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This Whole Smith Deal Is Odd

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Is this relationship ready for the next step?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panther
You take my breath away....
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Did you ever have a girlfriend/boyfriend that you’d been with for a while - let’s say three years minimum - but you weren’t quite sure if you wanted to take the next step in the relationship?

Whether it be moving in together, getting engaged, actually going through with an engagement etc - it’s a decision you just weren’t sure of.

The reasons for the uneasy feeling could be anything, but the fact of the matter is you just didn’t know.

Well, that’s kind of how it feels with Donovan Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Smith signed a three-year, $41.25 million dollar deal with the Bucs this week. $27 million of that was guaranteed, but Tampa Bay could opt out of the deal and cut Smith after year two without penalty.

It’s like he is the fiancee that still stays out late without answering her phone at one in the morning and the Bucs are the guy that checks his fiancee’s phone and web browser everyday. One is always up and down, rearing an unsure feeling and the other is always watching, always suspicious of what the other is doing.

When the contract details were released today, things became stranger. $5 million of Smith’s 2019 salary is deferred until June 2020, yet he will still count $12.5 million against the cap.

And more of his salary is also deferred until later as well.

I’m not an idiot. I get the fact that this really doesn’t mean anything financially, so shove your “hey dumb ginger, the deferred money is just contract language - it doesn’t mean anything” comments exactly where you know to put them.

Obviously, Tampa Bay will still have to pay him the money regardless if he’s on the roster, but I’m sure this is how the conversation went between Jason Licht and Smith:

Licht: Ok, Donovan, we’ve got ya, man. $27 million guaranteed in the first two years and $12.5 million coming your way in 2019, bud!

Smith: $12.5 million?!?

Licht: But $5 million of it is coming in 2020. I promise. I prrrroooommiiiissseeee.

Smith: You promise?

Licht: Pinky-swear.

Smith: Deal.

Licht: Aaannnnddd $3 million of your $14.5 million salary in 2020 will come in 2021.

Smith: You promise?

Licht: Double pinky-swear.

Smith: Double-deal.

That, my friends, is the blueprint to getting a NFL deal done. I mean, it’s top-notch negotiating and I’m sure it went e x a c t l y how I just spelt it out.

But the whole situation just seems like a non-stop staring contest. Who will blink first? Probably the guy facing down elite defensive ends every Sunday, but for Jameis Winston’s sake, let’s hope not.

And let’s also hope these two lovebirds can find the happy ending that is meant to be.