By Ari McCoy ’17
Adrian Peterson: former MVP and 2015 NFL rushing yards leader. Jamaal Charles: the top rusher in Kansas City Chiefs history. LeGarrette Blount: last year’s rushing touchdowns leader and the top rusher for the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. All of these players share one thing in common: they are just over 30 and without a team.
Two years ago, Peterson and Charles were considered dominant backs who would be in high demand until their careers were finished. Even after previous injuries, both had bounced back for All-Pro level seasons. However, after two consecutive injury riddled seasons the past two years for both players, their markets have become barren. Peterson listed off potential teams of choice for the media, none of which have made an offer, while Charles sat by idly, waiting for teams to call his agent. With the main signing period passed, we are still waiting for our former MVP candidates to find homes.
Legarrette Blount has been a polarizing player since his college days, as a graduate of the highly publicized “Last Chance U” before finishing his collegiate career at Oregon and entering the draft. His incredible highlight plays have mixed with troubling off the field issues, including a marijuana scandal before the 2013 season that led to his release from the Steelers. But after multiple quality seasons with the New England Patriots since the incident, and no off the field issues, it is a surprise the Pro Bowler hasn’t received more, or any, interest.
There are a number of teams still needing a running back. Both the Patriots and New York Giants are still searching for a power back. Oakland only has two true backs on the roster, both entering their second year. Washington, Detroit and Green Bay all lack depth, power and experience, three traits the current market still has in spades.
Peterson heads to Green Bay and plays tandem to a younger player drafted in the middle rounds who can catch the ball out of the backfield. Two year deal worth $12 million with 7.5 guaranteed.
Charles waits it out until mid-July, where a team like the Giants or Redskins takes a chance with hope of a healthy season for a reduced workload Charles. One year deal $4 million, fully guaranteed if he makes the roster
Blount resigns with the Patriots soon before or after the draft to maintain a role similar to this past year in New England. One year $2.5 million with a $1 million potential maximum incentives bonus.
With those three off the table, that will most likely conclude the running back market unless Marshawn Lynch comes out of retirement, which appears unlikely at the moment. This year’s draft contains the best running back class in potentially the past decade. It will be interesting to see how the draft affects the veterans remaining on the market.