Exclusive details on TE Cole Kmet's extension: Cash flows, cap hits and more

2M44HG4 Chicago, United States. 18th Dec, 2022. Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet (85) runs the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, December 18, 2022. The Eagles won 25-20. Photo by Mark Black/UPI Credit: UPI/Alamy Live News

The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with tight end Cole Kmet on a four-year, $50 million extension, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday

The deal marks the first in-house extension for new general manager Ryan Poles and his regime, and there are several other names to monitor over the next few weeks in wide receivers Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool, as well as cornerback Jaylon Johnson

Kmet, a 2020 second-round pick, has played more than 900 snaps in back-to-back seasons and ranks top-10 at the position in receiving grade and run-blocking grade when lined up as an in-line tight end.

In-line tight ends: Highest receiving grades in 2022
Rank Name In-line snaps PFF receiving grade
1 Dallas Goedert 208 90.5
2 Gerald Everett 204 89.7
3 George Kittle 302 89.7
4 Cole Kmet 173 84.6
5 T.J. Hockenson 282 82.4

Kmet’s 79.1 red-zone receiving grade ranked second among tight ends with at least 10 red-zone targets in 2022, as he tallied six touchdown receptions and zero drops. The 2020 Draft selection is also just seven months older than the Buffalo Bills 2023 first-round pick, tight end Dalton Kincaid

Chicago agreed to terms with a young franchise building block just as training camp gets underway, and we have the exclusive details of the contract:

  • Signing bonus: $8 million
  • 2023 base salary: $4.993 million, fully guaranteed
  • 2024 base salary: $9.9 million, fully guaranteed
  • 2025 base salary: $9.9 million, becomes fully guaranteed in March 2024
  • 2026 base salary: $8.9 million
  • 2026 roster bonus: $1 million
  • 2027 base salary: $8.9 million
  • 2027 roster bonus: $1 million

There is a $100,000 offseason workout bonus each year from 2024-27. 

While the per-year average came in slightly below recent tight end contracts, the details below show how this is a very strong deal for Kmet. Here are the largest new-money cash flows through each year among all contracts with an average per year of up to $13 million compared with Kmet’s new extension: 

First new year

Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly: $19.65 million
Kmet: $20 million

Second new year

Former Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson: $30 million
Kmet: $30 million

Third new year

Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox: $40 million
Kmet: $40 million

In addition, Kmet’s virtual guaranteed-at-signing amount — “virtual” meaning it’s extremely unlikely the money will not become fully guaranteed and earned — is among the highest marks at the position. Because Kmet’s 2025 salary becomes fully guaranteed in March of 2024, he’s almost certain to have that guaranteed amount kick in. 

Largest full guarantee at signing among tight ends with an average per year of up to $13 million
  1. Jonnu SmithAtlanta Falcons: $31.25 million
  2. Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills: $31.2 million
  3. Kmet: $32.793 million 
the full salary cap breakdown

2023: $7,360,779
2024: $11.6 million
2025: $11.6 million
2026: $11.6 million
2027: $11.6 million

The Bears will lose $3.6 million in 2023 cap space due to the extension, moving them to around $28.4 million, but that figure is still the most in the NFL.

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