On Tuesday I appeared on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio in my regular 10am ET spot to talk about, among other things, the article I wrote about Matt Forte and his contract situation on Monday. Earlier on Monday I had interviewed Robert London, Vice President at Dow Lohnes Sports & Entertainment for the piece. Robert’s firm represents Forte and he makes a pretty compelling argument about why the 4th year running back should get his current deal ripped up and replaced with a “more appropriate” contract, one that reflects his client’s production.Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and Matt Forte are all in similar situations. All three running backs feel their rookie contracts should be shredded and that long term deals should be put in place. Johnson’s agent, Joel Segal, has been jumping up and down, seemingly telling anyone who will listen that his client has “clearly outplayed his rookie contract” and that Johnson is looking for a new deal.
These three players were very similar in their production last year.
- (2010 season) Matt Forte – 1,616 yards from scrimmage, 9 TDs
- (2010 season) Adrian Peterson – 1,639 yards from scrimmage, 13 TDs
- (2010 season) Chris Johnson – 1,609 yards from scrimmage, 12 TDs
So which of these players will be successful in getting a new deal?
Let’s take Adrian Peterson first, because to me, his situation is the easiest of the three.
Adrian Peterson – (He will get a new deal)
It’s been suggested that since Peterson has already amassed 1,198 carries in four short years, the toll it may have taken on his body may warrant that the Vikings consider trading him rather than signing him to a long term deal. While in theory those who feel that way may be proved right in the end, that isn’t going to happen, so here’s what Minnesota is left with.
The Vikings are reportedly $5.1 million over the $120.4 million salary cap. Peterson is in the final year of his rookie contract, and it’s to the Vikings’ advantage to work out a long-term contract with him. In fact, the Vikings probably want Peterson to have a new deal as much as he does! The reason is simple, he’s got a ridiculous salary cap number of $12.775 million and since the Vikings need cap relief, they can get that relief by restructuring his current contract and signing Peterson to a long-term deal. This will make Peterson happy giving him security and it will also bring the Vikings under the cap. You can plan on this happening during the preseason.
Matt Forte – (He should get a new deal)
See Monday’s article for my take on Matt Forte. The guy is 30% of the team’s offence. Forget about paying him what his starting running back peers around the league make. Having him play at $550,000 in 2011 when the Bears just gave Chester Taylor, Forte’s backup, a $12.5 million deal last year – with $7 million guaranteed in 2010 – seems to me a bit screwy. Taylor will make $1.275 million this year, $1.75 million in 2012 and $2.425 million in 2013. At the very least one would have to think that Forte gets more than his understudy.
Chris Johnson – (Not Again)
Chris Johnson signed a 5-year $12 million rookie deal in 2008. He was supposed to receive a $550,000 base salary last year as part of that five-year deal. Johnson had already reached performance-based incentives during his CJ2K 2009 year that would have given him an extra $2.5 million in salary in 2012. He was able to move that money into a signing bonus when he renegotiated last year. This year Johnson is schedule to make $800,000 as a base salary.
Here’s the deal, it’s not that Johnson isn’t worth more than $800,000 in 2011, because he is. However, his contract can’t necessarily be looked at that way. Doing so ignores the fact that the Titans front loaded his original contract and already compensated him more that $11 million. Besides, Johnson just restructured his deal before last season, and he didn’t perform anywhere near the lofty expectations that he himself had set. How is this supposed to work? Does Johnson get to renegotiate a new deal prior to every season?
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You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike Cardano on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.
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