Ron Rivera faces some tough decisions as the new boss of the Washington Redskins, but keeping Adrian Peterson around for the 2020 season was not one of them.
“Adrian Peterson is the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league,” Rivera said in a statement on Wednesday. “Adrian’s leadership and passion towards the game of football will set an example of what is expected of the players in this program moving forward.”
Washington exercised a team option in Peterson's contract on Wednesday which kept him a Redskin for the 2020 season, and more importantly, at a very reasonable price tag.
Peterson will make $3 million this year, $10 million less than Le'Veon Bell and $4 million less than Jerick McKinnon.
In the past two seasons, Peterson has run for nearly 2,000 yards and averaged 4.25 yards-per-carry. Bell sat out the 2018 season, and in 2019 averaged 3.2 yards-per-carry en route to a 789 yard season. in the last two seasons, McKinnon hasn't played a snap as a 49er but still collected nearly $12 million.
Beyond just the economic value of Peterson's on-field production, there is an immeasurable value to his off-field presence.
He will turn 35 in March but without exaggeration could still be the most physically gifted player in the Redskins locker room. His work ethic is nearly unmatched. The guy runs full 100-yard sprints at the end of practice.
Peterson is a future Hall of Famer that is not just enjoying one last ride late in his career. He's grinding out tough yards in tough situations on largely bad teams.
In 2018, he was absolutely the best offensive player on the Redskins roster. In 2019, rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin took that title, but Peterson was still good.
Remarkably, Peterson could actually be better in 2020. Ask him, and he should be better.
"I think it's different with guys of my stature," Peterson told ESPN. "When [teammates] see a 35-year-old running back at camp going 100 miles an hour with each rep, every rep, competing at the highest level and working to get yourself and teammates better, it's inspiring."
Peterson will likely continue his assault on the NFL all-time record books this fall too. He currently ranks in the Top 10 in nearly every rushing statistic, with names like Barry Sanders and Marcus Allen ahead of him on the all-time rushing yards and rushing touchdown list.
There was never a question the Redskins would use their team option to keep Peterson for the 2020 season.
They'd be crazy not to.
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