I'm not sure its his back that is ailing him now. It certainly may be, but what I have seen is his stride isn't what it used to be. His right leg doesn't seem to have the push it used to. Lou Nanne commented the same thing on Barriero's show yesterday.
It certainly could be his back, but he had a knee injury last year that he tried to play through and had a "lower body" earlier this year that some said was the result of blocking a shot.
I really don't think playing in the World Cup was a good idea for him. He has missed so many games the last few years only to add a few more on top of it? Not a wise choice.
Correct, that is how I understand it. The front end he could be getting something like $13M salary and the backend $5M, but it will all average out over the term (13 years) which results in the cap hit of $7.5M.
I would go further and say that the connection is a consensus. It doesn't seem to have been verified by actual chemical analysis but the timing and geographic distribution similarity is pretty convincing.
One interesting thing is that a lot of people ate a lot of sick cows in the UK and some other parts of Europe, but not all that many got vCJD. Thousands of cows, maybe as many as 400,000, and 177 cases in people as of 2014, with a few more each year.