Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said he has always bet on himself, and his last remaining wager for this season will be settled Sunday.
As part of the one-year, incentive-laden contract he signed in March after leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers, Smith-Schuster will earn a $1 million bonus if he plays more than 50% of Kansas City’s offensive snaps and the Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox).
This bonus was triggered by Smith-Schuster having more than 60 receptions (he had 78) and more than 900 receiving yards (he had 933) in the regular season.
But Smith-Schuster has just one focus.
“It’s just more so getting this opportunity to play in this game, to help get this team this W is huge,” Smith-Schuster told reporters on Tuesday.
Smith-Schuster isn’t the only one with extra money on the line. Chiefs defensive lineman Brandon Williams can earn $50,000 if he’s active and Kansas City wins.
For the Eagles, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh can earn $125,000 if he plays 30% of his team’s defensive snaps in a win.
One player who just missed out on a bonus was Chiefs defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who needed to play in 50% of the defensive snaps in the regular season to trigger his Super Bowl bonus. Dunlap played in 49.1% of the snaps. If he had hit his mark and played at least 25% of the snaps Sunday, and the Chiefs won, he would have earned $1 million.
For Smith-Schuster, who missed all but five games in 2021 because of a right shoulder injury, the chance to play in his first Super Bowl is a bonus in itself.
“It all started with [Chiefs coach] Andy Reid calling me,” Smith-Schuster said. “With him like, ‘Hey man, we’re doing something special here.’ That was really cool.
“Him telling me we’re going to go win this, we’re going to get a Super Bowl. And I come here, and we’re in the Super Bowl. I’m really happy to enjoy this experience and be here.”
Did he believe Reid?
“He’s been to the AFC championship five times in a row, so of course I believed him,” Smith-Schuster said.
It’s possible this will be Smith-Schuster’s last game with the Chiefs, but he didn’t want to go there.
“I don’t even think like that,” he said. “This game means everything to me. I dreamed about it as a kid to have this opportunity.”