|Smith reporting to Saints minicamp|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 29 May 2008 13:44|
``Obviously, Will wants a new contract and hopefully that will get taken care of in due time, but first and foremost, he told me he wants to be there today and not miss the mandatory camp,'' said Smith's agent, Joel Segal. ``He wants to be with his teammates and pursue the goal of the Saints winning a Super Bowl.''
The Saints are practicing from Friday through Sunday. Their reporting deadline was Thursday evening.
Smith, who received about $20 million in bonuses when he signed as a first-round draft choice out of Ohio State in 2004, should earn between $1.8 million and $3 million next season, depending on how many performance incentives he hits.
Smith made the Pro Bowl in 2006 and his seven sacks in 2007 led the Saints. He also was among the team leaders in tackles with 66.
However, his salary is far below that of other top defensive ends in the league such as the Indianapolis Colts' Dwight Freeney, who's paid close to $12 million a year.
The Saints also set a precedent last year when they signed defensive end Charles Grant to a seven-year extension that would be worth as much as $63 million if he reaches all of his incentives.
Smith has arguably outperformed Grant in recent years. Smith has had 26 sacks in the past three seasons combined, compared to 11 for Grant, who has played two more seasons than Smith in the NFL.
Wide receiver Marques Colston may also be in for a major extension before long, though he has yet to miss any offseason training sessions or publicly express dissatisfaction with his contract.
``Marques has had a great offseason and he's looking forward to continuing his outstanding production and contributing to victories as he has the past two years,'' said Segal, who also represents Colston and fellow third-year Saint Reggie Bush, among others.
Colston, a seventh-round draft choice who emerged as the Saints' leader in yards receiving during his first two seasons, is due to earn about $400,000 next season. Then he could become a restricted free agent, meaning the Saints would have the right to match any other offer Colston receives.
Colston has combined for 2,240 yards receiving and 19 touchdown catches during his first two regular seasons, production in the range of receivers who earn as much as $7 million a year.
During the offseason, Bernard Berrian, who had 951 yards receiving and five TD catches in 2007 for Chicago, signed a six-year, $42 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings.
General manager Mickey Loomis declined to discuss the Saints' efforts to renegotiate with Smith and Colston. However, he has said in the past that he looks more favorably upon players who honor their current contracts whether or not they're seeking a new deal, and the same held true in the case of this weekend's minicamp.
``This is a mandatory minicamp,'' Loomis said. ``We expect every guy on our roster to be present.''