On Sunday, as the Vikings play their final regular-season game against the Chicago Bears, Jarius Wright will earn a $93,750 weekly roster bonus for the 16th time this season, bringing his regular-season salary to $2.55 million and officially delivering a payoff on the gamble he made in September.
After catching only 11 passes last season, Wright restructured his deal with the Vikings on Sept. 1, the day before the team’s final preseason roster cuts. He took a $1.05 million base salary instead of the $2.5 million he was scheduled to receive and converted $1.5 million to per-game roster bonuses.
The move put Wright’s future in Minnesota on tenuous footing, with rookies Rodney Adams and Stacy Coley on the team’s initial 53-man roster and Michael Floyd set to join the team in October after a four-game suspension. Had the 28-year-old declined to restructure his deal and the team opted to release him, the Vikings would have owed Wright only the $800,000 portion of his base salary that was guaranteed.
In the end, he decided to stay with the team that drafted him in the fourth round out of Arkansas in 2012, and in the community he said he now considers a second home.
“It’s always an option,” Wright said of the possibility of leaving for another team if he’d declined to restructure his deal. “It’s always an option. I didn’t think twice about it. I talked about it with my agent, my agent told me it was a good deal. He knows the type of guy I am, the type of player I am. He said it was a good deal. It’s all paying off for me now. “
Wright has 18 catches for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns. As of Sunday, he’ll have made back all the money he was originally scheduled to earn in 2017.
“Like I always say, I just want to play and get the opportunity to earn my paycheck, which I’ve gotten to do this year,” he said. “Every chance I have had, I’ve made a play. I can’t complain.”