The running back position in the NFL is not nearly as valuable as it once was. Could these two former top RB draft picks hold out because of that? As the NFL has progressed to the modern-day version it is now, the running back position has become less and less valuable.
Put simply, teams don’t need to invest much of anything in the RB position. Having an elite RB is not at all connected to having success. In fact, we could argue the opposite. Not only are they easily replaceable, but teams can find those replacements in the late rounds of NFL drafts.
Running backs are still being paid top dollar, but that trend appears to be slowing down. Two top running backs in the NFL who each had stellar 2022 season seem to be threatening to hold out from their respective teams if they don’t get a contract extension.
Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs are two of the very best in the NFL. Both are still in their mid-20s and should have some nice years left in the tank. Jacobs even led the NFL in rushing yards last year, and Barkley finally put together a very healthy and productive season.
Neither RB has seemed to have much lucky this offseason with their respective contract negotiations, and if I were the Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants’ front offices, the last thing I would do is pay either player, no matter how productive they are.
I’m at the point that no team needs to pay more than, let’s say, $10 million per season for a RB. They just don’t move the needle in terms of the overall success of the team. Yes, teams need to have an efficient run game, but we’ve seen teams win Super Bowls without them.
Being that the Giants are still re-tooling their roster, what they should do is trade Barkley and try to get a couple of mid-round draft picks. They wrongly paid Daniel Jones this year and should avoid the mistake of paying an injury-prone RB.
The Raiders’ current situation seems like it’s going to burst at any point. If they don’t make the playoffs this year, I’d expect the team to blow it up, and the last thing they should have during a rebuild is a RB on a big contract.
Both players have strong arguments for wanting to be paid.