Fantasy football players from five years ago would be shocked, though in 2017, the pending release of running backs Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles should bring with it little surprise. Both players hit incredible highs during their careers, but some time has passed since for both guys, and it makes business sense for their teams to move on.
Peterson will be 32 when Week 1 comes around this fall, and has basically missed two of the last three seasons for the Vikings. In 2016, he suffered another knee injury, and while he has proven his ability to come back from surgeries, the years are adding up.
Charles will be 30 for Week 1, and has started just five games over the last two seasons while he dealt with injuries.
At one point, the case could be made for either player as the best running back in football, but that ship has likely sailed.
In Washington, Robert Kelley emerged as the No. 1 RB last fall, and rushed for more than 700 yards in just nine starts. Jay Gruden said that Kelley will remain the top runner in the 'Skins offense in 2017, and players like Matt Jones, Mack Brown remain on the roster while Chris Thompson is expected back from restricted free agency.
Still, the Redskins have no dominant running back. Could they make a run for Peterson or Charles?
It seems unlikely. Scot McCloughan has made clear he prefers to add players via the draft instead of free agency. And the GM is known not to like to spend money on players 30 and older.
Both players have signed large contracts in their careers, so it would seem like they will set their sights on a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Sure, the Redskins could make a deep playoff run, there are always surprises in the NFL, but that would be unexpected, even with Kirk Cousins back at quarterback.
Then there is the offensive system. Peterson is a volume back that's not a great pass blocker. That just doesn't sound like a fit in the Washington system. Charles excelled in the pass game, and would make more sense for the Redskins, but still seems like a long shot.
This offseason is crucial for the Burgundy and Gold. Cementing their quarterback position remains the highest priority. The organization put the exclusive tag on Kirk Cousins, perhaps meaning a long-term deal will get worked out. The team also must really work to rebuild their defense. Spending on a big-name, veteran running back just doesn't seem like it fits the team's list of needs.
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