Peterson to Cowboys? It’s Possible
IRVING – Adrian Peterson says he’s “uneasy’’ about remaining employed by the Minnesota Vikings as he notes it “wasn’t people in Texas’’ but rather “people in Minnesota’’ who “kick(ed)’’ him when he was “down-and-out.’’ And that comparison alone is enough to fuel speculation that the NFL’s best running back might want to engineer an escape back to his home state and to the Dallas Cowboys.
Peterson, still sitting out a suspension from the NFL (while pleading no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault for injuring his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch), is under contract to the Vikings for three more seasons. They’ve expressed their desire to retain him — though his salaries of $13 million, $15 million and $17 million are daunting.
The Vikings could ask Peterson to return under the terms of that deal, or could ask him to re-do his contract to make him more affordable. Meanwhile, if his “uneasiness” continues, he could ask Minnesota to release him or trade him. And if he’s free, he moves to to the top of Dallas’ wish list. And Dallas moves to the top of his.
I’m told weekend reports of him asking the Vikings for a trade to Dallas are bogus. But this situation will come to a head eventually — maybe by March 10, when teams need to be cap-compliant. A conventional trade won’t happen, and here’s why: Peterson’s current 2015 cap hit stands at $15.4 million. $12.75 million is the base, $.25 million is a workout bonus and $2.4 million is a pro-rated bonus. The base and workout bonus would disappear if he’s released, leaving just the $2.4 million in dead money. That would give the Vikings the net result of $13 million in savings if Peterson insists upon not re-doing a deal and expresses continued dislike of his surroundings, and Minnesota releases him.
That $2.4 mil in dead money is also the only amount Minny eats if they trade him. Ah, but who would trade for AD with his three years of salary locked in at $13 mil, $15 mil and $17 mil for three years? Nobody would. But can Dallas, in theory, trade for Peterson under the terms of a new, cheaper contract? In theory, yes.
It’s rarely done, for two reasons. One, it’s unusual that a player wants out of a place so badly that he’s willing to take less than the $45 million he’s owed. And two, most long-term superstar contracts have fat amounts of guaranteed money remaining. In the event of a trade, there are locked-in piles of dough that needs to be accounted for by the trading-away team. Meaning, not only does the new team have to have cap room for the acquisition … but the old team has to have room, too.
But in AD’s case? He might be facing Minnesota asking him to take a cut to stay. He can turn that down. And he might be willing to trash the $45 mil and start over in Dallas. And the $2.4 mil in dead money means the Vikings’ cap doesn’t have to suffer for having sent him away. And of course, in the event of Peterson’s release, he’ll get to pick his team — and negotiate his new salary.
If Peterson is ever available I can promise you Jerry Jones will be generous and creative in working to acquire the above-the-marquee star, bending the policy the Cowboys have developed that will likely prevent them from paying market-value on running backs (including their own standout DeMarco Murray). Adrian Peterson feels “uneasy’’ right now. But he must also feel powerful.