Injury cuts into Jerome Simpson's pay

October, 17, 2012
10/17/12
3:53
PM ET
Now we're getting somewhere.

On Monday, we struggled to understand why Minnesota Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson was so angry about being deactivated for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins. After all, a back injury had limited him in the Vikings' previous game, and he had been a limited participant in two days of practice in between.

The Watergate rule of journalism is to follow the money, and maybe we should have paid it more heed in this instance. Simpson's contract calls for a non-traditional roster bonus that, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com, is paid out on a weekly basis for every game Simpson is on the game-day roster. The total bonus is worth $950,000, meaning every game Simpson misses costs him $59,375.

Wednesday, Simpson admitted the money lost is part of his frustration.

"You lose $60,000, you'd be mad, too," Simpson told reporters.

Simpson has talked through the issue with coach Leslie Frazier, however, and added: "We're on the same page. I'm just a competitor, man. I just want to be out on that field. Anytime something gets taken from you, you're obviously going to be kind of upset about it."

Simpson also has an $800,000 base salary and a $250,000 workout bonus in his deal.

The roster bonus is a reflection of Simpson's precarious position under the NFL's substance-abuse policy. He has already served a three-game suspension after pleading guilty to a felony drug charge in March, and another issue would lead to a longer suspension. If that were to happen, the Vikings would not be stuck paying his roster bonus.

Unfortunately for Simpson, it also applies to injuries. I have no doubt he wants badly to play, whether for financial or competitive reasons. But kudos to Frazier for ignoring the roster bonus and making a sound football decision last weekend.

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