Chad Greenway will be back with the Vikings in 2015.
The Vikings and the veteran outside linebacker have agreed to a restructured contract, a league source confirmed. Greenway has a new base salary of $3.4 million with $1 million guaranteed. He can make up to $4 million through bonuses, including $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses.
By convincing Greenway to accept this pay cut, the Vikings created $3.225 million in cap space.
Greenway was originally slated to make $7 million in 2015, the final year of his deal. But it seemed unlikely the Vikings would let the 32-year-old play at that salary, one of the highest on the team.
At the end of the season, Greenway, the team’s 2006 first-round draft pick, said he was receptive to restructuring his deal so he could play at least one more season with the Vikings. But he also said that the role the team envisioned for him would have to make sense for him to take a pay cut.
“It’s hard to be in a situation where you’re watching,” Greenway said at the time. “I’ve just never done that and I don’t really plan on it. I’m going to go somewhere I can compete to play. If you’re in a position where you had to go somewhere else, it’s a combination of those two things — where are you going to play and have success. I want to do that here.”
Earlier this month, General Manager Rick Spielman said he wanted Greenway to stick around, too.
“We’d love to have Chad Greenway back and finish [his career] as a Minnesota Viking,” he said.
This is the second straight offseason in which Greenway has taken a pay cut to remain in purple. Last season, he sacrificed $1 million in base salary to keep his spot on the team.
Greenway is one of the longest-tenured active Vikings players. He has played 125 games, all but one of them as a starter, for the Vikings. At one point, he had made 90 straight starts, most among NFL linebackers at the time, but the streak was snapped early in the 2014 season.
In Week 4, Greenway, who had played a week earlier with a broken hand and three broken ribs, missed his first game since his rookie season. He sat out three straight before returning in Week 7 and climbed to the team lead in tackles by early December. But he hurt his knee in Week 16, ending his season and his chances of a seventh straight season of leading the Vikings in tackles.
Still, Greenway’s six straight seasons were tied with Scott Studwell for the franchise record.
According to the Vikings’ tracking, Greenway, a two-time Pro Bowler, has made 1,203 tackles on defense in his nine seasons in Minnesota, which ranks fourth in franchise history.
Greenway, a leader on and off the field, has also made a major impact away from football.
He won the NFLPA’s prestigious Byron “Whizzer” White Award this past year for his community work. He has also been recognized as the Vikings Community Man of the Year in both 2011 and 2014 for his charity work in the Twin Cities and his home state of South Dakota. Greenway was also voted by Twin Cities media as the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award winner in 2012.
ESPN first reported this morning that Greenway had restructured his contract.