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041622 Athens: Georgia head coach Kirby Smart during the G - Day game at Sanford Stadium Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Athens, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Kirby Smart shares his thoughts on contract situation, Georgia football NIL deals

ATLANTA — The subject of money came up more than a few times when Georgia head coach Kirby Smart.

Smart spoke briefly about Georgia’s various fundraising initiatives. He also provided an update on the state of his new contract. Georgia president Jere Morehead and athletic director Josh Brooks have previously provided updates and expressed optimism that the sides were close to a deal getting done.

Related: Kirby Smart clarifies resignation comment, but his Georgia contract extension unfinished

Smart seemed to share that same feeling.

“I’m not concerned at all about it. They’ve been tremendous with my representation and I’m completely comfortable with where everything is,” Smart said. “Both sides have worked hard with getting the thing done and they’ve been tremendous. I can’t say more about what they’ve been wiling to do, the communication they’ve had. It’s just not as easy a process as you think it is.

“People think it’s just a number and a year and there’s just so much more that goes into it in the world we live in. As far as a contract has to be spelled out correctly on both sides. We’re trying to make sure that’s done right.”

Georgia has given new contracts to offensive coordinator Todd Monken and tight ends coach Todd Hartley, making both the highest coaches with their respective titles. Smart made $7.2 million for Georgia, with the contract running through 2024.

Smart also discussed the state of name, image and likeness as it pertains to Georgia. Alabama head coach Nick Saban shared that his players made over $3 million last season in various deals.

Smart declined to give an exact dollar amount on Tuesday when speaking to reporters but he did state that 95 players on Georgia’s team had some sort of NIL deal.

The Georgia coach added that Georgia arguably had the biggest NIL deals for players at tight end, defensive line and cornerback.

“After the National Championship, those three guys exploded, one talking about Jordan Davis and the other two are obvious (Brock Bowers and Kelee Ringo),” Smart said. “When you look at that, it’s pretty substantial that we have depth in our NIL market. The unfortunate part of NIL is you hear all the negative and all the negative outweighs the positive in the media. You’ve got a guy like Dan Jackson who is not on scholarship who’s having the use NIL to pay for his college education and help himself out with NIL. We’ve got a guy, Micah Morris, who’s got an ill father.

“He’s able to send money back to his dad who is on dialysis. There’s countless stories like that. I would rival anybody in the country with 95 NIL deals coming off a National Championship and pretty gaudy number total that we’ve been able to give out. But I don’t think it’s about marketing that and selling that. It’s more about the depth of our deals than the total amount.”

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, who has had his fair share of NIL deals including one with Raising Cane’s, shared that he was in favor of players having those deals. But he also stressed the importance of taking care of things on the field first before worrying about any sort of deals

“I think it’s deserved, just from the hours we put in. It is just like a job,” Bennett said. “During the season, it’s a grind to go through a full class load and you’re grinding and preparing for Florida. It is a job and I feel like people get paid for jobs.”

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