St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Jason Smith agreed to restructure his contract this week, a league source confirmed on Saturday.
Signed to a five-year, $54 million contract as the No. 2 overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, Smith had been scheduled to earn $10 million in base salary in 2012 and $12 million in base salary 2013, with 2014 being a voidable year.
Under the restructure, Smith's base salary in 2012 has been reduced to a fully guaranteed $4 million and he will also receive a $500,000 roster bonus, a pay cut of $5.5 million for this season. The 2014 season season has been deleted, so the $3.2675 million in option bonus proration has been accelerated onto the Rams' 2012 cap.
Despite that acceleration, Smith's 2012 cap number will go from $13.2675 million to $11.035 million, a reduction of $2.2325 million.
The 2013 season of Smith's contract, which is now voidable, has also been restructured. The $12 million base salary has been replaced with a $750,000 base salary and a $11.25 million roster bonus, a reflection of how critical a season 2012 is to Smith's long-term future with the Rams.
Drafted to man the left tackle position, Smith's rookie season was cut short by a concussion. While Smith started 15 games in 2010, he lost the left tackle spot to that year's second round pick, Rodger Saffold. Smith started the first five games in 2011 before landing on injured reserve with another major concussion.
Smith is expected to remain at right tackle and Rams offensive line coach Paul Boudreau is looking to improve his technique.
"I'm trying to show him some patience," Boudreau said according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "And trying to get him to use
his hands more than leaning into blocks. Just trying to slow him down.
Trying to make the game slower by using good technique as opposed to
going out and killing every guy you play.
"Because when he goes out there, if he hits (the
defender), he hits him. But if he misses, it's a dead shot on the
quarterback. So we're trying to get him to think a little bit more about
his balance and his base, and where he is at the collision point. And
not always try to go out and try to knock a guy out. Just block a guy.
Don't knock him out."
If Smith plays well and remains healthy in 2012, he'll be eligible to cash in as a free agent next off-season.