The Minnesota Vikings announced on Tuesday that the team does not plan on picking up star running back Adrian Peterson’s $18 million contract option for the 2017 season.
Official statement from Vikings on release of RB Adrian Peterson: pic.twitter.com/0nrHIQcnyz— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 28, 2017
Peterson is coming off yet another major injury suffered in the 2016 season, a season that saw the 31 year old play in just three games. With the Ravens in need of a running back, should the team consider adding Peterson?
The decision for general manager Ozzie Newsome comes down to one word: money. Adrian Peterson remains a huge name, and his prior successes could warrant more money than the Ravens are willing to pay. It’s unlikely that Peterson will get anywhere near the $18 million salary he could have received if the Vikings picked up his option, but he could very well receive a salary higher than the Ravens are willing to pay. In addition, teams in need of a running back, like the Redskins and Packers, could become desperate and pay Peterson more than most would value him.
On the other hand, Rotoworld reported that, "According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, several GMs have balked at the idea of paying Adrian Peterson $5 million on a one-year contract.
It looks like Peterson is nearing the end of his tenure with Minnesota, but that doesn't mean he'll be greeted with open arms once he becomes a free agent. Per La Canfora, teams have "real concerns" about Peterson's durability and question whether he'd be willing to take on a backup role. When asked about Peterson's free agent prospects, one GM told La Canfora, "it only takes one team to do something stupid." Despite his Hall of Fame credentials, it seems like most GMs view the current version of Peterson as an injury-prone liability."
For these reasons, Peterson’s price very well could drop. The longer Peterson sits on the market the better chance the Ravens have of signing him. Newsome will only sign the injury prone former star if his price drops enough.
In addition, former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was released on Tuesday.
Charles has had similar injury problems to Peterson. In fact Charles injury issues may be even more concerning than Peterson’s.
Jamaal Charles Rush Attempts – Last 5 Seasons— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 28, 2017
Charles is 30 years old, and was set to incur a cap hit of over $6 million next season. The Chiefs have seemed to move on from Charles as, when he was healthy, Spencer Ware remained the starting running back.
Charles market will be nearly identical to Peterson’s. Some GM’s who are in desperate need of a running back may be willing to dish out more money than most for Charles, but most will have concerns over his injury history. I’d be surprised if Charles receives more than a one year deal worth $4 million or less.
Either Peterson or Charles could provide a jolt to the Ravens running game, but if the Ravens sign either, that running back has to stay healthy, and has to come cheap.