In a very surprising twist, the Washington Football Team has released veteran running back Adrian Peterson.
In the months leading up to cut day for the Washington Football Team, veteran running back Adrian Peterson was viewed as a near-roster lock. Peterson was coming off his second season as Washington’s primary running back, and even at age 35, he was producing at a solid clip.
Peterson’s presence was immediately valued in the wake of the team’s decision to select Memphis product Antonio Gibson in Round 3. Peterson helped bring the rookie along, and his presence was publicly well regarded by head coach Ron Rivera.
Rather than being kept through the cutdown process, however, Peterson is instead one of the first to go. Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Washington has released Peterson, ending his stint with the team and putting his future career prospects in question.
From an operational standpoint, the decision to cut Peterson does make a measured amount of sense. Peterson’s durability with increased age has been very impressive, but he hasn’t provided much in the way of versatility, which offensive coordinator Scott Turner clearly values very highly.
Peterson has been an old-school back for much of his time in Washington, and it’s clear that the Washington Football Team wants to get younger and more versatile at the position, with multifaceted players like the aforementioned Gibson and J.D. McKissic waiting in the wings.
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It was already a question whether Peterson would remain after 2020 due to this factor, but until now, many had made the assumption that his veteran leadership would at least be valued through the season. Instead, Peterson heads out the door, leaving the team with more flexibility, but less security.
With Peterson gone, Washington now has four running backs remaining: Gibson, McKissic, Bryce Love, and Peyton Barber. There’s a chance that all four might be retained, but Peterson’s release is an especially strong signal that Love will stay. Love had been impressing in spurts at camp, and while he wasn’t entirely consistent, giving him time to get back to his previous form could bode well for his production.
The Washington Football Team’s cutdown process is off to an eye-catching start, and it’s far from over. Stick with us over the course of the next couple days, as we’ll keep you in the loop with any new developments.