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A Running Back Situation

A controversy about the position of running back

Recent news with some of the biggest names in the league

By Araceli Reynoso

Staff Writer

Saquon Barkley photo by Abbie Parr

Tony Pollard photo by Jerome Miron

Josh Jacobs photo by Gary A. Vasquez


The clock ticks, and with every passing moment, fans anxiously await the decision. Will he or will he not get the contract extension? So many reporters await, their fingers hovering over the keyboard on Twitter, wanting to be the first to report the news.


The minute hand on the clock keeps moving, with each tick it moves closer to 4 p.m. Eventually a few hours prior to the deadline, Twitter lights up, sending notifications out.


July 17 at 4 p.m. was the deadline for players and their teams to come to terms with a contract extension. And for three players, it was key that they received it. So when the news had finally come out, everyone was no doubt shocked.


Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard, and Josh Jacobs had all not received contract extensions.


When this news was out, it caused a huge spark among not only NFL fans but other running backs in the league. Backs such as Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, Najee Hariss, Christian McCaffrey, and Austin Ekeler all took to Twitter to speak their thoughts.


Tweets are from Twitter, put together by myself in Canva


Barkley took to Twitter as well, tweeting out “it is what it is,” on not receiving his extension.


Currently, Barkley has the eligibility to not attend training camp, as the tag still needs to be placed on him. Tony Pollard, however, will be attending training camp as the tag is on him.


All this news has caused a lot of controversy between running backs. They were talking about how they are one of the most replaceable positions in the league. While that may be true, they deserve to be treated better. Give them their contract extension if they have proved that they want it. Show the team what an asset they are.


While NFL players make a lot of money, they are still athletes that worked their way up to make it to the league. Something like that takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and motivation, not to mention the consistency that has to be put into it.


With Barkley and the Giants not coming to terms, if he plays during this upcoming season, it is likely that it will be his last season in New York. Barkley has been with the team since being drafted in 2018.


With all of the RBs coming together, they are all mentioning the same thing. “You might as well get rid of the position altogether.” Many NFL fans are bringing up two players from the past that they think are the main reason for all of this.


In 2016, Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell had an outstanding season, running 1,884 yards. He also rushed for 170 yards in the playoffs. But in that same season, Bell and the Steelers did not agree on a long-term deal. Bell then held out on attending training camp until he signed the franchise tag deal. He would play for the Steelers for that one season until the next off-season where he did not return. The Steelers even offered him a contract that would have made him the highest paid back during that time, but he declined as there was a “lack of money.”


In 2019, Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot and the Cowboys had been able to come to terms on a long-term deal after his rookie contract ended. Elliott signed a six-year, $90 million dollar contract. Things were looking good for the Cowboys until Elliott’s production with the team started to slowly decline.


The market with running backs seemingly hasn’t been the same since. And now with the news of three major running backs not on a long-term deal, it has many fans worried about losing some of their best players, and players worried about fairness and getting what they deserve.


As some of the RBs across the NFL have said, the position of being a running back could potentially be in danger if things go on like this and have issues every off-season with players not having a deal. Young college players may not want to be an RB anymore, and fewer of them could be drafted, leading to an almost “shortage” of RBs. Something has to be fixed between both the players and the teams.


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