Donovan Smith Contract: How Did Tampa Do?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to resign offensive lineman Donovan Smith this off-season. They could have placed the franchise tag on him, but resigning him made more sense for the organization. This caused mixed feelings from the Buccaneers faithful. Donovan Smith has not been the most consistent lineman during his tenure in Tampa, but compared to other NFL lineman I believe this may have been a steal.
Smith is 25 years old and hitting the prime of his NFL career. Smith has been incredibly durable, never missing a game in four seasons in Tampa. Also, he has 24 total penalties in four seasons. He faces some of the best pass rushers in the league and only averages six penalties per season, that is incredible if you think about it. He has built a relationship with quarterback Jameis Winston and has improved each season. This comes with a different coaching staff again for the Buccaneers. Smith signed a 3-year deal worth $41.5 million. This breaks down to $13.75 million per season. He will be a UFA in 2022.
Top tier lineman in the NFL that just signed new contracts was: Taylor Lewan (5 years/ $80 million), Nate Solder ( 4 years/ $62 million), Jake Matthews ( 5 years/ $72.5 million), and Zach Martin (6 years/ $84 million). Every player on this list is older than Donovan Smith. They will also be making more money per season than Smith. Every fan can argue that these players are better than Smith, but if the Buccaneers would’ve let him hit free agency teams would have pounced on the opportunity to get Smith.
As I stated previously Smith is due about $13.75 million per season. The way the contract breaks down though is $5 million of the 2019 salary will be deferred to 2020. $3 million will be deferred until the 2021 season. So that being said Donovan Smith cut the Buccaneers a deal in my opinion. Lewan ($16M/year), Solder ($15.5M/year), Matthews ($14.5M/year), and Martin ($14M/year). By the way, Nate Solder is 30 years old and has an immense amount of wear and tear on the body.
This is a move the Buccaneers needed to make. Donovan Smith is a well-respected member of the Buccaneers and around the NFL. Tampa Bay may have even got a little bit of a discount with the young offensive lineman. Not everyone will be satisfied with the deal, but I for one can’t believe we signed an offensive lineman that’s 25 years old for that kind of deal. Great job by Jason Licht, Bruce Arians, and everyone else involved. We can’t wait to see the continued development of Donovan in the years to come.