Should Running Backs Be Paid like Star Players? Providence College Investigates: NFL

by Aidan Bennett '24 on November 12, 2023


No, They Should Not

The New York Giants shockingly made a smart decision this offseason. They decided not to extend Saquon Barkley to a long term, high paying contract. Don’t get me wrong, Saquon is a great player and is the best player on the whole Giants team. That does NOT mean that he is the most valuable player. You pay players based on their value, not on how good they are. What running backs fail to see is that their value does not match their talent. Running backs are only good for a short period, so it makes no sense to give them a long-term deal. The best way to handle your running back is to draft one and run them into the ground. Their rookie deal keeps them locked up with you for five seasons. After that, you can franchise tag them for a season or two  and then let them walk. After seven years of getting hit and injured, you can get another running back and move on.  

Every time a big running back goes down, their backup—who you haven’t heard of—gets 85 percent of their production. If you can get a player who generates 85 percent of a top running back’s production for a tenth the price, why wouldn’t you do that? Every good team for the last 15 years has figured out that paying a running back top dollar will stop you from winning the Super Bowl. Not a single running back who won the Super Bowl since 2009 was paid more than three million that season. If every team that wins the Super Bowl isn’t paying their running backs three million, then how will a team like the Giants win by paying their running back 14 million dollars? The simple fact is that money going to your running back is money that isn’t going to your offensive line and your defense. Without a top offensive line and defense, you are hopeless when the playoffs start. I’ll take Matt Breida for 1.4 million a year over Saquon Barkley for 10 million a year, let alone the 16 million that he wanted.