Adrian Peterson

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Sutton, Raiders

Clyde Edwards-Helaire will make his NFL debut Thursday night, doing so without the benefit of preseason carries. The Chiefs brought back both Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson to serve as his backups, but the defending Super Bowl champions considered a somewhat higher-profile RB2 option. A year after the Chiefs scooped up LeSean McCoy following his Bills release, they had interest in Adrian Peterson, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Peterson, who played under Eric Bieniemy from 2007-10 when the current Chiefs OC was the Vikings’ running backs coach, was interested in a Chiefs deal as well, per Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). COVID-19 testing and the team’s first game being on Thursday night nixed a potential partnership, Fowler adds. Peterson signed with the Lions on Sunday.

Ahead of the Chiefs kicking off the 2020 season in less than an hour, here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The Broncos have already lost their best defensive player for the season, in all likelihood, with Von Miller opting to undergo an ankle surgery that will require a months-long recovery process. They now have their top offensive talent dealing with an injury. Courtland Sutton went down during practice Thursday, suffering what an MRI determined to be an AC joint sprain, Mike Klis of 9News notes. While Sutton will be classified as day-to-day, the third-year wideout’s right shoulder malady has his status in doubt for the Broncos’ Monday-night opener against the Titans.
  • The Chiefs made a few mid-level moves to bolster their depth chart this year, from re-signing wideout Demarcus Robinson and backup quarterback Chad Henne to adding offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele, Daniel Kilgore and Mike Remmers. Kansas City, however, does enter the season with a thin cornerback group thanks to Kendall Fuller‘s Washington return and Bashaud Breeland‘s four-game suspension. GM Brett Veach confirmed the team considered signing a veteran early in camp but saw enough from fourth-round rookie L’Jarius Sneed and young replacement options Rashad Fenton and Antonio Hamilton to stick with the status quo, per Adam Teicher of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Lynn Bowden Jr.‘s Raiders tenure not lasting until Week 1 represented one of this summer’s more surprising developments, but the team viewed the third-round pick as ineffective on the field and a potential red flag off it. A lack of explosiveness contributed to the Raiders shipping Bowden to the Dolphins, according to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, who adds the team was also concerned about the Kentucky product’s off-field approach — particularly after the team’s move to Las Vegas (subscription required). The Raiders ate Bowden’s $985K signing bonus to send the gadget player to Miami.

Lions Sign Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson is back in the NFC North. After being released by Washington on Friday, the longtime Viking and future Hall-of-Fame running back is signing with the Lions, as veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson was first to report (Twitter link).

Per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Peterson’s deal with Detroit will be a one-year pact worth a minimum of $1.05MM, though there are incentives to push that number a bit higher (Twitter link). Sources tell Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that the deal will max out at $2.3MM and that the incentives are based upon yardage and touchdowns.

Although the Lions’ RB room is crowded, it also has a few question marks. The club selected Kerryon Johnson in the second round of the 2018 draft, and while he has shown flashes of promise, he has missed significant time over his first two years in the league due to knee injuries. Detroit added one of the best RB prospects in this year’s draft in Georgia product D’Andre Swift, but Swift missed nearly two weeks of training camp with a knee injury.

So there is definitely a possibility that Peterson could play a significant role, at least early on in the season as Swift tries to make up for lost time. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press believes Peterson will end up poaching more of Johnson’s expected work than Swift’s, including, perhaps, goal-line touches.

With the Lions, Peterson will reunite with Darrell Bevell, Detroit’s offensive coordinator who served in the same capacity with the Vikings during Peterson’s first four years in Minnesota (when he piled up four Pro Bowl nods and two First Team All-Pro selections). As Peterson told Anderson, “[the Lions are] giving me an opportunity to play. I know Coach Bevell from my days in Minnesota. Ultimately I feel comfortable going there and helping them to get better.”

