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Green and Bold: Packers Are More Than an Adrian Peterson Away From a Super Bowl

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Green and Bold: Packers Are More Than an Adrian Peterson Away From a Super Bowl

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings announced they will not pick up running back Adrian Peterson's option, which will make him a free agent for the first time in his career come March 9.

Cue the signing frenzy...or not?

While it's hard not to be intrigued by the thought of what one-time league MVP and seven-time Pro Bowler Peterson could do in the Green Bay Packers offense, which finished 20th in the league in rushing in 2016, there's not likely a financial scenario that makes the move worth it for Green Bay. 

Peterson is coming off a three-year, $42 million contract with Minnesota, which was restructured in 2015 to include the 2017 option. He's also five months removed from a surgery to repair his torn meniscus, and his 2014 suspension for a violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy for child abuse charges (which ended in a plea agreement) still looms large.

Those factors, combined with the fact that he'll be celebrating his 32nd birthday in March, may very well mean that Peterson doesn't see an average salary of $14 million in his next deal. 

However, even a discounted Peterson could be a cap liability for the Packers, who have approximately $43.5 million in cap space to play with, per Spotrac. That amount will have to accomodate their 2017 draft selections (who usually account for $4-6 million in cap space), any of their own free agents they wish to re-sign, and any street free agents. It may be the 12th most cap space of any team, per Spotrac, but it goes quickly. 

Peterson may not command a lot of guaranteed money, and teams may be able to sign him with heavy incentives and bonuses. That's especially true given how deep the 2017 NFL Draft class is at the running back position. Peterson will also have to compete with veterans such as Eddie Lacy, 26 (unless the Packers re-sign him), and Jamaal Charles, 30, whom the Kansas City Chiefs released on Tuesday. 

Would Peterson make an impact paired with Ty Montgomery in Green Bay's backfield? Sure. His production level following the knee surgery is a question, but Green Bay has been missing the hard-nosed running style Peterson provides, and it's unclear whether Lacy can provide it. We saw Peterson rush for 1,485 yards in 2015.

But the Packers need much more than an explosive running back—if Peterson can even be that in 2017—to win the Super Bowl. Arguably, an outside cornerback or edge-rusher could make much more of an impact on the big picture for the 2017 Packers. So if they're going to spend at all in free agency—I'll wait for you to stop laughing—those are the positions for Ted Thompson to focus on. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (25) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Censored's picture

Please no

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The Packers need players that can beat the opponent on the football field. No ones who beat children.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The Packers need players that can beat the opponent on the football field. No ones who beat children.

(hmm, I got a double post. But, I guess this is worth repeating. )

Nick Perry's picture

Peterson averaged like 1.6 YPC in the 2 games he played in before his injury in week 2 last season. He can't catch the football so he's useless on 3rd down AND he fumbles... a lot!

Peterson also can't cover WR's like Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, or Antonio Brown. He can't sack Dak, Mattie Ice, or Big Ben either.

So I think that's a big Hell No on Peterson.

gr7070's picture

Peterson is no longer an effective back in the NFL.

Even if he was expected to be his salary wouldn't come anywhere near $14M. What's the next highest RB salary $8M?

Guy can't pass block or catch passes either.

It's a waste of time even talking about him going too GB.

Handsback's picture

Jamaal Charles, maybe, but AD doesn't fit the Packer's RB styles. Nick Perry above covers why AD would be a big mistake.

dobber's picture

I think he's done, too. He's had his knees rebuilt how many times? Couldn't get back on the field last year after that last injury. He's all about quickness and speed...what's he got left? I don't think he'll be terribly expensive, but he's at a stage in his career where it's a series of one-year deals.

I like the idea that he complements anything the Packers currently have (Lacy included) if he's close to what he was, but you can probably find a younger FA back out there who brings many of the same kinds of things at a lower price tag.

RCPackerFan's picture

I prefer bringing back Lacy, and drafting a RB in the mid rounds. RB class is deep and you can always find RB's in the mid rounds that can contribute.

Also they have Montgomery who will have a full offseason to learn the RB position.

