Redskins Make Surprising Week 1 Decision on Adrian Peterson

Getty Adrian Peterson will be a spectator in Week 1 of the 2019 season.

This is not what Adrian Peterson had in mind when he signed a new deal with the Washington Redskins in the offseason.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the 2012 NFL MVP and former 2,000-yard rusher will be a healthy inactive against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1.

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Redskins Are Very High on Derrius Guice

This is surprising to say the least. We all knew entering the 2019 season that the Redskins had high hopes for second-year back Derrius Guice — he had been named the starter at the end of the preseason. However, we all figured Peterson would at least play a sizable role despite entering the season at 34 years of age.

Despite having a resurgent campaign in Washington that saw Peterson post 1,042 yards on a solid 4.2 yards per carry, the Redskins are completely taking the former NFL MVP out of the picture.

Which begs the question — why did they bother signing the third-oldest running back to a two-year deal worth $8 million to be a glorified backup? As Rapoport notes in his article, Peterson earns $1 million in guaranteed money for merely being on the Redskins’ roster for Week 1 — even as an inactive.

“Peterson signed a 2-year contract prior to the season worth up to $8 million. Of that, $1.5 million was guaranteed, and now an additional $1 million is guaranteed because he’s on the roster for week 1.”

Head Coach Jay Gruden Won’t Commit to Adrian Peterson

The Redskins remained non-committed to the idea of even playing Peterson during the entire week. Head coach Jay Gruden said the decision to play or not to play Peterson would be decided at game time.

Needless to say, Peterson took the high road when addressing the topic, choosing to defuse the situation by saying it’s not his call whether or whether or not he plays on Sunday.

When asked by reporters this week if Peterson could be inactive, Gruden said, “We’ll make that determination Sunday.” Pressed about his status, Peterson said, “At the end of the day, I’m pleased do what they ask me to do. That’s all I can do.”

Guice is obviously the franchise back of the future. The second-round draft selection in the 2018 NFL Draft would have likely been the team’s starting running back if not for a torn ACL suffered in the first preseason game of the year that ended up wiping out his entire rookie season.

The changing of the guard at the running back position has been a swift one. Guice only recently made his return from the ACL injury in the third game of the preseason. In one preseason appearance, he rushed the ball 11 times for 44 yards against the Atlanta Falcons.

The idea of giving the starting job to Guice makes sense — he is supposed to be their franchise back and this is a rebuilding season for the Redskins. Dwayne Haskins is just waiting in the wings to take over the starting quarterback job and Guice is supposed to be his fellow backfield mate.

But why sign an elder running back who doesn’t fit into the team’s plans if you’re not going to at least use him?

Maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye, but the decision to re-up on Peterson is quickly looking like a dumb idea.

Don’t be surprised if you see Peterson on another NFL team very soon. It wouldn’t the first time that Peterson changes teams in the middle of an NFL season — he did it in 2017 when he was traded from the New Orleans Saints to the Arizona Cardinals after an unhappy four-game stint in New Orleans.

It looks like that’s bound to happen again to the former MVP in 2019.

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