Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson surprised much of the NFL this season after making his rounds to Arizona and New Orleans. He’s rejuvenated his career and figures to be an interesting free agent to watch this offseason. Peterson registered 247 carries for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns for a 4.2 yards per game average through 15 games (in the last game, he actually had four carries four zero yards).
He comes with some baggage, but Peterson has proven what he can do in the right situation. Here are three teams that should consider signing Peterson in 2019:
Los Angeles Rams
Peterson will be 34-years-old when the 2019 NFL season kicks off. His time in the NFL is coming to an end, and the Rams would present a solid opportunity for him to win a Super Bowl before he retires. The running back position has become an issue for the Rams with Todd Gurley and Justin Davis suffering injuries. Los Angeles was desperate enough for running back help that the team signed former Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson to possibly start on less than a week’s notice. Anderson had been out of the NFL for a month when the Rams signed him.
The Rams have solid young talent the roster at the position with John Kelly and Davis on the depth chart, but they are also in win-now mode for the next two years. Bringing in Peterson would give the Rams a dependable power back that could spell Todd Gurley in various situations throughout a game, especially in the red zone.
There are some potential downsides to the Rams signing Peterson. He may command a bit a more than the $1 million salary the Redskins gave him this year. Peterson’s 2018 production likely ups his market value. He also might want to find a team that will feature him more. It really comes down to what Peterson wants. The veteran would be a good fit for what the Rams need, but he might not see it that way.
Le’Veon Bell will never wear a Steelers uniform again, and that leaves a lot of questions for the future. Pittsburgh already has James Conner and Jaylen Samuels. They did a solid job in Bell’s absence. However, Peterson makes plenty of sense for a team that still loves to run the football and must do so to succeed. Peterson’s power running style is a perfect fit for the cold weather environment in Pittsburgh. He’ll come relatively cheap and, like the Rams above, would be a solid choice for a team looking to make a run at the Super Bowl.
The only problem is the Steelers tend to fill their needs in the draft. If the Steelers need a running back, the first place they will look is in the 2019 draft class. Also, if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retires, the team may choose the youth movement route instead of signing a veteran running back in search of a ring. Still, if Roethlisberger sticks around, and the Steelers want an experienced power back on the cheap, Peterson makes plenty of sense on a one-year deal.
The defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles will likely be reloading this offseason after losing several players to major injury and free agency. The running back position, in particular, went from being one of the Eagles’ biggest strengths to one of its weaknesses. Power back LeGarrette Blount rushed for 766 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles in 2017, but he signed with the Detroit Lions.
Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement combined for 729 yards and five touchdowns to finish out the Philadelphia trio. Ajayi suffered a torn ACL in October. Clement hurt his knee and went on injured reserve after the December 9 game against the Dallas Cowboys. Suddenly, the once incredibly deep Philadelphia running back corps was left relying on a fourth-stringer.
There is no telling whether or not Ajayi will be himself when the 2019 season kicks off, and Clement has never run for more than 321 yards. The Eagles need a veteran with the physicality to succeed in the NFC East. Peterson fits the bill. He’s not the same back that Blount is, but they have similar attributes. He’d be a solid fit for a team that has enough returning talent to be a contender again next season.
Several common themes link the three teams listed. They are all looking for a piece that would fill a short-term void. They all know that signing Peterson will be affordable. Finally, all three teams will be contenders in 2019. Signing Peterson makes plenty of sense for all three teams, even with some wear on his legs. Don’t be surprised to see Peterson wearing a Steelers, Rams, or Eagles uniform next season.