On paper, the contract is for two years, but is effectively a one-year deal with a one-year option with a max value of $8.25 million. Peterson will receive $3.5 million for 2017, all of which is guaranteed at signing; his base salary will be $1 million, plus a $2.5 million signing bonus. His 2018 compensation will also be $3.5 million plus incentives, but none of that money is guaranteed.
Peterson also gave a statement to Anderson with his thoughts on signing with the Saints:
“I am excited to be joining the New Orleans Saints. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. Most importantly, I chose this team because it just felt right within my spirit. Additionally, my wife and family added their confirmation with the same feelings.
“On offense, it goes without saying that the Saints are really solid behind Drew Brees. I feel like my skill set can make them even more dominant as a unit. They have a great offensive line, which is something that stood out to me as well. I could tell from talking to head coach Sean Payton over the last two weeks that he did his due diligence in evaluating how I could contribute. I also did a lot of homework on the defense as well. While I know that injuries have played a role in performance, I also see areas of potential with a lot of younger guys having the ability to step up. Lastly, it goes without saying that the Saints have an amazing fan base and I look forward to making them proud and creating everlasting memories.”
It’s been six weeks since Peterson was released by the Minnesota Vikings, who drafted him seventh overall in 2007. Yahoo’s Charles Robinson wrote on Monday that it’s been a humbling time for Peterson as he visited only the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and New Orleans; only New Orleans offered the 32-year-old a contract.
A seven-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and the 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player, Peterson isn’t too far removed from the league-leading 1,485 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns he posted in 2015, but last year was marked by knee injury. That’s the most recent image most teams have of Peterson: averaging less than 2 yards a carry in three games in 2016.
He’ll get at least one year to show that he’s healthy and able to contribute with New Orleans, which went 7-9 last season and was middle-of-the-pack in terms of team rushing, though Mark Ingram, healthy at last, posted the first 1,000 yard season of his career.
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