LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Running back Roy Helu #29 of the Washington Redskins is forced out of bounds by linebacker Stewart Bradley #52 of the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at FedExField on September 18, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. The Washington Redskins won, 22-21. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Per a report from Adam Caplan on Twitter, the Arizona Cardinals have reached an agreement with linebacker Stewart Bradley that will reduce his salary next season. Instead of making the $5 million that he was set to receive, Bradley will instead receive $2.5 million and have a chance at another $2.5 million in incentives.
Even though he has taken a pay cut, however, there is no guarantee he will be on the roster come September.
Stewart Bradley struggled mightily in his first year as an Arizona Cardinal after signing a 5-year, $30 million free agent deal. He was unable to beat out veteran Paris Lenon for the starting role, mainly due to his lack of comfort in the Cardinals' 3-4 scheme.
There are two things that should be clarified about this particular NFL transaction: Bradley's pay cut for the 2012 season has no affect on the remainder of his contract. After 2012, his salary will shoot right back up to around the $5 million range, according to Rotoworld.com.
Also, make sure to note the difference between a pay cut and a restructure. The Cards did not restructure Bradley's contract like they did with Lyle Sendlein, Daryn Colledge and others. Instead, they likely asked him to take a pay cut or get cut. The choice was his and based on how the market for inside linebackers has been thus far in free agency, it was probably a wise decision. As Darren Urban noted on Twitter, Bradley would not have likely come anywhere near $2.5 million on the open market.
Caplan also noted in one of his other Tweets that the guaranteed money in Bradley's contract is for injury only. What this means is that the team still has the option to cut him after the preseason should they choose to do so. They will not owe Bradley anymore money if they take that route.
With a full offseason, I believe Bradley will make the team either way. It would be nice to see him take the starting job from Lenon, for if he does not, his status with the team in 2013 will be in serious question.