The New England Patriots have always been known for their smart offseason moves. One of the biggest acquisitions this year has been wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster, previously part of the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs, signed a three-year, $25.5 million contract with the Patriots, bringing a wealth of experience and leadership to the team.
The 26-year-old receiver’s contract is structured to balance salary and incentives, demonstrating the Patriots’ savvy approach to team-building. In 2023, Smith-Schuster is set to earn a base salary of $1.1 million alongside a hefty signing bonus of $7.9 million. His cap hit for this year is projected at $4.67M while a dead cap value sits at $16 million.
On top of his salary, Smith-Schuster could net additional earnings through performance incentives. If he achieves 950 receiving yards or 1,110 receiving yards in the 2023 season, he stands to gain an extra $750,000 for each milestone.
In 2024, Smith-Schuster’s base salary will increase to $7 million, with a signing bonus of $2,633,333, and a roster/game bonus of $1 million. His cap hit is estimated at $10.63M, and a dead cap value of $12.266M. The incentives for this year are even more substantial: $1 million each for 800, 950, and 1,110 receiving yards.
By 2025, his base salary will rise to $6.5 million, along with a signing bonus of $2,633,334 and a roster/game bonus of $1 million. The cap hit will be $10,133,334, with a lower dead cap value of $2,633,334. The same set of incentives from the previous year will be in play.
Although the contract seems extensive, it also includes a potential out in 2025. The Patriots could choose to cut ties after two years, having paid $18,000,000, with a $2,633,334 dead cap.
The Patriots are taking a cautious approach with Smith-Schuster, who is coming off an injury-riddled season. He didn’t participate in the first minicamp practice and has yet to take the field with his new team.
Despite his absence from the practice field, Smith-Schuster has already made a significant impact off the field. Both Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Mac Jones have praised Smith-Schuster’s leadership and experience.