Is the running back era fading away in the NFL? Several out-of-contract stars seem to indicate so
The world of football is constantly evolving, with certain positions gaining prominence while others fade into obscurity. However, the NFL is currently grappling with a significant problem concerning running backs and their compensation. Over the years, the pay for running backs has been on a steady decline, resulting in players in one of the league's most physically demanding positions earning a fraction of what they did in the past.
This issue was highlighted recently when Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants refused to sign his franchise tender, opting to skip offseason drills. Barkley, the former No. 2 overall pick, who earned $38.6 million on his rookie contract, was unable to reach a long-term deal with the team and was set to play under a one-year, $10.09 million tag figure.
Another team, the Minnesota Vikings made a highly anticipated decision by officially parting ways with their standout running back, Dalvin Cook, as announced on Friday. The primary motive behind this move was financial, as Cook was set to earn a base salary of $10.4 million this season, $11.9 million in 2024, and $12.9 million in 2025, according to Spotrac. By making this transaction, the Vikings managed to free up $9 million in cap space.