Adrian Peterson is headed to the Motor City.
Peterson, the legendary NFL running back who spent the last two years in Washington, just signed with the Detroit Lions. The 35-year-old Peterson immediately joins a crowded running back room featuring D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson, two young players.
The good news for Peterson is he has a job on the eve of the 2020 season. Unfortunately for Peterson, he set himself up for disappointment by signing with the Lions.
Washington recently cut Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson figured to be Washington’s lead back this season, especially after the team cut third-year pro Derrius Guice this summer.
Instead, Washington surprisingly released Peterson during final cuts. Peterson ran for 1,940 yards and 12 touchdowns in 31 games, all ones he started, across two seasons in Washington.
Washington will instead use a younger group of running backs, including rookie Antonio Gibson from Memphis.
Peterson totaled 898 yards and five touchdowns on 4.3 yards per attempt in 15 games last year. Washington made the seven-time Pro Bowler a healthy scratch in Week 1, which may have cost him a chance at his ninth 1,000-yard season.
Peterson joins a crowded Lions running back room
Adrian Peterson spent two years as the lead back in Washington. The NFL great likely won’t get that same chance in Detroit.
That fact has nothing to do with Peterson’s age or the possibility he declines. Detroit has two young running backs — one of whom, former Georgia star D’Andre Swift, joined the Lions through the 2020 NFL draft.
Kerryon Johnson, a former second-round pick, ran for 1,044 yards and six touchdowns in his first two seasons. Johnson’s biggest problem has been staying healthy, though, as he’s missed 14 of a possible 32 games.
Johnson missed a large chunk of time last year with a knee issue that required surgery.
A dynamic and shifty runner from Georgia, Swift ran for 2,885 yards and 20 touchdowns in three seasons with the Bulldogs. Swift also caught 73 passes for 666 yards.
Peterson may play ahead of Swift when the season opens, though. Swift has been battling a leg injury and is considered questionable for Week 1.
Adrian Peterson will regret signing with the Lions
At this point in Adrian Peterson’s football carer, there should be three goals left: winning a Super Bowl, making more money, and climbing up the record books.
Peterson already made progress in the second one. ESPN reported Peterson’s contract is for one year and a little over $1 million.
Pro Football Talk reported Peterson can earn up to an extra $1.25 million in incentives. Those incentives are based on yards and touchdowns.
As for the other two goals, Peterson doesn’t seem likely to do either in Detroit. Even with star quarterback Matthew Stafford healthy, the Lions are, at best, the third-best team in the NFC North Division.
Entering the 2020 season, Peterson is 4,140 yards short of breaking Emmitt Smith’s rushing yards record. Peterson is also 54 rushing touchdowns shy of passing Smith’s 164 touchdowns.
If Kerryon Johnson stays healthy and D’Andre Swift recovers in time to make an impact, Peterson will take a backseat role behind the two.
In the end, Peterson at least set himself up to receive a cash boost this year. But he’s going to have to wait to make any significant progress on those other goals.