When the Adrian Peterson-to-New Orleans deal was first announced, the initial reports were that it was pretty straightforward – a two-year, $7 million deal that was a one-year, guaranteed deal for $3.5 million.
As it turns out, the devil is in the details.
The first year of the deal for the former Minnesota Vikings star provides a $2.5 million signing bonus and veteran-minimum-style $1 million base salary this year and, if he’s coming back in 2018, he has a base salary of a modest bump to $1.05 million.
But, it’s the extras that make the contract worth up to $12.5 million if Peterson goes All Day…again.
Take the $2.5 million out of the equation.
Peterson has already cashed that check.
What he is actually earning is based upon what he does in 2017. With Mark Ingram in the mix and rookie Alvin Kamara filling the recently minted historic role that Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles provided, Peterson and Ingram (if they’re actually both on the roster in Week 1) could split carries.
Peterson got a pay-as-you-exit contract that will put his unwillingness to leave the field to the ultimate test. Let’s start with the $1 million base salary and go from there.
If he runs for 750 yards, he adds $150,000, according to the New Orleans Advocate. Make that 1,000 yards and it goes up to $250,000. 1,250 yards? It increases to $750,000. 1,500 yards? He adds $1 million – on top of the $2.5 million already banked and the $1 million in base salary guaranteed.
If Peterson runs for 1,500 yards in 2017, he takes home $5.65 million.
Is that it?
Not so fast, my friend.
It gets complicated in the language when it comes to factoring touchdowns into the equation.
In his career, any time Peterson has played in double-digit games, he has scored double-digit touchdowns. He has played a decade in the NFL. The only times he hasn’t scored at least 10 touchdowns in a season were in 2014, when he played just one game, and 2016, when he played in three.
If Peterson scores six touchdowns, he will add $250,000 to his salary. If he scores eight TDs, his bonus goes to $500,000. He can earn $750,000 if he scores 10 touchdowns, but he would have to lead the league in rushing to collect on that.
The same applies for 2018 if the Saints pick up the second year of the contract.
Peterson is going to have a lot of incentive to prove to the NFL that he is still a dominant player at age 32, but, from the looks of the language in his Saints contract, many of those incentives will be based on yardage and scoring benchmarks that could drive his contract higher.