One position which has decreased in value over the length of the NFL is that of running back. Whilst teams have proven that a heavy rushing attack can still work in the NFL (49ers, Patriots, Ravens and Saints) but for all 3 of those teams, the individual running back is replaceable after a few seasons, or they use a committee throughout the season. Therefore, the value of each running back has decreased as we move towards an ever more pass heavy league.
Joe Mixon, gets paid:
The general rule with running backs is its fine to draft them high, just don’t give them a second contract. However, in some cases this is not the right choice and I am relieved that the Bengals have given Mixon this contract, especially as it’s a 4-year $48 million contract. This puts Mixon only 6th on the list of highest paid RBs which for one of the best RBs in the game is ridiculous. Mixon is being held back by the rest of the Bengals team, but with rookie NO.1 overall pick Joe Burrow occupying the QB spot, this team is only on the up. With Burrow’s 4-year rookie contract, this signing for Mixon won’t impact Burrow resigning. Mixon already has over 2 seasons with over 1100yds and has receiving potential, something which is essential for a modern-day RB (unless you’re Derrick Henry). The only RBs that I would sign for a second contract would be McCaffery, Barkley, Ekeler and Mixon. I’d add in Derrick Henry because the deal is essentially two years. This is because all of these (excluding Henry) are as good receivers as they are at rushing. Players like Dalvin Cook have the talent but I wouldn’t trust him to stay healthy; I also believe that Elliot’s trade value would exceed hi production on the field. Therefore, Mixon is part of an elite group on a bottom-feeder team, but they are only on the up. One name I left out that I would pay is Alvin Kamara.
Alvin Kamara, cap issues:
The main issue for the Saints with Kamara is that pesky lack of cap space. They are expected to be over $30 million over the cap (before cap cuts/restructuring). Kamara splashed onto the scene his rookie year, the 3rd round rookie took off totalling over 1500 all-purpose yards. He was lethal on the field, but he would be at least $12 million a year and that’s something the Saints surely can’t afford. This is made even worse by the priority of resigning right tackle Ryan Ramczyk who is completely irreplaceable. I would resign Kamara, and I believe the Saints would and will (and reports sound like they are) try everything to do so, I just don’t think they can without hurting the team more in the future.
Leonard Fournette, another piece for the Bucs:
BLOW IT UP! That seems to be the motto of the 2020 Jags. After getting rid of Tom Coughlin and his ridiculous use of fines to just annoy and irritate the Jags players, the Jags had to also offload players who didn’t trust the organisation anymore. With that, Ngakoue is now in Minnesota and the Jags netted two draft picks for it (2nd and 5th). After also offloading team leader Calais Campbell it was clear that this team is going for the NO.1 pick in the next draft. They have just 3 players remaining from the 2017 AFC Championship team. They tried to offload Fournette for something, even just a 5th or a 6th, but no one would bite so they had to cut him. Now, Fournette has ended up on a roster that is the opposite of the Jags, a BUILD IT UP! Roster of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are building a super team for the two years they have Brady and the former 4th overall pick is another brick in the wall. He is a power runner that can complement the speed of Jones. I don’t think he will make an impact in the fist 4 weeks but come the end of the season and the playoffs, the Bucs will use his punishing play to take advantage of the fatigue-filled defences late in the season.
Adrian Peterson, the veteran:
The possible end or one of the greatest careers? I doubt it. Peterson will carve out a Frank Gore like role for the next 2 or 3 seasons. What this shows is confidence in rookie Antoine Gibson. The rookie out of Memphis will have to fill the void left by Peterson because Peyton Barber won’t and if Bryce Love could, I doubt the coaches would have faith injury-wise. Washington now have Haskins, Gibson, McLaurin and Sims. This is going to be a young and exciting team under Riverboat Ron, also don’t forget that defence with Chase Young.
Cam Akers, the young gun:
Akers is very underrated. He was the top high school running back but made what can be considered a mistake by committing to Florida State. He was consistently hit behind the line of scrimmage and had to carry a dyer passing attack. He will be the top running back on the roster, he’ll beat out Henderson is he hasn’t already. Akers is a special running back, the issue is he is on a team with a subpar QB and an average at best O-Line. But with McVay at that helm of play calling, he will find a way to get the ball to Akers, he will have a breakout rookie year and be great running back for the next few years.