There is a prevailing belief among NFL teams that drafting a running back early is a mistake.
In today’s pass-happy era, a franchise can become competitive for a while if they have a great quarterback and talented wide receivers.
That transition diminishes the running back’s role on offense.
Teams have no problems cutting their carries because they can win with a quick strike.
As their value on the field dwindles, so too are the value of their contracts.
Case in point: Leonard Fournette re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a three-year deal amounting to $7 million annually.
But on the other end of the spectrum, some running back salaries remain high, as NBC Sports’ Warren Sharp shared.
have a look at these RB cap hits
$20.0M – Aaron Jones 2023
$19.6M – Christian McCaffrey 2023
$19.6M – Christian McCaffrey 2024
$18.2M – Ezekiel Elliott 2022
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 11, 2022
The Dallas Cowboys running back will count $18.2 million against the cap in the upcoming season.
But that’s nothing compared to the $19.6 million for McCaffrey in 2023 and 2024.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers will absorb Jones’ $20 million cap hit in 2023.
Overpaid With Not Enough Returns
These teams might look to restructure these contracts to soften their blow.
McCaffrey hasn’t been healthy for the past two seasons, making him unworthy of that amount.
Jones did have 799 rushing yards and four touchdowns, but the Packers will expect more from him, given his huge pay.
Elliott barely made 1,000 rushing yards last season, and it’s uncertain if he can regain his form during his prime years.
In the 2022 NFL Draft, a few running backs are in the first-round of mock drafts.
That trend proves that they don’t get much love from pro teams anymore.
There was a time when running backs were the highest-paid NFL players.
Sadly, that era is long gone and might not return.