Savage57's picture

The only hitch in that plan is that typically RB's get worse the longer GB coaches have to 'develop' them.

Mark my words. Coaches will tweak Ty's patient, slashing style, altering it to have him hit the holes that aren't there, and he's going to be horribly ineffective next year.


MarkinMadison's picture

I don't get why every media outlet speculates about AP - other than the fact that he is a household name. The truth is no team in their right mind is going to spend significant money on a 32-year-old RB coming off a season in which he missed the vast majority of games with an injury and in which he failed to produce before the injury. And then there is the way tried to holdout in 2015. Unless AP has fully come to grips with how much his value has dropped he may very well find himself sitting on the couch in September while his people make comments to reporters about what great shape he is in.

dobber's picture

"I don't get why every media outlet speculates about AP - other than the fact that he is a household name."

I don't know...why does the media continue to fawn over Jennifer Aniston?

gr7070's picture

We have writers still waxing about BJ Raji who hasn't played in a year, and has been absolutely awful since the 2012 season ended, and certainly was nothing remotely approaching AP's level of play or notoriety (even though he had some significance). There's an incredible amount of clear evidence how bad he has been for a long time.

It amazes me how slow people are to let go of their past summations despite clear evidence to the contrary.

The below was late in 2013:
"According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Raji is currently ranked 44th out of 45 qualified 3-4 defensive ends. And no player at his position has graded out worse over the last five weeks, as Raji has provided a total of just three pressures and one "stop," which PFF considers a tackle constituting a negative play for the offense."

And it's not like he improved beyond that season, declined further actually.

mnbruton's picture

Ha, I had to google that quote to see if it was from one of my B/R articles, and saw it was Zach. Our writing voices are so similar!

gr7070's picture


Since '61's picture

Don't want him, don't need him. Case closed. Thanks, Since '61

marpag1's picture

For the life of me, I have no idea why anyone ever thought or suggested that AP was even a remote possibility in Green Bay. Weird.

I guess anything can happen, but when has TT ever done anything to make us think he might do this? Acquire M. Lynch? No. Sign Matt Forte? No. Go after Adrian Peterson...... uh, no.

dobber's picture

"For the life of me, I have no idea why anyone ever thought or suggested that AP was even a remote possibility in Green Bay. "

Two reasons...
1. clickbait
2. agents trying to drum up a market for their client through the media

Ryan Graham's picture

The only way I'd want AP is if he came cheaper than Eddie Lacy, assuming they use a mid Rd pick on an rb. Even then I'd think long enough to let the Giants overpay him tremendously

Bert's picture

N way. Past his prime and no more effective than Lacey and Montgomery. Plus I can't get past the child beating. Terrible.

lou's picture

Years ago when Randy Moss was available and Favre was salivating hoping he would be acquired that made real sense, what a difference he would have been to the offense instantly. AP had incomparable talent the first half of his career but age/injury/holding on to the ball all out weigh obtaining him even at an acceptable one year deal om addition to the Packers "pass first" offensive philosophy. If Ted didn't pull the string on Moss he surely won't on AP.

al bundy's picture

The only way I would consider the Packers a super bowl contender is if they shore up the pass d with a free agent and a top draft pick at corners. A middle LB and a pass rusher too and your good to go. Dual threat stopping points and putting them up.

al bundy's picture

Pederson has not done a dam thing in three years and is 32 this month or lets just say 32 1/2 in September. I see him taking a low ball vike offer and riding out his career.

slit's picture

Peterson is garbage running out of the shotgun and his pass protection isn't good; and oh yeah, the character part isn't great either. Unless he's lining up & playing OLB, what the hell do we want him for?

PETER MAIZ's picture

Lacy is good enough for the Packers and most teams would salivate to have him for some time. Now as to the 31 worst pass defense in the NFL, there lies the rub. If any Packers fans think this number will improve through the draft and not free agency may be sorely disappointed. Somehow, in these distressful, unforgettable and shameful numbers, the word Capers keeps on popping out. Any coincidence, do you think?

croatpackfan's picture

MIchelle, you are joking, right?

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