THHEHEE AHSDHFAHS ASJDHAS
Today’s NFL is a passing league, resembling a reality tv show I like to call “The Slow Painful Deaths of Running Backs". More and more teams are going to two or three, even four backs to get their fifteen hundred yards on the ground and the value of these running backs has plummeted. There are currently 45 NFL receivers, 22 NFL tight ends and just 18 NFL running backs playing on contracts equal to or greater than $10 million dollars in total value. The end of that running back list is rounded out by seven names: Ryan Mathews, Toby Gerhart, Donald Brown, Rashad Jennings, Mike Tolbert and Shonn Greene. All have contracts valued between $10-$11 million dollars with the exception of Frank Gore who is signed to a three year $12 million dollar deal with the Indianapolis Colts. These are seven players who will never see $10 million dollar contracts again in their careers. Many of them lucky to have even received them in the first place. The next three highest paid running backs in the NFL are Mark Ingram, CJ Spiller and Shane Vereen averaging a shade under four million thirty-nine thousand dollars a year ($4,038,889.00). When we enter the "Elite Eight" of running backs we see the bottom seven contracts having totals varying from $24 million dollars for 2 years (Marshawn Lynch) to $27.75 million for 4 years (Jamals Charles) all the way up to $43.5 million for 5 years (Arian Foster). Jamal Charles receiving the lowest annual pay of these seven, Arian Foster having the second highest annual pay and Marshawn Lynch having the highest of these seven.
The highest paid running back in todays NFL is Adrian Peterson taking in an annual average of $14.38 million per year on his 6 year $86.28 million dollar contract. At a $14.38 million dollar per year average Adrian Peterson's was paid $191,733.33 dollars for each of his seventy-five rushing yards last season. Adrian Peterson has the world's strongest grip, ask anyone who has ever shook his hand, with that said, as they shook hands, I can guarantee you the Vikings brass immediately felt the pain of signing him to his six year deal. Now they’re realizing that there is only more pain coming with cap hits of $15 million in 2015, $15.4 million in 2016 and $17 million in 2017.
The Vikings only real option should be to trade Adrian Peterson, but with rumors that he might command at least a second round draft pick, it just doesn't make sense for NFL teams to make the move. Bruce Arians recently said, “There are as much as fifteen quality running backs in this year's draft.”in my opinion if a team really needs a running back they should draft him. Although a 4th or 5th round draft pick for Peterson is a whole different ballgame, you'll still need a restructured contract in place. Furthermore paying Adrian Peterson $8 million annually like the leagues other top running backs is still to high a price to pay. Of the five NFL running backs who are being payed $8 million annually or more; Lesean Mccoy proved to us last year that he couldn't carry the load of an every down back, Arian Foster as well as Demarco Murray are often injured, and although Marshawn Lynch has been a true every down running back the last few years he has an ever growing back issue. Marshawn also spent the last two off-seasons speculating retirement before he was given significant pay raises. Who knows if Marshawn Lynch's desire still burns strong? And with the way he runs, he is just an injury waiting to happen.
The problem with Adrian Peterson isn't just that he is a 30 year old running back who hasn’t played organized football for what will be close to a full calendar year when we get around to the start of next season; the problem with Peterson is he might not even be worth the $8 million annually a restructured contract might give him. Although Peterson has already proved to us he is not human, giving us a medical miracle in his 2012 return from a torn ACL. We have to remember that it wasn't just a one time event Peterson has a lengthy injury history. In 2010 Peterson played in fifteen games, in 2011 just twelve, fourteen in 2013 and just one in 2014. Over the past five years just once has he played in all sixteen games and even then after his 2012 season Peterson needed surgery to repair a sports hernia that occurred during his record breaking campaign. In college Peterson missed six games as a junior due to a fractured collarbone, four games with a high ankle sprain his sophomore year and as a freshman he dislocated his shoulder requiring surgery to get it repaired.
How many full sixteen game seasons can a team trading for Peterson expect? I’d say zero. They'd be lucky to get one. Essentially Peterson can give you three to four - fourteen game seasons, but that might not even be a reality. With this in consideration the Vikings should dump Petersons egregious salary for what they can come April, but a team looking to rocket themselves into Super Bowl contention should not make the move. On the other hand a young team looking to sell tickets and groom players with the strong foundation that Peterson would provide should have no fear in pulling the trigger at the right price. Hopefully, come April Cowboy and Cardinal fans can sleep at night knowing cheaper and healthier options await their executives in their appropriate draft day war rooms. Jaguar and Raider fans deserve to stay awake at night like kids at Christmas, only this time around that man shimmying his way down their chimney won't be Santa, but Adrian Peterson.
Adrian Peterson is a man who I hope proves me wrong, but today Adrian Peterson is only fools gold. He will not win you a Superbowl like Cardinal and Cowboy fans so longingly desire. He will rob you of cap space, bring controversy with him, and in return only possibly provide you with a Wild Card playoff berth. He might even sell a few tickets along the way, but with the NFL's new tv deals, what percentage of revenues do those even provide now a days? Hopefully, Adrian Peterson gives us another comeback of the decade, but theres a reason why it's called a comeback of the decade. We can only have one and unfortunately for one of my favorite all time football players that oppurtunity has come and gone. If the Vikings won't give Peterson up for the right price, if they demand a ransom or if Peterson is to arrive without a restructured contract then why not instead just let the Vikings crash and burn trying to juggle his outrageous contract themselves. Peterson was never worth $86 million and in closing I don't even think any of the NFL's elite running backs are worth the $8 million annually they are getting today.