It’s not surprising at this late stage, but the Washington Redskins’ Adrian Peterson contract promises nothing.
At this point in the NFL preseason, just under three weeks before the bulk of the Week 1 schedule, any player who is available has flaws. But the Washington Redskins, somewhat desperate for a healthy running back right now, signed Adrian Peterson to a one-year deal on the heels of his visit Monday.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden hinted that the team would not be looking for a starter. Rob Kelley has been tapped for that role, Chris Thompson is in place as passing down back and last year’s leading rusher Samaje Perine appears to have avoided a major ankle injury.
A backup running back often has to contribute on special teams in order to stick. Peterson is not going to play special teams, and the deal he signed with the Redskins reflects the idea he’s being promised nothing.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Peterson’s deal is for the veteran’s minimum.
So Peterson has a short window to show himself as a better runner than he’s been lately. He averaged just 3.4 yards per carry last year with the Saints and Cardinals, and that drops to 2.5 yards per carry without the two big games he had early in his stint with the Cardinals. He also continued to contribute nothing as a pass catcher, with 11 catches for 70 yards in 10 total games. Since the start of the 2016 season (including the playoffs, amid injuries and a clear decline), Peterson has averaged just 3.0 yards per carry.
The Redskins need a back to take some carries through the rest of the preseason, and Peterson needs an opportunity to show he’s still out there. If he can recapture something close to his past form, and the Redskins don’t keep him, Peterson could get an opportunity elsewhere.