Adrian Peterson may be a future Hall of Fame running back, but right now he’s just a guy hoping to make a team.
That’s why Peterson was willing to take the league minimum salary: According to Field Yates of ESPN, Peterson signed with Washington for one year and $1.05 million, which is the minimum for a player with his level of experience. Under NFL rules, a player making the veteran minimum costs just $630,000 against the salary cap.
But he won’t count anything against the salary cap if he doesn’t make the team. Nothing is guaranteed in Peterson’s contract, so he has to make the Week One roster to get paid anything. And that’s no guarantee either. Peterson will have to show in camp that he still has something left as a runner.
Peterson won’t contribute on special teams, so he’ll have to show in camp that he’s a better runner than his 3.0-yard average since the start of 2016 suggests. If Washington just wants to keep another running back for depth, it will keep a young running back who also plays in the kicking game.
Bottom line: This is a contract that allows Washington to move on when roster cuts come down on September 1. Peterson will only have a week and a half to convince the team to keep him.