How important are running backs to an NFL Team? Running Back is one of the most highly debated positions when it comes to paying them. NFL teams struggle with knowing how to pay a running back resulting in hold outs, overpaying, or struggles because of the uncertainty regarding how to pay them.
I believe the Super Bowl is the prime example of how to pay a running back. Both teams have a completely different offensive style of play. On one side, you have the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs who like to throw the ball a lot. On the other side, you have the ground-and-pound San Francisco 49ers who like to wear you down with their grueling line and a three-headed monster of running backs. But, there is a common ground here with both of these teams: both starting running backs are undrafted free agents.
Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs
Damien Williams went undrafted in 2014 and signed with the Miami Dolphins. He stayed with the Dolphins until 2018 when he became a free agent. He then signed with the Kansas City Chiefs to back up star running back Kareem’Hunt. Once Kareem Hunt got caught with his problems, Damien Williams stepped in and played lights out. This season has been up and down for Williams with injuries and consistency, but at the end of the day, he is still the starting running back in the Super Bowl. According to overthecap.com, Williams is the 28th highest-paid running back in the NFL.
Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers
Raheem Mostert went down a similar career path, but with much more NFL Teams. Mostert also went undrafted in 2015 signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. After that, he spent time with the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and Chicago Bears until he found a home in San Francisco. He impressed them in 2018 rushing for an absurd 7.7 yards per carry earning a three-year contract extension. He then in 2019 earning the starting job as the year went on with 772 rushing yards, 180 receiving yards, and 10 total touchdowns on only 151 touches. According to overthecap.com, Mostert is the 24th highest-paid running back.
So Why Pay a Running Back?
Running Backs aren’t the most necessary player to have on a team. Most successful teams find ways to win with a cheap running back behind a great line. An offensive line is the most important part of a team. In fact, the top ten highest-paid running backs this season (that played so excluding Jerick McKinnon and Lamar Miller) combined for a losing record with their team. Their overall win percentage was 45% and only two of the top ten highest-paid running backs made the playoffs. Those running backs were Mark Ingram and Duke Johnson. Basically, don’t pay running backs.
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