The NFL’s offseason has been filled with stories about the highest paid running backs.
There’s been so much hand-wringing over the financial future of NFL runningbacks, sometimes it’s hard to remember they’re not headed to the soup line any time soon. People have suggested college running backs should immediately change positions. But should the SU running back room go hit the picket lines? TheSportsDaily.com assembled the top 10 highest paid running backs for this season, based on total cash in ’23 from Spotrac. They seem to be doing okay.
10. Miles Sanders, Carolina Panthers — $6.98 Million
He cracks into the top 10 highest paid running backs despite not being an elite back. This contract is a reward after a Super Bowl year for a team that needs to get better quickly with an impatient owner, new front office, and rookie quarterback. Sanders signed a four-year, $25.4 million contract with the Carolina Panthers this offseason. The contract includes a $5.9 million signing bonus and $13 million guaranteed.
Sanders is coming off rushing for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns for Philly.
Is Connor one of the 10 best backs in football? No. But he’s being paid like it. After spending four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, James Conner signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals ahead of the 2021 season.
Conner signed a three-year extension with the Cardinals after ’21. The contract was a three-year, $21 million contract, with a $6 million signing bonus and $13.5 million guaranteed.
Here’s where the franchise tag sits. Is Jacobs only the 8th best back? No. But the Raiders know they can roll the dice and find another productive back in the draft. And he also touched the ball more than anyone else last season. Dallas’ Tony Pollard, New York’s Saquon Barkley, and Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs received the franchise tag last week.
*Jacobs has not signed their franchise tenders.
Henry is the best power back in football and one of the rare ones you must game plan for. But how much longer will he be elite? There’s a lot of carries already on his odometer. In 2019, he carried the ball 303 times for 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns.
In ’20 he signed a four-year, $50 million extension, including a $12 million signing bonus and $25.5 million guaranteed.
Here’s the money rookie backs get up front of they’re drafted high. Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs was selected with the 12th overall pick this year.
That’s a four-year, $17.84 million contract, including a $9.98 million signing bonus and $17.84 guaranteed. So where’s the outcry for rookies making that much more than veterans?
Some consider him the best between the tackles back in the game and he is right in the middle of the 10 highest paid running backs. Chubb signed a three-year, $36.6 million extension with the Cleveland Browns two summers ago including a $12 million signing bonus and $20 million guaranteed. Again, does a $36M deal seem unfair?
Aaron Jones and the Green Bay Packers agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract two years ago, including a $13 million signing bonus and $13 million guaranteed. Maybe the Giants and Raiders weren’t willing to do this type of deal with Saquon and Jacobs. But a $48M deal looks pretty good right now.
Alvin Kamara and the New Orleans Saints agreed to a five-year, $75 million contract one day before the 2020 season opener. The contract had $33.83 million guaranteed. There are two of the best all-around backs in the game. While Saquon has been painted as a sympathetic figure, he also turned down a lucrative multi-year deal last season, reportedly.
He’s the best pass catching back in the game, and was invaluable to the Niners run to the NFC Title Game last year. He has the highest AAV of the top 10 highest paid running backs. He signed a four-year, $64.06 contract extension with the Carolina Panthers on April 16, 2020. But he’s also been injury prone. Seems like McCaffery is being more than fairly rewarded.
Bijan Robinson shockingly is the highest paid this year because of how high he was drafted and the upfront money of the rookie deal. He signed a four-year, $21.96 million fully-guaranteed contract, including a $12.97 signing bonus. So if running backs want to be angry, maybe they can look at the rookie deal wage scale.