Release Candidate: Redskins RB Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson has big plans for 2020. The 35-year-old is 1,054 rushing yards away from passing Barry Sanders on the league’s all-time board and he believes that he might have enough gas in the tank to overtake Emmitt Smith’s No. 1 position. In February, the Redskins exercised his option for 2020, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the veteran will be in D.C. this year. 

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Peterson was already facing backfield competition from Derrius Guice and Bryce Love when the Redskins picked up his option, but the RB depth chart became even more crowded in the spring. First, the Redskins signed former Buc Peyton Barber to a two-year, $3MM free agent deal. Then, in April, they used a third-round pick to select Antonio Gibson out of Memphis. Gibson, a young and sure-handed playmaker, more or less has his roster spot cemented. That leaves no more than three – and, possibly, only two – running back spots up for grabs. Peterson, one of the most electrifying rushers the game has ever seen, could be the odd man out.

Peterson is set to earn $2.25MM in base pay this year, but the Redskins can drop him without much fiscal penalty. Cutting Peterson would leave the Redskins with just $750K in dead money, versus $2.48MM in savings. Would that be the smart move? There’s a case to be made in both directions. Peterson offers veteran leadership for the Redskins’ inexperienced backfield and could serve as a safety net for Guice if the former LSU star gets sidelined again. He’s also delivered for the last two years in D.C., despite the skeptics who said he was washed up. Between 2018 and 2019, Peterson has averaged a solid 4.2 yards per carry while suited up for 31 of a possible 32 games.

Ultimately, we expect the Redskins to do what’s best for business. Or, at least, what they think will be best for business. If the rest of the Redskins’ RB room stays healthy through training camp, Peterson could easily wind up on the curb this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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36 comments on “Release Candidate: Redskins RB Adrian Peterson

  1. Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    Well the Raiders made an offer to Frank Gore. so maybe they will take a look at AP
    He might be a good back up to Josh Jacobs
    Wouldn’t be a bad idea really

  2. abssamanta

    Even as an Eagles fan and having seen him run for that 90 yd TD, I do want him to pass Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. Dude is a legend and he’s been able to play at a high level despite his age, so I am kind of rooting for him to beat records lol. If the Redskins do release him, hopefully someone else, who will actually give him a chance to get enough playing time for him to break records, picks him up.

    • I wonder what kind of career totals Barry Sanders would have put up if he had played as long as Peterson has. His stats are mind-blowing, particularly when you consider the generally mediocre Lions teams he played on. It’s also unfortunate that Peterson missed so much time to injury and suspension…if not for those factors he’d probably already be the all-time rushing leader

      • warwhatisitgoodfor

        I feel Barry would have made that yardage total closer to 20k if he had played as long as Emmitt did. Less than 5k in 4 seasons feels like a gimme Total for what Barry would have ended with.

      • uberalec

        Could wonder the same thing for Peterson. Guys missed two full seasons in his absolute dead prime, that would’ve been before his 30th birthday. Peterson could easily be approaching Smith right now if so.

        It’s also very unfortunate that Sanders & Peterson played with such poor stretches of teams. Both their whole career faced stacked boxes. Which is just insane to imagine with AD considering how pass happy the league is now.

        • cka2nd

          Hi missed his 29 yo season and his 31 yo season, so maybe not quite his prime, but he did sandwich an almost 1,500-yard season in between, so my guess is he has an extra 2,500 or so yards on his record if he had been able to play them both.

  3. afsooner02

    AD at 35 is still better than guice and love in their primes. If the skins release him and roll the dice on their always injured RBs, then AD will find work somewhere else.

    • Unless I’m mistaken, Guice and Love haven’t even approached their primes yet. A little early to be passing that judgement, I would say. Check back in 5 years

          • warwhatisitgoodfor

            But most running backs break out before their rookie contracts are up- Guice and Love running out of time for that with their missed injury opportunities

          • phillyballers

            Most RBs fall off in their 2nd contract. Aka Years 5 or 6 and beyond. So prime is Years 1-4/5.

