June 11, 2008

Hitched: Saints, Smith Go Long; $70 million/Six Years

Holdout ended as team's best defensive player gets a long-awaited, much deserved contract

The Saints and DE Will Smith, arguably the team's top defensive player, have reached agreement on a new six-year contract extension worth as much as $70 million.

The deal makes him the third-richest player in the league at his position and the richest Saint by $10 million in total contract value, surpassing QB Drew Brees' $60 million package.

A Pro Bowler in 2006 and an enforcer on the field for the Saints, Smith is a cornerstone for the defense. Consistently a producer on the field, Smith is also a key cog of the locker room social scene.

Agent Joel Segal, no stranger to the Saints and sure to be a mainstay at negotiating tables with Mickey Loomis, praised the Saints for stepping up with Smith in a deal that includes $26 million in guaranteed money. The extension technically takes effect after the 2008 season and extends through 2014.

Smith's linemate Charles Grant signed a big deal himself last offseason, worth $63 million and $20 million in guaranteed money. The pair, along with new addition Bobby McCray, give the Saints one of the most potent lineups in the league at defensive end, and also one of the most expensive. Between the three, the Saints have over $157 million in total contract value tied up, and all three are under contract at least for the next five years.

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