April 24, 2024

NFL’s top running backs hold private meeting to discuss next steps in downsizing, report says

Running backs aren’t getting the money these days, so a handful of the NFL’s elite gathered Saturday for a private Zoom meeting to discuss next steps, according to ESPN. Organized by Chargers’ Austin Ekeler, the 49ers’ Christian McCaffrey, Browns’ Nick Chubb, Saquon Barkley, Raiders’ Josh Jacobs and Titans’ Derrick Henry were among the gathering.

Their discussion, which resulted in no tangible steps of action, came after some comments on social media from the back were frustrated by his diminishing value to NFL teams. Barkley and Jacobs have been among the most talked about in their failure to secure lucrative extensions with their respective clubs, each threatening to hold back 2023.

Chubb – the last running back to sign a long-term deal worth $10 million or more per season – spoke about the meeting on Sunday.

“Right now, there’s nothing we can really do,” Chubb said. “We are kind of handcuffed to the situation. We are the only position that our production hurts us the most. If we go out there and run 2,000 yards with so many carries, next year they are going to say, you are probably worn down. It is tough. … It hurts us at the end of the day.

“We’re definitely in trouble, running back as a whole. Saquon is a great player and you can ask anybody around the league or even the Giants how much he means to that team. So it’s hard to see him not getting what he deserves.”

Ekeler, who became the seventh player since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger to lead the league in scoring touchdowns in consecutive seasons, was reportedly the organizer of the meeting. Ekeler did not receive a contract extension from the Chargers despite his historic efforts, and he was unable to garner interest on the trade market. All was given to him additional incentive bonuses for the 2023 season.

Green Bay Packers Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones took a pay cut to stay with the Green and Gold despite rushing for 1,121 career rushing yards, 10th most in the NFL. Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon also restructured his deal to make himself more affordable for the AFC runner-up. The Minnesota Vikings released free agent Dalvin Cook, the only player in the NFL who has at least 1,100 rushing yards in each of the last four seasons, completely out by the Minnesota Vikings last season.

Six years ago, back in 2017, the running back’s franchise tag figure was $12.1 million. Today, that figure has dropped $2 million to $10.1 million, which is what Jacobs β€” who led the NFL in rushing (1,653) and scrimmage yards (2,053) in 2022 β€” will make Barkley and Pollard in 2023 on their one-year fully guaranteed deals. On the flip side, franchise tag figures have increased for quarterbacks ($21.2 million in 2017 to $32.4 in 2023), wide receivers ($15.6 million in 2017 to $19.7 million in 2023), offensive linemen ($14.2 million to $18.29 million), in $18.29 million ($14.2 million to $18.2 9 million), in $18.29 million ($18.29 million), in $18.29 million ($18.29 million), in $18.29 million ($18.29 million), in $18.29 million ($18.29 million), in defense pledges. 2023) and cornerbacks ($14.2 million in 2017 and $18.1 million in 2023).

Options such as various structured contracts as outlined by Joel Corry of CBS Sports or perhaps petitioning the NFL Players Association to help them try to secure the current collective bargaining agreement, which is in effect through the 2030 season, could be an addendum to the agenda for Saturday night. As shown in Hollywood where both writers and actors are currently on strike, there is more power in a united collective front when demanding a case for better compensation. That’s what current NFL quarterbacks are trying to build and achieve right now.

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