MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Peterson got his first paycheck from the New Orleans Saints earlier this week, in the form of a $2.5 million signing bonus paid out on Monday. He’ll have the opportunity to make plenty more from his new team if he has the kind of season he believes he can still produce at age 32.
Peterson sought a deal that allowed him to prove himself again after leaving the Minnesota Vikings, and his contract with the Saints includes a number of multi-tiered incentives based on his production in New Orleans. Peterson would get $150,000 for a 750-yard season, and would make $250,000 if he goes north of 1,000 yards again. A 1,250-yard season would get him $750,000, and Peterson would make $1 million if he goes for 1,500 yards.
A six-touchdown season would get Peterson $250,000; he’d earn $500,000 if he posts eight touchdowns, and $750,000 if he scores at least 10 touchdowns and leads the NFL in rushing TDs. If Peterson runs for at least 750 yards and the Saints make the playoffs, there are escalators for his bonuses based on how far the team goes into the postseason.
He has a weekly roster bonus that can be worth as much as $1.25 million in 2017, depending on how many games Peterson is on the active roster. But if he hits any of his incentives in 2017, his weekly roster bonuses in 2018 will go up by the same amount as his 2017 incentives. For example, if Peterson earns $750,000 in incentives this season, he’d be able to get up to $2 million in roster bonuses in 2018.
It’s odd, in a sense, to see one of the most handsomely-paid backs in league history working to get a few hundred thousand dollars by hitting relatively modest performance thresholds. But that’s the world Peterson is in at age 32, and it’s where he’ll have to prove he’s still as effective as he believes he can be. If he’s able to do it — and especially if the Saints benefit from it on the field — the team will make it worth Peterson’s while. It will all start for Peterson against his former team on Monday Night Football on Sept. 11.