Despite a potential need for a veteran running back, Adrian Peterson is probably not the answer the Carolina Panthers are looking for…
Sunday, Jeff Smith of FanRagSports.com wrote an article listing the three best fits for free agent running back Adrian Peterson. One of the teams listed was the Carolina Panthers. In particular, this excerpt caught my eye.
The Panthers let veteran Jonathan Stewart leave in free agency, so why not add Peterson as their thunder to Christian McCaffrey’s lightning? While there’s no question that McCaffrey is going to be the focal point of Carolina’s offense in 2018, having Peterson as the perfect change-of-pace back and excellent power option would be ideal.
Although I respect the author’s opinion, I do not agree with it. For one, Peterson is on the wrong sign of 30 (age 32). Signing Peterson would go against the philosophy the Panthers have been trying to implement this offseason. One of the reasons they released Jonathan Stewart was to get younger. At this point in his career, Peterson is past his prime. I can certainly understand why he would be thought of as a potential target. He has been considered one of the best running backs of the last decade, and he may have something left in the tank. However, at the end of the day, how much more can he produce?
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Secondly, the Panthers have several running backs waiting in the wings. Fozzy Whitaker and Cameron Artis-Payne are both solid secondary options. Whitaker carried the ball seven times for 18 yards last year. Although those aren’t tremendous numbers, he had to play behind both Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart. Now with Stewart gone, Whitaker is bound to get more carries. Artis-Payne also received limited carries, but could see an opportunity for more playing time. He carried the ball 18 times for 95 yards and a touchdown in 2017.
It is not as if the Adrian Peterson of 2017 was the Adrian Peterson of old. In fact, he was far from it. To be fair, he did perform well in some games. He ran for 134 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 15 and 159 yards against San Francisco on November 5. I just do not see him replicating those same type of performances. He has had a great career and it would be a shame to see him try to prolong it.
The Carolina Panthers have other positions they need to fill, and while Adrian Peterson to the Carolina Panthers would get fans in the seats, it would not be a good fit for either party.