Other than your thoughts and opinions, do you have anything else that supports the notion that players drive back-loaded deals? Cause I can do a simple google search and find dozens of articles on why it favors the team and not the player.
Rationally, yes it does make sense for them. But rationality rarely comes into play when ego and unions are involved. Players don't want to front-load because then by the back-end of their deal they no longer have the prestige of being a top-paid player. It also potentially alters the market for future player negotiations.
Basically, it helps keep the "highest paid player" in baseball lofty so that teams can't negotiate relative to back-ended salaries. Say, if Sabathia or someone else had front-loaded. When Kershaw comes to the negotiating table....they have to argue with the team that the highest paid pitcher in the league is Sabathia at 14M and therefore they aren't going to more than double that in annual salary. It may seem silly (and it largely is) but that's how they operate. Guys back-load so they are "looking out" for the next generation of player salaries.
So, yes, it is a player-driven phenomenon. Why Peralta accepted something otherwise is curious. (Though his PED issues may be a factor.)