The Washington Football Team is releasing 13-year NFL veteran running back Adrian Peterson, the team announced Friday morning. Peterson, 35, intends to pursue opportunities elsewhere rather than consider retirement.
Peterson was with Washington for two seasons after splitting the 2017 campaign with the Saints and Cardinals. In 15 games last season, he rushed 211 times for 898 yards and five touchdowns in addition to 17 receptions for 142 yards. The Oklahoma product was scheduled to earn roughly $3.2 million in the final year of a two-year deal that he signed in March of 2019.
Washington selected Memphis running back Antonio Gibson in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Gibson had 33 carries for 369 yards and four touchdowns as well as 38 receptions for 735 yards and eight touchdowns for the Tigers last season. By all accounts, he has impressed in camp. Washington took Bryce Love in the 2019 draft, and the team has also invested in J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber,. Former second-round selection Derrius Guice was waived in August following charges of domestic violence.
CBS Sports fantasy senior editor Chris Towers offered his perspective on how coach Ron Rivera might divvy out the carries.
Suddenly, Washington's backfield is a lot less crowded with Peterson's release, though how, exactly, this figures to play out remains to be seen. We know Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic will be used in the passing game, while Peyton Barber and Bryce Love work in the early down role. The questions are whether Gibson is ready to take on at least some of the early-down work as well, or whether Love is going to be the starter. In either case, there's significant breakout potential, making both solid mid-round upside picks.
Peterson (14,216) is currently No. 5 on the NFL's all-time rushing leaders list behind Emmitt Smith (18,355), Walter Payton (16,726), Frank Gore (15,347) and Barry Sanders (15,269). The former No. 7 overall selection by the Vikings was named NFL MVP in 2012 and has been selected to seven Pro Bowls.
Although Peterson wants to keep playing, it will be difficult to find a situation where he will receive a significant carry share in 2020.
The deadline for teams to get down to the league-mandated 53-man threshold is Saturday, Sept. 5 at 4 p.m. ET. Washington opens their season Sept. 13 at home against the Eagles. It finished 3-13 in 2019.