Peterson, 35, has rushed for 14,216 yards, putting him roughly 1,000 yards behind Barry Sanders for fourth on the NFL’s all-time career list. He might not be the player he once was, but he did average a solid 4.2 yards per carry over the 2018-19 campaigns with Washington. Between him, Johnson, and Swift, the Lions should be able to improve upon the 103.1 rushing yards per game they mustered in 2019, which put them near the bottom third of the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Washington Releases Adrian Peterson

The Washington Football Team has released Adrian Peterson, per a club announcement. The timing of the move is a bit curious, as Peterson was projected to serve as the team’s leading running back.

Even with Derrius Guice out of the picture, Washington didn’t see a place for Peterson, who was set to earn $2.25MM in 2020. By releasing him, they’ll save ~$2.4MM against $750K in dead money. The backfield will now be led by third-round rookie Antonio Gibson with support from the talented and oft-injured Bryce Love. Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic round out the RB group.

Between 2018 and 2019, Peterson averaged a solid 4.2 yards per carry and suited up for 31 of a possible 32 games. For his career, Peterson has rushed for 14,216 yards, putting him roughly 1,000 yards behind Barry Sanders for fourth on the NFL’s all-time career list. As you might expect, the 35-year-old tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter) that he still wants to play. .

Peterson has racked up quite an odometer with 3,036 carries over the course of 13 seasons. Still, he remains productive, and insistent that he’s nowhere near the end.

I can see myself playing to 40,” Peterson said in December. “People look at that and say, ‘oh my god; that’s crazy.’ But they’ve been doing that for the past two years and surprise, surprise I’m still able to do it at a high level.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Ginn, Peterson, Eagles, Giants

Ted Ginn Jr. will enter the 2020 season as the league’s second-oldest wide receiver, behind Larry Fitzgerald, and the 35-year-old veteran did not find a new team until after the draft. But the Bears may have big plans for the veteran speed merchant. Ginn will likely be the outside starter opposite Allen Robinson, Adam Caplan of InsidetheBirds.com notes. The Bears entered the offseason concerned about their speed on offense, wanting more help beyond Tarik Cohen in that department. Ginn remains one of the NFL’s fastest receivers and may well be on the verge of starting for a fifth NFL team. After missing most of the Saints’ 2018 season, Ginn caught 30 passes for 421 yards in 2019.

The Bears also have 2019 draftee Riley Ridley, he of a 4.61-second 40-yard dash clocking at the Combine, and 2020 pick Darnell Mooney. The latter profiles as more intriguing through a speed lens, having blazed to a 4.38-second time this year. But thanks to the virtual offseason, Day 3 picks might have a tougher time acclimating than the already-difficult college-to-NFL jump brings.

Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • In the same piece, Caplan notes the expectation remains the Eagles will add a veteran to their running back corps. Philly has been linked to LeSean McCoy and Devonta Freeman. Both remain free agents. The Eagles pursued Carlos Hyde as well, but he opted for a Seahawks deal. If the Eagles determine they do not need help behind Miles Sanders, Boston Scott‘s pass-catching ability intrigued coaches last season more than his “OK” run-game chops, Caplan adds. Scott would be in line to be the team’s RB2, were it to stand pat at this spot.
  • Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but Adrian Peterson has no near-future retirement plans. The new play-until number is age 39, the running back told TMZ. Peterson’s Redskins contract expires at season’s end. Peterson (14,216 career rushing yards) is within striking distance of Barry Sanders (15,269) for fourth on the all-time rushing list this season, and if he is granted a 15th season in 2021, he would likely be a good bet to pass the Hall of Famer like Frank Gore did last season. Though, Sanders amassed that total in 10 seasons.
  • The Giants placed a second-round tender on kicker Aldrick Rosas this offseason, but after his arrest for an alleged hit and run, Rosas can probably be considered on thin ice. The fourth-year specialist should be considered unlikely to be Big Blue’s kicker this season, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes. There are plenty of kickers in free agency. Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Succop and Nick Folk are among the best available.

