Tuesday, June 18, 2024

What would a DeVonta Smith contract extension look like? How will it impact A.J. Brown’s future with Eagles?

Contract extensions have been the norm for the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. Landon Dickerson and Jordan Mailata have received massive extensions from the Eagles, solidifying the future of the offensive line for years to come. 

DeVonta Smith may be next, as the Eagles and their two-time 1,000-yard wide receiver are in talks for a contract extension for the 2021 first-round pick. Smith has a year left on his rookie contract and a fifth-year option that will be exercised in May, so there’s plenty of time to get a deal done between both sides. 

What will a Smith extension look like and how will it impact the Eagles’ future at wide receiver? A massive part of the Eagles offense, Philadelphia will make sure Smith catches passes for the Eagles well into the next decade. 

Smith’s numbers against his peers

Smith has 240 catches for 3,178 yards and 19 touchdowns in his three NFL seasons, two of which he’s been the No. 2 wide receiver to A.J. Brown (who has the two highest single-season receiving yards totals in franchise history). Smith is 18th in receptions, 17th in receiving yards and 21st in receiving touchdowns over the last three seasons. He’s fourth in the 2021 draft class in receptions, receiving yards and third in touchdowns. 

In Eagles franchise history, Smith has the most catches and receiving yards for any player in their first three seasons in the league. He’s tied for fourth in touchdown catches, while joining DeSean Jackson and Mike Quick as the only wideouts to have two 1,000-yard seasons within their first three years in the league. 

Smith is off to the greatest start for an Eagles wide receiver in franchise history. 

Wide receiver contracts for 2020 and 2021 draft class

No player from the 2020 or 2021 draft class has been signed to a contract extension yet, but that should change soon. Justin Jefferson is in line to become the highest-paid wide receiver in football, while CeeDee Lamb and Brandon Aiyuk are both set to enter fifth-year options. These are the top wideouts from the 2020 class and neither have signed a long-term extension. 

The lack of long-term deals from the 2020 class have affected the 2021 class of Ja’Marr Chase, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jaylen Waddle and Smith — all of who are waiting out extensions. 

Smith could be the first to sign — and set the market for the other wideouts. 

Highest-paid wide receivers in NFL

Tyreek Hill makes the most money among wide receivers in terms of average annual salary at $30 million per season, followed by Davante Adams ($28 million), Cooper Kupp ($26.7 million), A.J. Brown ($25 million), and DK Metcalf ($24 million). 

What could a Smith deal look like? 

Will Smith receive more than his own teammate (Brown)? The Eagles would have to pay Smith more than $25 million a season, making him a top-five highest-paid wideout in the NFL. The deal would be a bargain with Jefferson, Lamb, Aiyuk, Chase, St. Brown, and Waddle due up for extensions — as all could surpass $25 million and actually put Smith among the top-15 highest-paid wide receivers when all is said and done. 

Michael Pittman received $23.3 million this offseason, while Calvin Ridley earned $23 million. Tee Higgins is on a franchise tag at $21.816 million and Stefon Diggs is in the final year of his deal at $22.52 million. 

The Eagles and Smith could reach a happy medium between $23.31 million and $25 million at this point, but that could soon change. 

Will a Smith extension impact A.J. Brown?

If Smith would happen to receive more than $25 million per year, that would be a higher average annual salary than Brown — who is third in receiving yards (2,952) and sixth in receiving touchdowns (18) over the last two seasons. Brown is also first in yards per catch (15.2) among players with 175+ catches. 

Brown still has three years left on his current four-year, $100 million deal — but no guaranteed salary after this year ($21 million guaranteed salary after 2024). Whether Smith gets an extension or not, the Eagles may have to make a decision on Brown’s contract and whether to create more guaranteed money for him for 2025 and 2026. 

Next season likely isn’t Brown’s last with the Eagles, but the franchise will have to alter his contract for the 2025 season and beyond. That decision will have to be made regardless of a Smith extension, which is coming. 

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