Kansas City was the epicenter of the latest blockbuster in the NFL as the Chiefs traded away star receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins for an assortment of draft picks on Wednesday. This stunner now leaves a massive hole in the K.C. offense as Hill was the club’s leading pass-catcher across all the major categories. Given how much of a key piece Hill was to this unit, it’ll likely be more than a single plug-and-play receiver that fills his shoes. That said, the newest Chiefs wideout in JuJu Smith-Schuster has plenty to gain from this latest transaction.
Earlier this offseason, the former Steelers receiver reached an agreement on a reported one-year, $10.75 million deal with Kansas City. As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports, however, the deal is really a one-year, $3.25 million contract with a boatload of incentives that could earn Smith-Schuster another $7.5 million. With Hill now out of the picture, the 25-year-old is currently the de facto No. 1 receiver, which means those incentives could be much easier to achieve.
As Florio details, Smith-Schuster will earn $500,000 if he reaches 40 receptions. With at least 50 receptions, that number jumps to $1 million. With 65 grabs, he maxes out at $1.5 million. The same structure is in place for receiving yards. He’ll get $500,000 for at least 500 receiving yards, and it’ll boost to $1 million if he gets to 650 yards. He’ll earn the full $1.5 million of those incentives if he hauls in at least 900 yards.
If he plays 45% of the offensive snaps, he’ll receive another $500,000. By playing at least 65% of the offensive snaps, Smith-Schuster will earn $1.5 million. A Pro Bowl appearance also fetches him another $1 million.
Under a scenario where he maxes out on all those incentives and reaches the Pro Bowl for the second time of his career, Smith-Schuster is looking at $5.5 million. The remaining $2 million in incentives is a blend of maxing out on those reception and receiving statistics combined with the performance by the Chiefs this coming season (AFC Championship win paired with playing time; Super Bowl win paired with playing time, etc.).
While this was always going to be the case for Smith-Schuster this season, it takes on greater meaning with Hill traded away to the Dolphins. He leaves behind 159 targets, 111 receptions, and 1,239 yards, which will need to be gobbled up in some form or fashion. As things stand, Smith-Schuster is in line to adopt a large chunk of those looks from Patrick Mahomes, and it could prove to be a financial win for the receiver, despite his new club now down one of its greatest pass-catchers. Not only could Smith-Schuster stand to benefit with Hill gone this season, but if he reaches those max numbers, he could look to cash in when he hits free agency in 2023 as well.