          • cka2nd

            Wellllll…Gale Sayers and Earl Campbell might disagree, but it would be a debate, it’s not clearcut.

            Ottis (O.J.) Anderson, though, he pretty much hit the ground running.

    • jkoms57

      I remember when Bryce Love was supposed to be the next big thing.

      Might finally be ready to show what he got

  4. Stillers12

    I don’t see it. He still runs with purpose and loves the game. You can’t teach that to young players, but you can show them examples of it. 2.5 mil for a guy who will carry the ball as much as you want to hand it to him? No way he’s going anywhere.

    • Bill Baldy

      AP has lost that top gear though. Sometimes to me he looks stiff as a board. He now has to run exclusively between the tackles to get any momentum at all.
      And I’ll bet with all that muscle that guy has that he probably is in top shape closer to 230 lbs as a 35 year old and that’s a lot of muscle and bulk to move at 4.4 second 40 like 2007-20015. He just isn’t the same back.

    • jkoms57

      Might be more letting Guice and Love blossom.

      AD can still play for sure, but maybe not the right role or team for him.

      Could be better alongside another experienced back or handle a heavy load for a team with injuries in the backfield.

      Redskins are clearly rebuilding, and taking snaps from Guice and Love might be counter productive.

  5. uberalec

    At his peak, AD is as good of a back to ever walk this planet… And really a football player for that matter. If the league is less “pass happy”, or in any other generation, he is the 2nd coming of Jim Brown.

    Dude almost broke Dickerson’s record with FAR fewer rushes, in a pass happy league 7 months off of total reconstructive knee surgery, with a god awful Christian Ponder as his QB.

    • cka2nd

      A great runner, no doubt, but a mediocre receiver and an erratic blocker (I’ve seen him stand up and knock back blitzers, and whiff at them).

      And he only had 31 carries less than Dickerson, 348 to 379, 6.0 ypc to 5.6 ypc. You might be confusing Dickerson’s two thousand-yard season with the three other seasons he actually had more carries. Peterson only had one other season with more carries than his 2,000-yard year.

  6. Simmons>Russ

    Should join a team like the Chiefs were he will get some minutes but also gives him a chance at getting a ring.
    He would be a great leader for that rookie they took in the draft.

    • jkoms57

      Minutes? Someone’s an nba fan in the wrong forum.

      And no hed be a terrible fit on the Chiefs.

      Remember how Shady did? Now imagine that with no hands in a pass heavy offense

  7. crosseyedlemon

    Only Miami ran less than the Redskins last season so AP won’t be passing Sanders by staying in DC.

  8. Appalachian_Outlaw

    Cutting AP wouldn’t be smart. Guice has the talent to handle the job, but he’s been snakebit with injuries. He needs to prove he can stay on the field, and the other guys need to prove they could outperform AP. Until then, AP is money well spent.

    • jkoms57

      But aren’t they tanking and seeing what they got in the young guys?

      AD just gets in the way of other players values , and he wont be happy taking a limited role

      • Appalachian_Outlaw

        I don’t buy that they’re tanking, at least not Dolphins-level tanking. I think there’s too much pride in that organization to lay down to that extreme. They still may end up 2-14, but it won’t be an intentional plan.

  9. Bill Baldy

    if the Skins drop AP then I’d like to see him return to the New Orleans Saints. I believe he would have killed it back in 2017 with the saints but they had Ingram and the rookie and AP got impatient and went to the Cardinals..

  10. Bill Baldy

    AP has lost that top gear though. Sometimes to me he looks stiff as a board. He now has to run exclusively between the tackles to get any momentum at all.
    And I’ll bet with all that muscle that guy has that he probably is in top shape closer to 230 lbs as a 35 year old and that’s a lot of muscle and bulk to move at 4.4 second 40 like 2007-20015. He just isn’t the same back.

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