Smith’s extension will indeed save the Bucs cap space in 2021, with Pewter Report confirming that the veteran left tackle’s cap hit for the 2021 season will land at just $3.6 million. Originally drafted in the second round in 2015, Smith’s play has steadily improved throughout his career, peaking with a career-high 72.1 offensive grade from Pro Football Focus in 2020. Per PFF, Smith allowed six sacks, eight quarterback hits, 21 hurries and 35 total pressures in quarterback Tom Brady’s first year with the Bucs. Smith even improved as the 2020 season progressed, giving up five of his six sacks on the year prior to the Bucs’ Bye Week in Week 13.
While it may not be the long-term deal that Smith will ultimately want as the salary cap rises, along with the market for left tackles in the coming years, the extension puts him at an annual average value of $15.9 million, the sixth-highest AAV for a left tackle contract in the league behind Tennessee’s Taylor Lewan. It also ensures that Tampa Bay will be set at left tackle for the next two years as Brady remains under contract through the 2022 season following the recent extension of his own.
Heading into the final year of a three-year, $41.25 million extension signed in 2021, Smith was due to make $14.25 million as the 13th-highest paid left tackle league-wide.