Adrian Peterson

Saints Notes: Butler, AP, Ingram, Snead

New Orleans hasn’t “really had any discussions for quite some time” about acquiring Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, according to Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, while head coach Sean Payton notes that the 27-year-old is “with New England, and I don’t think anything has changed. I don’t see anything being imminent as well (links via Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com).” Their statements came on the heels of a report suggesting the Pats are unlikely to trade Butler, whom the Saints have chased throughout the offseason. New Orleans courted Butler as a restricted free agent and even agreed to a multiyear contract with him, but the club doesn’t want to meet the Patriots’ asking price for the onetime Pro Bowler.

More from New Orleans:

  • Running back Mark Ingram posted a career year in 2016, rushing for 1,043 yards with a 5.1 YPC, catching 46 passes and combining for 10 touchdowns. Now, thanks to the Saints’ addition of seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson, Ingram will have to share a backfield with a higher-profile rusher. Nevertheless, Ingram is glad to have Peterson on the roster. “I’m all about winning, man,” Ingram said (via Teope). “If this will help us win, I’m all about winning. I’m all for it.” Ingram added that he’s “been sharing the ball with one or two, maybe three guys” since New Orleans drafted him in 2011. That has indeed been the case, as the likes of Pierre Thomas, Tim Hightower and Darren Sproles have gotten plenty of carries during the Ingram era. Hightower picked up 133 last year, for instance, but it didn’t stop Ingram from thriving.
  • Even though Peterson’s a 32-year-old coming off an injury-marred season, signing him carries little risk for the Saints, opines Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Triplett expects Peterson to have a bigger role in New Orleans than Hightower did, but he notes that Payton is excellent at allocating playing time to multiple running backs. In Triplett’s estimation, Payton’s expertise with RBs likely added to the Saints’ allure for Peterson.
  • Loomis indicated Wednesday that he’s unsure if the Saints’ contract talks with wide receiver Willie Snead will lead to a deal, though he seems optimistic. “He’s here working and I don’t anticipate issues with Willie going forward,” Loomis said (via Herbie Teope of NOLA.com). “I’m excited that he’s here. Look, he’s been a good player, a good contributor to our team and expect him to be our team for a long time.” While Snead could be on the Saints’ books at a relatively meager $615K this year in the absence of a new pact, he still hasn’t signed his exclusive rights free agent tender. Regardless, he’s not eligible for unrestricted free agency until after the 2018 season.

Saints Sign Adrian Peterson

It’s a done deal. The Saints have signed Adrian Peterson, according to a team announcement. It’s a two-year deal with a base value of $7MM, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (via these Twitter links). Peterson gets $3.5MM guaranteed at signing for 2017 and a totally non-guaranteed $3.5MM for 2018. If he plays out the contract and reaches all of his incentives, the total value could get as high as $15.25MM. Adrian Peterson (Vertical)

I am excited to be joining the New Orleans Saints. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity,” Peterson said in a statement to Anderson (Twitter link). “Most importantly, I chose this team because it just felt right within my spirit. Additionally, my wife and family added their confirmation with the same feelings. On offense, it goes without saying that the Saints are really solid behind Drew Brees. I feel like my skill set can make them even more dominant as a unit. They have a great offensive line, which is something that stood out to me as well. I could tell from talking to head coach Sean Payton over the last two weeks that he did his due diligence in evaluating how I could contribute. I also did a lot of homework on the defense as well. While I know that injuries have played a role in performance, I also see areas of potential with a lot of younger guys having the ability to step up. Lastly, it goes without saying that the Saints have an amazing fan base and I look forward to making them proud and creating everlasting memories.”

The expectation now is that Peterson will serve as the main complement to top running back Mark Ingram. The 32-year-old missed the majority of the 2016 season, but he was highly productive in 2015 and he has been able to come back from devastating injuries in the past. After signing Peterson, the Saints can use their impressive stockpile of draft picks in the first three rounds to address other holes (primarily on defense) while leaving the running back position alone.

After the Vikings declined Peterson’s option, he was linked to a whole host of contenders. However, it turned out that teams like the Seahawks, Patriots, Packers, and Giants only had tepid interest in him. Peterson has every reason to play with a chip on his shoulder this season and he should be extra motivated for New Orleans’ season opener against the Vikings.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints, Adrian Peterson Nearing Deal

The Saints and Adrian Peterson are believed to be closing in on a deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The pact would pay him $3.25MM in the coming year with the potential to earn about $1MM through incentives (Twitter link). It’s not a done deal, Rapoport cautions, but things are moving in that direction. Adrian Peterson (Vertical)

Earlier today, it was reported that the Saints were still considering Peterson. Apparently, things have heated up to the point where a deal is in sight. Peterson was reportedly willing to play for $5MM or less in the “right situation” and that asking price may have been worked down over time. Given his age and injury history, Peterson was not left with a lot of leverage at this stage of the offseason. If Peterson remained on the market past the draft, his pool of suitors would have shrank significantly.

