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Smith stuck waiting for new contract thanks to 5th-year option

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Harrison Smith is already widely recognized as one of the best safeties in the NFL but he's getting paid like a borderline starter.

There are 50 safeties getting paid a more lucrative average annual salary than the $1.8 Smith is making on his rookie contract from 2011, the Star Tribune reports.

“Nothing is going on,” Smith said of contract talks with the Vikings, according to the newspaper. “As far as what my agents have told me and what I’ve talked to [General Manager] Rick [Spielman] about is we’re going to hold off on those and focus on playing good football and go from there.”

The Vikings have no pressure to act on signing Smith to a new contract until the season is over thanks to the fifth-year option they exercised on Smith. First-round draft picks are subject to the fifth-year option while players selected in later rounds are not.

Basically, the option allows the Vikings to wait to pay big money to Smith until they're sure he'll finish his fourth season in the NFL healthy. But if Smith gets hurt, he could be out of luck, Pro Football Talk notes.

Smith's fifth-year option, worth $5.3 million, is only guaranteed if he suffers a career-ending injury.

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