Adrian Peterson is going to hit the open market, and while he’ll be a tempting acquisition, the Oakland Raiders should pass on signing the veteran running back.
Perhaps the most notable name on the entire free agent market is Adrian Peterson — arguably the best running back of this generation are a surefire future first-ballot Hall of Famer. And as tempting as he may be to sign, the Oakland Raiders should pass on adding the veteran back.
First, let’s start with the appeal, and why he’ll be difficult to resist.
With Latavius Murray expected to leave town via a hefty payday, the Raiders will need a power back to replace him. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard seem to both have bright futures, but they are similar in stature and largely similar in style. They aren’t exactly complements to each other — thus, the need for a third back.
Peterson, of course, fits the bill. As a feared runner who has made his fair share of highlight reels via “the truck stick”, A.P. has no problem lowering the boom and fighting for yards through contact. Exactly what the Raiders need.
And if he is healthy, which seems like a big if these days, he could be enough to help put the Raiders over the top. In a window that is wide open for a Super Bowl, a player of his caliber could be the difference between having or not having a ring.
Last but not least, as a back going on 32 years old, coming off another season in which he spent the majority of the year on injured reserve, in theory, the price tag might be reasonable.
But let’s get to the cons of signing Peterson, and why the Raiders should pass on bringing him on board.
Spotrac has a new market value tool, and they estimate A.P. to command a deal worth $4.5M annually. They say three years, but seems quite generous. Not outrageous money if that’s accurate, but it feels like a low estimate. Simply put, his asking price is going to be too much.
The next concern with signing Peterson is his injury history, which at his age and tenure, is quite extensive at this point. He’s got a lot of tread on those tires.
- 2004 – Dislocated shoulder, which required surgery
- 2006 – Fractured collarbone
- 2011 – Torn ACL
- 2012 – Sports Hernia surgery
- 2014 – Another Sports Hernia surgery (a clean-up)
- 2016 – Torn meniscus
Not to mention several foot and ankle sprains, hamstrings and a handful of other injuries. He’s hardly a young man with a clean bill of health.
Having the torn meniscus happen last year of course stands out, given it’s recency. But even before the injury, in the three games Peterson played in 2016, he averaged a paltry 1.9 yards per carry.
So even while healthy, it already looked like Father Time had gotten the best of A.P. And as we all know, Father Time remains undefeated.
Finally, Peterson simply isn’t a good fit for Oakland’s offense. Part of his struggles in the three games he played last season were due to the Vikings running their offense out of shotgun. Something Peterson was noticeably and vocally uncomfortable with.
And which team like to run a good amount of their offense out of shotgun? None other than our Oakland Raiders.
In shotgun, obviously outside of executing any run plays called, backs have to be quality pass blockers and a threat to catch passes out of the backfield. Peterson is neither.
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So, to summarize:
Adrian Peterson will be 32. Production for running backs generally falls off a cliff at age 30.
Extensive injury history, including the recent torn meniscus.
Too high of a price tag, and likely seeking a multi-year deal.
Bad fit for the offense. Struggles to operate out of shotgun, not a good pass blocker and not a pass-catching option out of the backfield.
So as tempting as it may be to add the “big name”, the Raiders should pass on adding Peterson. Instead, as Reggie McKenzie has proven with Latavius Murray, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, he should find his next back in the NFL Draft.