Peterson, 32, appeared in only three games last season, compiling 72 yards on 37 carries. However, Peterson was excellent in 2015, when he led the NFL in both rushing attempts (327) and yards (1,485).

At present, New Orleans has four running backs on it roster: Mark Ingram, Travaris Cadet, Daniel Lasco, and Marcus Murphy. If signed, Peterson would slot behind Ingram but presumably still get a decent number of carries.

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Saints Still In On Adrian Peterson

The Saints are still very much involved with Adrian Peterson, according to Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune (on Twitter). The two sides still talking about a short-term deal to bring him to New Orleans. Adrian Peterson

[RELATED: Giants Monitoring Adrian Peterson, LeGarrette Blount]

Peterson is reportedly willing to play for $5MM or less in the “right situation” and the Saints could be one of the clubs that fits the bill for him. Although they’re coming off of a down year, the Saints have the pieces in place to contend as well as a winning culture. They have significant holes to fill on defense, but they would be in solid shape offensively with the addition of Peterson.

Peterson met with the Saints earlier in April and reportedly looked explosive during a workout session with the Patriots. The Giants, meanwhile, are still monitoring No. 28. We know that there’s at least a couple of teams with interest in Peterson, but it’s not clear if any club is willing to commit to him in advance of this week’s draft. With younger and cheaper talent readily available, Peterson will likely have to wait until at least May to find his next NFL home.

If Peterson does sign with the Saints, his first regular season game will come against the Vikings in Week 1.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Monitoring Adrian Peterson, LeGarrette Blount

The Giants are among the clubs keeping an eye on free agent running backs Adrian Peterson and LeGarrette Blount, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Specifically, New York is waiting to see if either Peterson or Blount’s contract demands decrease before the draft.NFL: Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams

Peterson has been linked to the Giants before, as head coach Ben McAdoo said “never say never” in response to a possible Peterson inquiry (previous reports had indicated Peterson was not a fit for Big Blue). Having visited the Seahawks, Patriots, and Saints, Peterson is still without a contract and is thought to be waiting until after the draft to find a new team. The 32-year-old reportedly looked “explosive” during a workout in New England, and may be willing to accept $5MM or less to play in the “right situation.”

Blount, meanwhile, hasn’t generated anything close to the market that has Peterson, as the only team that’s even remotely shown interest in Blount is Seattle. Although he reportedly had an offer on the table to return to New England, the Patriots’ dalliance with Bills restricted free agent back Mike Gillislee may change the status of that proposal. If Buffalo doesn’t match New England’s offer sheet to Gillislee and he heads to the Patriots, Blount likely will have lost his chance to re-sign with the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Giants did make one change to their running back corps this offseason, swapping out veteran Rashad Jennings for ex-49er Shaun Draughn, who signed a one-year deal. New York also boasts Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, and George Winn in the backfield.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Adrian Peterson Willing To Play For Less Than $5MM?

Free agent running back Adrian Peterson is willing to play for $5MM or less in the “right situation,” according to Peter King of the TheMMQB.com.Adrian Peterson

Which club would represent that ideal situation is presently unclear, as King reports there’s no “leader in the clubhouse” for Peterson at the moment. The Saints, per King, stand out as a good fit given New Orleans’ closeness to Peterson’s home in Houston. Peterson met with the Saints earlier this month, and he’d give the team another option in a backfield that currently includes Mark Ingram, Travaris Cadet, and others.

Peterson, of course, has also visited with the Patriots, and reportedly looked explosive during a workout session in New England. The Patriots’ backfield is especially crowded, as offseason addition Rex Burkhead joined a stable comprised of Dion Lewis, James White, Brandon Bolden, and D.J. Foster. New England also has an offer out to LeGarrette Blount, who led the league in rushing touchdowns a year ago.

The 32-year-old Peterson isn’t expected to sign a new deal until after the draft, but his openness to inking a deal at a reduced rate could open up his market. Previously, Peterson took to Twitter to reject claims he was seeking in excess of $8MM annually.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Adrian Peterson

Things might be looking up for Adrian Peterson. The veteran running back impressed the Patriots in his recent workout as he looked fast and explosive, Ed Werder of ESPN.com hears (Twitter link). Werder adds that the Saints might look to sign him before the draft, if the two sides can agree on money. Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) says a deal is not expected to come together in the next couple of weeks.Adrian Peterson (vertical)

The Saints were the third club to host Peterson this offseason, following meetings with Seahawks and Patriots. The Saints reportedly did not put Peterson through a workout, but it sounds like they have real interest in signing him anyway. Adding Peterson before the draft would allow the Saints to put even more focus on building the defense and would give them a strong 1-2 combo with Mark Ingram.

The Saints can only spend so much for Peterson, but at this point, the running back probably can’t do much better than a one-year deal with a modest base salary. At least with the Saints, Peterson can see a realistic path to contention, even though they’re coming off of a challenging 2016.

Photo via Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Falcons, Saints, Bucs, Texans

The Falcons expect to lock up Devonta Freeman with an extension in the coming months, but the running back told Sporting News’ Alex Marvez he won’t skip the team’s offseason football activities if a new deal doesn’t come. “I’m doing everything,” said Freeman. “I love these guys. I love football.” Freeman was planning to seek “elite” money as of January, though it’s unclear if that remains the case. For now, he’s in line to make just under $1.8MM next season – the final year of his rookie contract – after combining for 2,100-plus rushing yards, 27 touchdowns (22 on the ground, five receiving) and 127 catches from 2015-16.

More from the South divisions:

  • When free agent running back Adrian Peterson visited the Patriots earlier this month, they put him through a workout. That wasn’t the case with the Saints, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Peterson’s meeting with the Saints reportedly “went well,” and it seems each side has interest in working out an agreement.
  • Florida State running back Dalvin Cook is on his way to Tampa Bay to visit the Buccaneers, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Cook, who was college teammates with Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston in 2014, joins Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon as the second draft-bound runner Tampa Bay has eyed in the past week. Cook figures to come off the board in the first round. The Buccaneers are slated to pick 19th.
  • The Saints hosted UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley on Monday, according to SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Even though he’s amid a monthslong recovery from shoulder surgery, McKinley could go in the opening round, where New Orleans has two selections (Nos. 11 and 32). McKinley’s coming off a 10-sack season, one-third of the Saints’ 27th-ranked total from 2016.
  • Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp visited the Texans on Wednesday, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The guard seems likely to come off the board somewhere in the 20s, which is in the neighborhood of the Texans’ pick (No. 25). In Houston, Lamp would presumably unseat left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, who has disappointed since going 44th overall in 2014. Although Su’a-Filo started a career-high 15 games last season, Pro Football Focus ranked him as one of the NFL’s worst guards.

No Deal Yet Between Saints, Adrian Peterson

The Saints’ meeting with free agent running back Adrian Peterson has concluded, and while no contract has yet been reached, the two parties plan to keep in contact, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds the visit “went well.”NFL: Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams

[RELATED: Jahri Evans Wants To Continue Career]

New Orleans is the third club to host Peterson this offseason, joining the Seahawks and the Patriots, but the veteran back still hasn’t landed a new contract. Peterson, 32, is one of only four PFR Top 50 free agents that remains unsigned, and he’s the best running back left on the market. It’s unclear if price point is the key factor in Peterson’s unending availability, but Peterson himself has rejected the notion that he’s seeking $8MM per year.

The Saints, at first glance, don’t stand out as a logical suitor for Peterson. Quarterback Drew Brees leads a wide-open offense that finished second in the NFL in pass attempts last season, while Peterson’s main demerits remain his pass protection skills, his receiving ability, and his capacity to play in the shotgun.

At present, New Orleans has four running backs on it roster: Mark Ingram, Travaris Cadet, Daniel Lasco, and Marcus Murphy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Rams, Peterson, Lions, Bucs

The Rams have made some major changes to their scouting department. According to Jason La Canfora (via Twitter), the team has informed four evaluators that they won’t be back next season. This includes Director of Pro Personnel Ran Carthon, who had held that role for the past five seasons.

Meanwhile, Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague.com reports (via Twitter) that area scouts Danton Barto, Evan Ardoin and Sean Gustus have also been dismissed. The trio had spent a combined 17 years with the organization.

While the timing may be curious, Michael Gehlken of ProFootballTalk.com notes that the Browns made a similar move around this time last season.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Free agent running back Adrian Peterson has confirmed to ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson that he will indeed be meeting with the Saints (Twitter link). The veteran will travel to New Orleans on Monday and visit with the Saints on Tuesday. The 32-year-old appeared in only three games last season, compiling 72 yards on 37 carries. The Saints are currently rostering four running backs in Mark IngramTravaris Cadet, Daniel Lasco, and Marcus Murphy.
  • Laken Tomlinson, the Lions‘ first-round pick in 2015, started 14 games as a rookie and entered the 2016 campaign as the club’s starting left guard. However, he eventually lost his job to rookie Graham Glasgow and only returned to the starting lineup when Glasgow was shifted to center to fill in for the injured Travis Swanson. Glasgow will enter 2017 as the favorite to be the starting left guard, and given that Detroit is also high on guard Joe Dahl, who was selected in the fifth round of last year’s draft, Tomlinson may be fighting just to stay on the roster, as Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes. Making things more difficult for him is the fact that Glasgow and Dahl were selected by current GM Bob Quinn, who inherited Tomlinson from the previous regime. Just last week, Quinn indicated that Tomlinson would not be cut prior to training camp, but a poor performance over the summer could certainly lead to his ouster.
  • We learned earlier today that running back Doug Martin has met with the Buccaneers and is expected to be present for the beginning of the club’s offseason program on Monday.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.