While the contract stalemate between the New Orleans Saints and franchised quarterback Drew Brees continues, with each side jockeying for leverage, the Saints front office did right by running back Chris Ivory with a recent tweak to the final year of his contract.
Though the Saints were not required to, a source with knowledge of Ivory's contract said the team has tacked on a $72,900 signing bonus to the final year of his contract, making up for the income he lost while on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list last season. No additional years were added to the contract, and Ivory is still scheduled to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
A foot injury, along with a sports hernia, forced Ivory to open the 2011 season on the PUP list. Activated in Week 8, Ivory finished the season with 374 yards on 79 carries and one touchdown in six games, including two starts, before gaining 70 yards on a team-leading 22 carries in the postseason.
Undrafted out of Division II Tiffin in 2010, the former Washington State back was signed to a three-year, $1.22 million rookie contract by the Saints. Ivory paid immediate dividends, taking over for an injured Pierre Thomas to lead the team with 716 yards on 137 carries and five rushing touchdowns during the regular season before he was placed on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury.
Because the first two seasons of Ivory's contract contained full splits, the Saints were able to pay Ivory at a lower salary rate while he was on the PUP list. Instead of earning his full $450,000 rate ($26,471 per week), Ivory was paid at a rate of $273,000 ($16,059 per week) for the first seven weeks of the season. Once he was activated to the 53-man roster, Ivory was back earning his full rate and took home $377,118, a loss of $72,882 from the $450,000 he was scheduled to earn.
Ivory was reportedly ready to play in early October, but had to wait a few weeks before the Saints could activate him. That may have played a role in the team's decision to make up the lost income. Either way, the Saints did right by Ivory. Now it's time for them to add a few more zeroes and do right by Brees