Suspended for six games, Patrick Peterson wanted the Arizona Cardinals to restructure his contract in order to lessen the financial hit.
Amid lingering trade rumors, Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson was suspended six games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy on Thursday. Originally eight games, the ban was lowered on appeal.
Back before the draft, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reported Peterson was angry about what someone in the Cardinals’ front office said to him.
That seemed to push trade rumors, but nothing has come to fruition yet. Rumors of Peterson wanting a trade are rooted in last season, but he eventually backed off that desire.
In the wake of Peterson’s suspension, it’s now out there why he was probably angry with someone in the front office.
According to John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM in Phoenix, the Cardinals refused to restructure Peterson’s contract to lessen the financial hit he would take from his suspension. Base salaries are not paid during suspensions, but bonuses are unaffected.
Peterson is due an $11 million base salary this year, so a six-game ban will cost him around $3.88 million. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk hypothetically laid out, Peterson may have wanted the Cardinals to make his $11 million into a $10 million roster bonus with a $1 million base salary.
In that scenario, the six-game suspension would have only cost Peterson $353,000.
Essentially being told he would lose $3.3 million could have easily fueled some anger for Peterson. Of course, avoiding a banned substance altogether would have helped him avoid losing that money.
There is a precedent for a player having their contract restructured to lessen the financial blow from a suspension. As the NFL descended on Tom Brady for Deflategate, the Patriots gave him a $28 million signing bonus followed by $1 million base salaries in each of the next two seasons.
That means his four-game suspension only cost him $236,000, as opposed to $2.11 million if he hadn’t been restructured (h/t to Pro Football Talk).
Deflategate was largely viewed as the NFL’s witch hunt against the Patriots, with a foregone conclusion that was worked backwards from and no understanding of some basic physics regarding air pressure in cold weather. So the Patriots backed their guy by letting him keep money.
Peterson, on the other hand, violated the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Shy of someone on the Cardinals’ training staff telling him he was fine to use a supplement that contained a banned substance, they don’t owe him what would be a financial make-right to lower the money he’ll lose to a suspension.
And now, with him gone for 37.5 percent of the 2019 season, the Cardinals can’t even trade Peterson for anything of representative value.