NFC East Notes: Baker, Redskins, Jeffery

DeAndre Baker‘s future with the Giants is up in the air after his arrest on eight charges stemming from an alleged armed robbery earlier this month. The Giants have told the cornerback to stay away from their offseason activities, but since they are unfolding in a virtual capacity, such a stance has a less noticeable effect. And Baker scored a victory this week. A judge approved a request by Baker’s attorney that will allow the second-year cornerback to leave the state, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. This would allow Baker to travel from Florida to New Jersey for Giants training camp. The Giants have kept Baker away from their voluntary virtual offseason since the incident but banning him from mandatory training camp would be a suspension. The team has not crossed that bridge yet.

Here is the latest from the NFC East, moving first to some of the happenings involving Washington’s offense:

  • Ron Rivera has said a shortened training camp would work in Kyle Allen‘s favor due to the recently acquired quarterback’s knowledge of Redskins OC Scott Turner‘s system. On Wednesday, however, Turner praised Dwayne Haskins‘ work during the team’s virtual program. “When we’re talking to him [on Zoom sessions], he’s speaking the language,” Turner said, via ESPN’s John Keim. “It’s pretty easy to tell if they get it or not. Dwayne’s doing a great job. You can tell he’s putting the work in away from the meeting time.” Being drafted by a different regime and having finished with Football Outsiders’ worst QBR figure last season, Haskins is already facing a critical season as he begins work under Rivera and Turner.
  • The Redskins signed Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic and drafted hybrid-type player Antonio Gibson in Round 3. They also employ Derrius Guice and Bryce Love, both of whom coming off injuries. Adrian Peterson‘s spot in Washington is not a given, despite the future Hall of Famer leading the Redskins in rushing the past two years. But Turner said (via NBC Sports Washington’s J.P. Finlay, on Twitter) he has “a ton” of respect for Peterson and that there is a role in his offense for “that type of back.” Peterson has never offered too much in the passing game, having not exceeded 300 receiving yards in a season since 2010. But the 35-year-old back surpassed four yards per carry in each of his two Washington seasons.
  • Coming off a Lisfranc injury, Eagles wideout Alshon Jeffery may not be ready for the season. Both Zach Berman and Bo Wulf of The Athletic (subscription required) expect the ninth-year wideout to start the year on the PUP list. This would shelve Jeffery for at least six weeks to start the season. The Eagles have shopped Jeffery in trades since last season and made several moves to add wideouts last month. But Jeffery’s contract makes a trade hard to envision.

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.

Redskins Exercise Adrian Peterson’s Option

The Redskins announced that they have exercised Adrian Peterson‘s option for the 2020 season. With that, they’ve committed to the legendary running back for his age-35 campaign. 

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Peterson will count for a $3.1MM hit against the Redskins’ 2020 cap. Had they declined the option, the Redskins would have saved $2.4MM.

In 2020, Peterson will be chasing history. He currently sits fifth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list and he can leapfrog Barry Sanders with another ~1,000 yards. That won’t be easy to do, but Peterson ran for 1,042 yards in his first season with the Redskins and notched 898 yards on the ground last year.

Peterson has had his ups and downs, but he staved off Father Time in 2019. Last year, he played in 15 games and averaged 4.3 yards per tote. At the same time, Derrius Guice was limited to just five games and there are serious question marks about his status given his longstanding medical history.

Bringing back Peterson solves one part of the Redskins’ RB puzzle. They still have to figure out what they’ll do with pass-catching specialist Chris Thompson, who is slated for free agency. The Redskins will also have to keep an eye on 2019 fourth-round pick Bryce Love who has yet to play an NFL down thanks to his pre-draft ACL tear.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins To Keep Adrian Peterson?

It’s not a sure thing just yet, but the Redskins are likely to exercise Adrian Peterson‘s option for the 2020 season, according to a source that spoke with ESPN.com’s John Keim. If the option is triggered, Peterson will count for a $3.1MM cap hit. If they decline it, they’ll save $2.4MM. 

[RELATED: James Bradberry Eyeing Redskins?]

Despite his advanced age, Peterson has been one of the Redskins’ most durable players in recent seasons. That’s key, especially given the question marks surrounding the health of Derrius Guice. The LSU product is immensely talented, but he’s undergone three knee surgeries over the last couple of years.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Redskins’ RB room is in flux – pass-catching specialist Chris Thompson is ticketed for free agency and 2019 fourth-round pick Bryce Love has yet to play thanks to a pre-draft ACL tear.

Peterson, a four-time first-team All-Pro, has averaged more than 4.0 yards per carry for the Redskins. He’s also racked up quite an odometer – Peterson has carried the ball 3,036 times over the course of 13 seasons. In March, he’ll celebrate his 35th birthday, though he has expressed a desire to play up until the age of 40.

Currently fifth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, Peterson is 1,000 yards shy of toppling Barry Sanders for No. 4.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Peterson Can See Playing Until Age 40

Adrian Peterson has consistently said he wants to push the boundaries for his position and play into the next decade. At the conclusion of his 13th season, the 34-year-old running back set a loftier goal.

I can see myself playing to 40,” Peterson said, via NFL.com’s Jane Slater (Twitter link). “People look at that and say, ‘oh my god; that’s crazy.’ But they’ve been doing that for the past two years and surprise, surprise I’m still able to do it at a high level.”

A three-time rushing champion and four-time first-team All-Pro, Peterson has found a home with the Redskins after a lengthy stay in free agency. The future Hall of Famer has rushed for 1,862 yards and 12 touchdowns in two Washington seasons, averaging north of 4.0 yards per carry in each. Peterson is sitting on 842 yards this year, one when the Redskins again saw top running back Derrius Guice battle injuries.

The Redskins signed Peterson to a two-year, $5.03MM deal in March. Guice’s issues may well prompt Washington to bring Peterson back for 2020.

Playing even into his late 30s will be a lofty goal. Thirty-seven has been the ceiling for true tailbacks, with Marcus Allen being the most recent to get there. Allen, though, saw his role minimized in his final Raiders seasons and was part of a committee with the Chiefs. He logged 3,022 carries in 16 seasons; Peterson is at 3,023 in Year 13. Frank Gore could well play into his age-37 season, however; he’s at 3,542 totes.

Peterson sits fifth on the league’s all-time rushing list — two spots behind Gore. He needs over 1,000 more yards to move past Barry Sanders for fourth. While getting to 40 seems highly unrealistic, Peterson looks to exit this season in better shape than he did in 2016 or ’17. A knee injury slowed him during his final Minnesota slate, and he spent 2017 in New Orleans and Arizona, finishing that season on IR before a five-month free agency stay. Peterson, however, has missed just one game in two Washington seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Eagles, Haskins, Jets, Giants

With the Giants both buying and hoping to sell at this year’s deadline, after making their first trade with the Jets, here’s the latest from the NFC East with barely 24 hours remaining for 2019 trade talks:

  • Now that the Eagles are back at .500, they are considering being buyers before Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline. After their double-digit win in Buffalo, the Eagles could be in play for “something fun” before this year’s deadline, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The Eagles have been linked to cornerbacks, being the Jalen Ramsey silver medalists, and may be in need at wide receiver. Although, Doug Pederson said DeSean Jackson is expected to practice this week.
  • Adrian Peterson may or may not have directly addressed Dwayne Haskins‘ performance issues with the rookie quarterback, with Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reporting the veteran Redskins running back told Haskins after Thursday night’s loss to study the playbook more thoroughly (video link). While not denying he went to Haskins directly, Peterson addressed the matter on Twitter by saying he believes in the first-round prospect. In two relief appearances, Haskins has thrown no touchdown passes and four interceptions this season.
  • The conditional 2021 fifth-rounder the Giants dealt to the Jets for Leonard Williams would become a fourth-rounder if the G-Men extend Williams before free agency, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes. While the Giants may have a wink-wink agreement in place with Williams, in order to sign him after the start of the 2020 league year to preserve that fourth-round pick, that’s far from certain — especially for a player who has struggled in recent years.
  • While the Giants acquired Williams, they are also looking unload Janoris Jenkins and Alec Ogletree.