Adrian Peterson bashes how NFL values running backs: ‘Disrespectful’

Adrian Peterson has made more money in contracts than any other running back in the history of the NFL.

But that doesn’t mean he’s OK with how the league has begun to value the position in recent years.

“It’s disrespectful to be honest with you. It really is,” Peterson told TMZ on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Peterson is set to enter his 14th season in the NFL, doing so on a $2.25 million base salary with the Redskins. But he has made $101,753,319 in career earnings, according to Spotrac, which is nearly $33 million more than the next running back on the list (Edgerrin James, $68.9 million). A bulk of that came from the seven-year, $96 million contract Peterson signed with the Vikings in 2011.

Ezekiel Elliott, who signed a six-year, $90 million contract extension last fall, and Christian McCaffrey, who inked a four-year, $64 million extension in April to become the highest-paid running back in NFL history (by average annual salary), have a chance to eventually catch Peterson. But on the whole, running back’s contracts have not grown in the way other pacts have as teams have largely moved to devalue the position.

Adrian Peterson
Adrian PetersonGetty Images

“I think the change is going to come,” Peterson said. “Me and Frank Gore continue to show guys, ‘Hey, we are valuable. We can have 10, 14-year careers as well, so value us as well like you would value a quarterback.’”

The 37-year-old Gore just signed a one-year, $1.05 million contract with the Jets.

Peterson, meanwhile, is hoping the young backs in the league like Elliott, McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley, who could soon start eyeing his own big contract extension, can help turn the tide.

“These young core of backs are really changing the game for the better,” Peterson said. “I feel like you’re going to continue to get guys like that, that’s going to help raise the value of the running back position.”

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