Opinion or Fact: Are running backs going to strike?
The NFL is constantly evolving and changing. Everything from the equipment used, the players and their abilities, but also how positions are viewed.
There was a time when teams believed they could get by with a mediocre quarterback, hello Trent Dilfer, as long as they had a stellar running game and a strong defense. Fast forward to 2023, and there is no doubt the quarterback position is viewed as the premiere position in the NFL, with running backs viewed as expendable.
Some have stated running backs are viewed as second-class citizens in the football realm, but whatever you call it, the way organizations viewed has changed immensely in the last decade. Gone are the franchise running backs like Emmitt Smith and Adrian Peterson, and now running backs are viewed as replaceable with teams dumping the hefty contracts of high draft picks for the mid-to-late round running back who turns heads.
What can the running backs do? They want paid, but can they do something which can actually help them get more money and long-term contracts?
While it might seem as if the power is in the hands of the players, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was collectively signed by the players union (NFLPA) and the owners and it gives organizations the ability to place the franchise tag on players who they can’t, or don’t want, to negotiate a long term contract with at that time. In other words, the running backs are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Monday the New York Giants announced they signed Saquon Barkley to a one-year contract which many might see as a win, but is it really?
Giants RB Saquon Barkley’s new 1-year deal with the team has the franchise tag figure, $10.09 million as its base value ($2 million of that is in a signing bonus), with $910,000 in incentives, per source.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 25, 2023
High-profile running backs have banded together around the league and are trying to see what they can do to help their own cause. Players like Christian McCaffrey, Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard and others joined a virtual meeting to discuss what they could do in the future, but Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns might have said it best when he said, “There’s nothing really we can do.”
What do you think about the running back situation? Do you think there is any type of resolution? Can the NFL become more cyclical and go back towards a run-first approach? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to listen to the short podcast in the player below!