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Report: Peterson wanted Cardinals to restructure his contract after suspension

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals waits during the third quarter in a 34-0 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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There’s been a widespread perception for months that cornerback Patrick Peterson is upset with the Cardinals, but today’s news that he’ll be suspended for the first six games of the season may point to the reason for his unhappiness.

According to John Gambadoro of 98.7-FM, Peterson became angry with the Cardinals when he first learned he was facing a PED suspension, and they refused to restructure his contract to lessen the financial hit he will take.

Suspended NFL players do not receive their base salary while they serve those suspensions, but other forms of payment, such as signing bonuses and roster bonuses, are not affected by suspensions. Peterson is due an $11 million base salary this season, which means he’ll lose about $3.88 million during his suspension. Peterson may have wanted the Cardinals to do something like change his pay this year to a $10 million roster bonus followed by a $1 million base salary, which would mean the suspension would only cost him $353,000.

There is precedent for such a move. In 2016, while Tom Brady was fighting his Deflategate suspension, the Patriots restructured his contract to give him a $28 million signing bonus, followed by base salaries of $1 million in each of the next two seasons. That meant that when he was suspended four games, he lost only $236,000 in salary. If he hadn’t restructured, he was slated to lose $2.11 million in salary for a four-game suspension.

But the Cardinals weren’t willing to do that for Peterson, and telling him that is reportedly what got Peterson angry at a member of the front office last month. Peterson may not like it, but unless there’s something about this situation we don’t know (such as Peterson using a supplement that a Cardinals staffer told him was OK to use but actually had an ingredient banned by the NFL), it’s reasonable for the Cardinals to decline to give Peterson a sweet deal to reduce the hit for his suspension.