Chiefs 3-Year Starter One of Top Paid NFL Players Based on Performance

Getty Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Trey Smith.

The NFL’s Performance-Based Pay program has announced its payouts for the 2023 season, and Kansas City Chiefs starting right guard Trey Smith was one of the top earners from the program.

Smith earned a total of $865,484 from the program, which ranks seventh among all players for the 2023 season.

The program is “created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based upon a comparison of playing time to salary. Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down.”

Smith, who is entering his fourth season as Kansas City’s full-time starter at right guard, played 96% of the team’s offensive snaps last season, according to Pro Football Reference. With those snaps, he allowed 34 total quarterback pressures (27 hurries, 5 hits 2 sacks), per PFF.

Trey Smith and Creed Humphrey Are Eligible for New Deals Next Offseason

Both Smith and starting center Creed Humphrey — who was also drafted in 2021 — will be free agents in 2025. That means the Chiefs could offer them new deals between now and the start of the 2025 league year, otherwise, those two players can test free agency next offseason.

Whether it’s from Kansas City or another team, both Humphrey and Smith deserve big paydays. Humphrey is arguably the best center in the NFL now that Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Kelce has retired, and Smith is a reliable starting guard.

The top-paid center in the NFL currently based on total contract value is Los Angeles Chargers’ Corey Linsley, who signed a five-year, $62.5 million contract in 2021, according to Over The Cap. The highest-paid center based on guarantees is Detroit Lions’ Frank Ragnow, who earned $42 million in guarantees from his four-year, $54 million contract that he signed in 2021.

The highest-paid guard in the NFL based on total contract value is Atlanta Falcons’ Chris Lindstrom, who signed a five-year, $105.2 million extension in 2023 which includes $62.7 million in guarantees. The highest-paid guard based on total guarantees is Carolina Panthers’ Robert Hunt, who signed a five-year, $100 million deal this offseason, which includes $63 million in guarantees.

Chiefs Have to Make Decision on Joe Thuney’s Future

Another player who will be eligible for a big payday in 2025 is Chiefs All-Pro left guard Joe Thuney.

Thuney, 32, is entering the final year of his five-year, $80 million deal with the Chiefs. He has earned every penny of his contract by being reliable, versatile, and an elite starting offensive lineman during his time in Kansas City. But that doesn’t guarantee him a big payday from the Chiefs in 2025.

Nowadays, high-caliber offensive lineman are capable of playing well into their 30s. So, Thuney — a two-time All-Pro during his time in Kansas City — deserves to get another multi-year deal once his current contract expires. But with Humphrey and Smith eligible for new deals next offseason as well, the Chiefs will have too many mouths to feed, and Thuney might be the odd man out due to him being eight years older than Humphrey (24) and Smith (24).

Time will tell how Kansas City’s front office will handle that situation. But if there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that one of Humphrey, Smith, or Thuney won’t be playing for the two-time defending Super Bowl champions in 2025.

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