talent, PR, and chemistry standpoint the Saints couldn’t afford to see Smith walk after this year, and they had/have plenty of cap room. But with the money tied in its ends, the team will be hearing some deserved scorn from its fanbase if they’re not a terror for quarterbacks.