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NFL running backs overall value continues to take a blow

There are certain positions in the NFL which simply haven’t held their value as much as others over the years. Quarterback has always been highly valued among all 32 franchises, but the drop in value at other positions has been precipitous.

In today’s game, a position like safety has seen its value decrease, but nothing comes close to the devaluing of their position like running backs.

If you’ve watched enough NFL football, you can rattle off a variety of names of high-profile running backs who weren’t just the star of the team, but the entire NFL.

  • Emmitt Smith
  • Thurman Thomas
  • Barry Sanders
  • Jerome Bettis
  • Bo Jackson
  • Marshall Faulk
  • Adrian Peterson

That’s just to name a few. Fast forward to 2023, and you see how the position simply isn’t as coveted as much as it once was. Teams are winning Super Bowls without a dominant running game, or a high profile running back. Running backs are rarely taken in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft, and getting a second contract with the team who drafted you is something to write home about.

For three high-profile running backs who were franchise tagged and hoping for a new deal before the NFL’s imposed deadline, their hopes were all dashed.

The Monday at 4 p.m. EST deadline came and went with Saquon Barkley (New York Giants), Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas Raiders) and Tony Pollard (Dallas Cowboys) all not receiving the contract they hoped for.

What’s next for these three running backs? It is being reported Saquon Barkley is planning on sitting out of training camp and the preseason. He won’t get a new deal by doing so, but certainly will limit his risk of injury. This is the same philosophy Le’Veon Bell followed with the Pittsburgh Steelers when he received the franchise tag the first time and was unable to come to terms on a contract before the deadline.

As for Pollard and Jacobs, it is unknown at this time what their plans are moving forward without long-term contracts, but you would think they too will show up eventually and put their best foot forward in hopes of inking that long-term deal they covet.

In the meantime, it is still shocking to see the running back position have such a fall from grace in just the past decade in the NFL.


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