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Chiefs amend JuJu Smith-Schuster’s contract, increasing 2022 bonuses

Kansas City has sweetened the wideout’s incentives — but at a very low cost in 2022.

Kansas City Chiefs v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

On Friday, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Kansas City Chiefs have amended their deal with former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The adjusted contract raised his old $30,000 per-game roster bonus to $60,000, giving him the opportunity to earn up to $510,000 more ($30,000 times 17 games) in the coming season.

But unmentioned in Yates’ report is the fact Kansas City can make this move at a very small cost to the team’s salary cap. This is because Smith-Schuster only played in five Steelers games in 2021, meaning that this year’s salary-cap impact for a per-game roster bonus only counts for five games. In salary-cap calculations, the rest is considered as not-likely-to-earned (NLTBE). Any NLTBE money that is earned in 2022 will count against Kansas City’s salary cap in 2023.

For example: If Smith-Schuster is on the active roster for 10 games in 2022, he will be paid a $60,000 roster bonus for every one of them. But in 2022, just five of those bonuses will count against the cap; the rest will be counted against the team’s 2023 salary cap.

So while the Chiefs have given Smith-Schuster (who is now injured) 510,000 more reasons to get (and stay) healthy, just 150,000 of them will count against the team’s 2022 cap. The other 360,000 will be counted against the cap in 2023.

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