Adrian Peterson is expected to be meeting with the New Orleans Saints some time this week, but whether or not he and the Saints organization can agree on terms is still to be determined. In any event, the Saints would be better served looking elsewhere.
The Saints currently have Mark Ingram pencilled in as the starter in the Saints backfield, so any other Running Back brought into the fold in 2017 would be a rotational piece used to spell Ingram or start in the event of an injury. Tim Hightower, who recently signed with the San Francisco 49ers to back up RB Carlos Hyde, filled that role admirably for the Saints in 2016. As it stands now, Travaris Cadet and Daniel Lasco are the only remaining RBs on the depth chart, with Cadet’s history of inconsistent play well documented and Lasco seen primarily as a Special Teamer.
AP is no spring chicken, but he’s a 7-time Pro Bowler and a former MVP. No one knows right now if he’s expecting a starting role somewhere or if he’s instead willing to accept a spot simply as a back-up. It’s also unknown what kind of salary demands AP’s camp are making regardless of his role on an NFL team this coming season. It’s more likely than not that the Saints would not be able to pay AP what it would take to come to New Orleans and ride the pine behind Mark Ingram.
So the Saints should look to the 2017 NFL Draft.
A 2017 rookie RB would come cheaper and with less off-field baggage (as long as that rookie is not named “Joe Mixon”) than Peterson, and would be more inclined to take a back-up position in 2017.
Players like Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, and Dalvin Cook are probably off the board before the Saints would be willing to spend a 2017 draft pick on a back-up Running Back, but there are plenty of intriguing names later in the draft:
- D’Onta Foreman out of Texas
- Karem Hunt, Toledo
- Jeremy McNichols, Boise State
- Wayne Gallman, Clemson
Those are just four of the names that Walter Football projects to go outside of the first (or even second, in some cases) rounds. The Saints could address the defensive side of the ball early in the 2017 NFL Draft, and still find a Running Back behind Mark Ingram that will come younger, cheaper, and with less of a history of being a child abuser, than Adrian Peterson.
That’s what they should do. Leave AP for a different team willing take on that baggage at his price tag.