Breaking down Steve Smith's deal

I just got the complete details on the contract extension receiver Steve Smith signed with the Panthers on Tuesday and they’re very interesting on several levels. It’s a three-year deal with the team holding an option for the fourth year and could be worth as much as $37.8 million.

The deal includes $16.8 million in guaranteed money. Smith received a $10 million signing bonus and comes out way ahead on what he’ll earn in 2012. In addition to the signing bonus, he’ll also earn $1 million in base salary. Smith had been scheduled to earn $7.75 million in the final year of his contract. The new deal gives Smith more money, but he also frees up significant salary-cap room for the Panthers, who had less than $500,000 available before this deal.

Smith had been scheduled to count $10.7 million against the cap this year, but the new deal drops that figure to $5.96 million.

In 2013, Smith’s base salary will rise to $3.75 million and that’s guaranteed. Smith also will earn a guaranteed $4 million in base salary in 2014. That’s also the year he can collect a $3 million bonus if the Panthers elect to pick up his option for 2016.

In 2015, Smith is scheduled to make $7 million in base salary. If he gets to the option year, his base salary will rise to $9 million.