Running backs have a short lifespan in the NFL. They are bound to get hurt with all the pounding they take. Its a passing league, now. Running backs have less and less value as more and more balls are being thrown around downfield. So theres no reason to pay running backs a lot of money for the long haul.
Or so goes one of the prevailing theories in the NFL today.
But again on Monday, that theory was debunked.
The Ravens signed Ray Rice to a five-year, 40 million extension, and the Bears worked out a four-year, 32 million deal with their top running back, Matt Forte.
The contracts for Forte and Rice accentuated that teams pay lip service to the notion that running backs are an endangered species, arguably a high-riskshort-shelf life position that should not merit a prohibitive investment, but rarely adhere to the cautionary approach they so often publicly espouse, writes Len Pasquarelli of Sports Xchange.
For those of you scoring at home, that makes four marquee backs Rice, Matt Forte, Arian Foster and DeSean Jackson who all signed long-term extensions this offseason.
Of the four, Rice was the only one to play in every game last season, and as we noted last winter, rarely does a top running back make it through multiple seasons without missing significant time because of injury.
Still, if teams were worried about the long-term potential of running backs after seeing Adrian Peterson limping around on crutches late last season, they didnt show it when it was time to whip out the checkbook.
The long-term deals with Rice and Forte, Pasquarelli writes, are the latest example that NFL teams usually say one thing and, come deadline time, make the expedient move.