Fans Erupt Over New Chiefs Veteran’s Contract: ‘Seems Like a Bargain’

Getty Kansas City Chiefs fans.

When news broke on May 3 that veteran offensive tackle Donovan Smith was signing with the Kansas City Chiefs, NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported that Smith’s deal with Kansas City was for one year and worth “up to” $9 million.

Yet, the official figures for Smith’s contract are a bit different — and cheaper — than what Pelissero shared, which caused a wide range of reactions from fans.

According to Over The Cap, Smith signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Chiefs which includes $1.98 million guaranteed and a $2.76 million cap hit. The deal also includes $1.02 million in per game roster bonuses.

“The people who lost their minds since this signing can finally calm down and rest. This is the contract of someone who is purely insurance,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Seems like a bargain,” another user wrote.

“If Smith does end up starting for the Chiefs at LT which it appears they’d prefer … they got themselves a great deal for a LT,” Geoff Schwartz, brother of former Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, wrote.

“This type of deal makes much more sense,” another user wrote. “Chiefs are also protected by game day bonuses so works out for them to keep it low if he isn’t able to play. His other incentives will be interesting but all have to be NLTBE…”

Contract Brings Into Question Donovan Smith’s Role

If Donovan Smith, 30, were to earn the type of money that was originally reported in his contract on May 3, then there would be little debate as to whether he will be Kansas City’s starting left tackle for at least the start of the 2023 season. But the newly-reported figures have some folks wondering if Smith is more so a depth piece for the Chiefs’ offensive line rather than a starter.

“He’s been a left tackle at a high level,” Reid said of Smith on May 8 via Pete Sweeney of Arrowhead Pride. “Last year (2022), he was hurt. The year before that (2021), he was one of the top-graded left tackles in the league, and we’ve had a chance to play against him a couple of times. I’ve seen him firsthand there. Good football player.”

Despite what Chiefs Kingdom might think, Big Red made it clear that Smith will “probably” begin his tenure in Kansas City as a starter.

“He’ll be [on] the left side, yes,” said Reid, “Probably with the ones (first-team offense)… we would move [Jawaan Taylor] over to the right (tackle).”

After the Chiefs signed Jawaan Taylor to a four-year $80 million deal in March, Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star reported that Kansas City believes Taylor is athletic enough to make the transition to left tackle. “Will wait to see how the next few days/weeks shake out, but anticipate him on the left side,” McDowell wrote of Taylor on March 13.

Despite the previous intention to move Taylor to the opposite side of the offensive line, the Chiefs can now keep him at right tackle, where he’s more used to playing, and instead plug an eight-year NFL veteran in Smith at left tackle to replace Orlando Brown Jr.

Chiefs 2023 Free Agency Tracker

Here is a list of the players the Chiefs have signed during free agency thus far (excluding undrafted rookies), along with their contracts, according to Over The Cap:

  • OT Jawaan Taylor (4 years, $80 million)
  • DE Charles Omenihu (2 years, $20 million)
  • S Mike Edwards (1 year, $3 million)
  • LB Drue Tranquill (1 year, $5 million)
  • DT Tershawn Wharton (1 year, $2 million)
  • OL Nick Allegretti (1 year, $2.5 million)
  • OL Prince Tea Wanogho (tendered)
  • TE Jody Fortson (tendered)
  • QB Shane Buechele (tendered)
  • DT Derrick Nnadi (1 year, $1.2 million)
  • TE Blake Bell (1 year, $1.1 million)
  • DT Byron Cowart (1 year, $1.08 million)
  • DT Phil Hoskins (1 year, $940,000)
  • S Deon Bush (1 year, $1.3 million)
  • WR Richie James (1 year, $1.2 million)
  • WR Justin Watson (2 years, $3.5 million)
  • QB Blaine Gabbert (1 year, $1.1 million)
  • RB Jerick McKinnon (1 year, $1.16 million)
  • OT Donovan Smith (1 year, $3 million)
  • OT Sebastian Gutierrez
  • CB Lamar Jackson

Here are the former Chiefs players that remain free agents:

  • DE Frank Clark
  • DE Carlos Dunlap
  • DT Brandon Williams
  • LB Darius Harris
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