Dec 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) looks on during the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Colts defeated the Vikings 34-6.  Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time when NFL running backs were the most sought-after players in free agency. Now, they’ve been knocked far down the totem pole, and are more of an afterthought than anything. Teams are looking to acquire quarterbacks, receivers, offensive linemen, and even cornerbacks, before they even thinking of reaching out to a running back.

Look at some of this year’s free agents, many of which are having a tough time getting a quality offer. We have Eddie Lacy (who just recently signed with the Seahawks), Adrian Peterson, LeGarrette Blount and Jamaal Charles, just to name a few. All of those guys are still unsigned at this time, aside for Lacy, who got a one-year, $5.5 million deal, which clearly wasn’t what he was looking for.

Running backs are the last players looking for one-year deals. Injuries at the position are so common, and they need the extra protection and guaranteed money that comes along with a bigger deal. But teams aren’t willing to pay them, given their short shelf life. And that’s a big reason we’re seeing some of the best running backs on the market failing to strike deals with teams.

We can also chalk some of this up to bad luck. Looking at some of the teams with the most cap room, most of them don’t have a need for running backs. The Titans have one of the best backfield tandems in the league, so they’re fine. The Browns have the most money to spend, but they’re spending money rebuilding their offensive line, and elected to tender an offer to Isaiah Crowell, to save a few bucks. And the 49ers are just fine with Carlos Hyde. A big factor in getting paid is timing, and this year’s class of free-agent running backs have run into one of the worst situations since the turn of the century, where teams with money to spend don’t have a need for the position, and the draft is full of quality backs.

With that said, the biggest winners will be this year’s running back draft class. Teams are looking for backs with less miles on them, guys they can bring in on the cheap, which is the trend this year. There’s a lot of talent in the draft, and those guys are gonna get scooped up.

Unfortunately, this year’s backfield free agents are the losers, much to the chagrin of them and their agents. We’re not saying they’re going the way of the dodo, but their stock has dropped to a level we never thought it would reach.

This article first appeared on The Sports Daily and was syndicated with permission.


Mood 'somber' as Butler prepares to undergo MRI on injured knee

FBI docs show widespread payments to top college, HS players

Report: LeBron questioned Cavs GM’s absence from road trip

Jonathan Martin detained after seeking help at hospital

Chiefs trade Marcus Peters to Rams


Rays lose Brent Honeywell for season to torn UCL

Warriors, Wolves, Thunder all eyeing Joakim Noah?

Legal expert: 'Real chance NBA could come down hard' on Mavs

Jaguars extend Coughlin, Marrone, Caldwell

Siemian downplays Broncos players pining for Cousins

Report: Panthers, Saints could be interested in Landry trade

Mr. T gives pep talk to US curling team ahead of gold-medal match

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cuban forced to face culture of misogyny in Mavs front office

The 'Let’s play QB roulette' quiz

NHL Weekender: Playoff races heat up as trade deadline looms

14 NBA X-factors who will tip the scales in the postseason

MLB breakout candidates for the 2018 season

No one wants to jump with Dennis Smith Jr.

NFL players who could be traded before draft

Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top MLB Cy Young candidates heading into 2018

The greatest barrier-breaking African-American moments in MLB history

Faltering Blackhawks face tough decisions at deadline

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cuban forced to face culture of misogyny in Mavs front office

MLB breakout candidates for the 2018 season

The 'Let’s play QB roulette' quiz

NHL Weekender: Playoff races heat up as trade deadline looms

No one wants to jump with Dennis Smith Jr.

The 'Kawhi so serious?' quiz

Top MLB Cy Young candidates heading into 2018

25 best MLB players under 25

The 'Red Sox finally get their guy' quiz

MLB's top 10 first basemen for 2018

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker