DeVonta Smith could be next in line for a big payday

Eagles devonta smith
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 03: Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Devonta Smith (6) sets up for a play in the first half during the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on October 03, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

DeVonta Smith is just one of several Eagles who could be in line for a big payday sooner than you might think.

There’s never a dull day down at the NovaCare Complex. Howie Roseman is constantly looking for ways to not only improve his team, but maintain its current structure. The Eagles have become synonymous with contract extensions that look like they’ve been crafted by Harry Potter himself and while there are no immediate moves that need to be made, Roseman is always looking to leapfrog the rest of the league.

DeVonta Smith has been a breath of fresh air in Philadelphia

DeVonta Smith has only spent two seasons in Philadelphia and is already one of the best decisions Howie Roseman has made. The Slim Reaper broke the team’s rookie receiving record before going on to record 1,196 yards in his second year while sharing targets with A.J Brown.

The Eagles selected Smitty with the 10th overall pick in 2021, which means he does have a fifth-year option that can be exercised after the 2024 season. However, the team would be wise to try and lock in an extension before then.

Why would the Eagles pay DeVonta Smith so soon?

For starters, the Eagles have an ‘opt-out’ clause in A.J Brown’s contract after the 2024 season. His cap number jumps to $25M if the Eagles stick with him (the most likely option), but even then his contract is likely going to need reworking. If the Eagles are also juggling with trying to not pay Smitty for as long as possible, it could lead to some tough decisions.

The Alabama product also spoke to VRST (hat tip Fox News) and made his intentions to follow in the footsteps of Jalen’s Hurts very clear.

“You want to definitely go out there and make myself more valuable. Raise the stock is what I say,”

DeVonta Smith isn’t the only young wideout on the brink of a big payday

We probably won’t see a contract extension until 2024, but Smitty is already proving himself as one of the best route-runners and most efficient receivers in the entire league. If that price keeps rising, he’s going to be searching for an extension at around the same time as Jaylen Waddle, Darius Slayton, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Kadarius Toney, and of course, Justin Jefferson. The price for a star wide receiver is likely only going to increase so long as the aforementioned names continue to shine, and DeVonta Smith is absolutely deserving of a spot on that list.

Eagles devonta smith
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 19: Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (6) runs a route in the first half during the game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles on August 19, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

With a flurry of elite wideouts all destined for a payday at around the same time, it would hardly be surprising to see Howie Roseman lock in one of the most gifted receivers the Eagles have seen in decades, long before that day comes.

When will the Eagles pay DeVonta Smith?

Howie Roseman has proven time and time again that jumping the market to pay a player is better than watching other stars get paid and then having to overpay. He did it with Jalen Hurts, Carson Wentz, and even names like Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Jenkins.

As far as when the Eagles will pull the trigger on an extension, it’s tough to say. As of right now, he’s the 47th highest-paid receiver in the NFL and ranked 11th in receiving last year. That is some serious value on the table and it’s likely only going to increase over the next couple of years.

The risk in not paying DeVonta Smith after 2023 is that if he continues his upward trajectory as many expect, the price will go up. And if a team like Minnesota lobs the kitchen sink to keep Justin Jefferson in town well before the end of this season, with negotiations reportedly already taking place, it will go up again. The domino effect it will have on players like Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb is obvious, and the Eagles can’t afford to fall behind in this race. Not with the escalating cap-hit of Jalen Hurts and a reworked deal for A.J Brown.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Smitty paid after 2023, especially if he balls out once again. It’s scary to think that a receiver’s third year in the league could be the most important of his career, but there’s a lot riding on this for both sides.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire