Narratives change quickly in the NFL. Just last year I thought the running back position was changing.
Fast forward a year later and it appears that running backs are less prioritized than ever before!
Le’Veon Bell got a big contract from the Jets. He held out to obtain that contract, a trend that Melvin Gordon followed and was unsuccessful with.
I believed the bell cow was somewhat making a return, just not in the same mold it used to be. Instead of logging carries, it’s about logging touches. Instead of plowing in between the tackles, you have to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield too.
Backs like SaQuon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey and Bell immediately come to mind as backs who fit this mold. These are all guys who are de facto receivers because of their ability to not only catch passes out of the backfield, but being able to run clean routes out of the slot as well.
So I had my belief that the position was changing even though the running back by committee approach was becoming more popular over the years.
Well, San Francisco happened in 2019. The 49ers had a cheap backfield featuring three different backs, who all could do different things and they flourished. Tevin Coleman ran it up the middle, Raheem Mostert along the edges and Matt Breida was the pass catcher.
They made a run all the way to the Super Bowl and Mostert set an NFL playoff rushing record.
This is only going to make it harder for running backs to get paid following their rookie contracts. And to provide further proof that these guys aren’t getting paid, of the 22 backs who were taken in the 2015 NFL Draft, none of them are with the original franchise that selected them.
Gurley agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal with the Falcons 12 hours after his release from the Rams, while Gordon inked a two-year, $16 million deal with $13.5 million guaranteed.
The holdout worked for Bell, not so much for Gordon.
We’ll see if this is a trend that continues.
– Steelers sign TE Eric Ebron to a two-year, $12 million deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter
– Saints re-sign G Andrus Peat to a five-year, $57.5 million contract with $30 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport
– Cowboys sign S Haha Clinton-Dix to a one-year, $4 million deal, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
– Buccaneers sign Tom Brady to a two-year, $50 million contract, all guaranteed. He can make up to $9 million in incentives, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
– Ravens trade DE Chris Wormley and a 2021 7th-round pick to the Steelers for a 2021 fifth-round pick
– Buccaneers sign G Joe Haeg
Check out my thoughts on the moves below