During the 2014 offseason, Vikings fullback Jerome Felton agreed to restructure his contract, and while it reduced his ’14 base salary by $500K, the move also provided Felton with the opportunity to opt out of his deal following the season. Considering his role has been reduced under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, the veteran fullback tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he’ll take the lack of snaps into account when deciding whether or not to opt out.
“Of course, that will be a factor,” Felton said. “But I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time this year because I like our coaching staff and I really think this team is heading in the right direction. All of that is going to be in play.“
Felton, who made the Pro Bowl in 2012, can earn back that $500K this season if he earns another Pro Bowl nod, and Pro Football Focus (subscription required) rates him as the league’s second-best player at his position. For what it’s worth, Felton says he thinks he’s “the best fullback in the NFL” and believes he’s playing better this year than he did in 2012, but given the Vikings’ 4-7 record and the fact that the 28-year-old has played just 122 snaps, his strong play may not be recognized.
Assuming Felton opts into his contract for next year, he’d be owed a base salary of $2.45MM, along with a workout bonus of $50K, but none of that money is guaranteed, so Minnesota wouldn’t be obliged to keep him on the roster. As a point of comparison, the Buccaneers recently extended Anthony Sherman – the one fullback ahead of Felton in PFF’s rankings – to a three-year deal worth up to $7MM, so Felton may prefer to hit the open market and look for a team willing to commit that sort of money to a multiyear pact rather than playing out one more season with the Vikes.