With Adrian Peterson due to make $10.7 million in 2011 and, if subject to the franchise tag, $12.84 million in 2012, Peterson truly was in the driver’s seat. And he has now traded in the car for a deal that will pay him a whopping $40 million in the first three years.
In contrast, Titans running back Chris Johnson will receive $31 million over the next three seasons. Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams will be paid $30 million in that same period of time.
The seven-year deal (technically, six-year extension) will pay $52 million over four years and $65 million over five years. Johnson will get $39 million and $47 million, respectively, over that same period of time.
The ultimate question is whether Peterson will still be playing under this deal in the fourth or fifth year of it. As a running back ages, the more money he makes can make his status more tenuous with the team. For Peterson, the Vikings likely will begin comparing cap hit to compensation to expected production as soon as the third year of the new deal.
In the unlikely event that Peterson plays for each of the next seven years under the new contract, he’ll make $96 million, and he’ll be eligible for a $4 million escalator that will push the total value to $100 million, if he achieves it. Once we get the full deal, we’ll break down the year-by-year bonuses and salaries, in the hopes of getting a feel for the true length and value of the arrangement.