The one-year deal signed by former Green Bay Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop with the Minnesota Vikings would appear to reflect continued worry about his recovery from a serious hamstring injury.
According to Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500, Bishop agreed to a deal worth roughly $1.5 million, with another $500,000 available through incentives. If Pelissero's numbers are correct, Bishop will enter 2013 as the 74th highest paid linebacker in the NFL.
UPDATE: Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that Bishop can make "up to" $1.35 million over his one-year deal.
For further context on the deal, consider that the Packers were willing to pay Bishop $1.8 million in dead money over the next two years when they agreed to release him last week.
Bishop, 28, was scheduled to make $3.464 million in base salary next season under his former Packers deal, a four-year, $19 million contract signed in January of 2011.
A one-year deal worth close to $2 million (if Bishop hits the incentives, which are likely tied to playing time) is far from starter's money. It's an obvious "prove-it" deal for a player coming off a serious injury.
As reported here at CheeseheadTV last week, recovery from a ruptured hamstring is—at best—uncertain. A high number of NFL players fail to make a full return to the game following the injury, a reality that is would seem to be reflected in Bishop's new deal.
By committing very little financially, the Vikings are taking a low-risk flier on a player who, if healthy, can be a starter in the NFL.
However, Bishop's deal was also market value this late in the NFL calendar.
Asked by CheeseheadTV whether or not Bishop's contract was a reflection of concerns over his hamstring, former NFL agent Joel Corry said the deal was a "fair one-year deal under the circumstances." He mentioned the one-year, $1.125 million deal signed by Daryl Smith, who missed all but two games in 2012 with a groin injury before landing with the Baltimore Ravens this offseason. Smith is the Jaguars' all-time leading tackler, and was an effective player for Jacksonville in 2011.
"Comparatively speaking, Bishop got the better deal," Corry said, although it's worth noting that Smith is 31 years old—roughly 2.5 years old than Bishop.
Corry said it was conceivable that Bishop could have received a one-year deal worth the veteran's minimum ($715,000 base salary) had the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants not shown interest in Bishop's services during the process.
"Becoming a free agent in mid-June isn't ideal," Corry said.
Overall, Bishop's base salary in 2013 was shaved by roughly $2 million. While his new money figures reflect worry with the hamstring, they are also market value for damaged goods this late in the free agency period.
Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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