According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, Adrian Peterson has agreed to a new contract with the Vikings worth $44 million over the next three seasons. Florio further goes on to discuss potential escalators and de-escalators within the contract worth $4 million. While much is being made of the potential loss of about $2 million for Peterson, the basics of the contract are identical to the massive extension signed by Peterson in 2011. I’ll explain in more detail in the body of the post but in general Peterson will defer some money to 2017 in return for better timing of payments in 2016.
Peterson’s 2011 contract called for non-guaranteed payments of $13, $15, and $18 million from 2015 thru 2017 for a total of $46 million. However those numbers were not the original contract values, but escalated values based on Peterson’s performance in the front end of the contract. His original contract called for exactly $44 million in payments from 2015 through 2017, which a chance to earn $4 million more based on yards and team performance, very similar to what is in the current contract. So in essence they pulled the original escalators out and are asking him to re-earn them.
Peterson will earn $2 million less in 2016 than he would have in his original contract as his cap and cash figures, based on the PFT report, will fall to $13 million. He can earn $2 million back by reaching the escalator this year. In return the Vikings have given Peterson a $5 million roster bonus due on the 5th day of the League Year, which will force them to make their intentions known quickly with him, by either trading or releasing him before the payment is made. The base value of his 2017 season is $2 million more than his original contract and the same as his escalated contract that was on the books. If he earns his escalator that year he would match the max value of his original contract. He will have an offseason roster bonus in 2017 as well to force a decision on his future.
Peterson’s new contract has a paper guarantee of $13 million for this year, which is essentially just added to get people talking. Peterson was scheduled to earn $12.75 million this year and the odds of him being released outright between now and the first game of the season, when his salary would become fully guaranteed, were slim and none. The $13 million salary was given to allow Peterson to recapture the $250,000 workout bonus that it seems he forfeited by not attending offseason activities while expressing his unhappiness with the team. His cap number is unchanged for the season.
Nothing has changed in regards to the dead money in the contract, meaning Peterson can be released or traded free and clear of cap charges next season unless he suffers a major injury that kicks in his injury protectio for 2016.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.