By Shan Shariff


UPDATE 9/19: Read > A few thoughts after the reaction to this blog

Shan Shariff | @New SchoolSS

DALLAS, Texas (105.3 THE FAN) – Christmas may have just come early for the Dallas Cowboys. An unbelievable opportunity may be on the horizon where the best running back in football could be available. Jerry Jones can once again swing for the green he missed in Johnny Manziel.

Adrian Peterson could be coming home.

The Present

After receiving financial pressure from sponsors, the Minnesota Vikings reversed course Wednesday morning and banned Peterson from all football activities until his legal issues are resolved. This likely ends his 2014 season with court proceedings not expected for weeks, if not months.

If I’m Peterson, I’m PISSED at Vikings ownership.

You mean to tell me the Panthers, 49ers and Ravens ALL showed more loyalty to guys who did worse than me?  I froze my ass off while carrying your crappy franchise for 7 years and you turn your back like this? You know me well enough by now to know I’m not a child abuser. You not only know how I was raised, you KNOW the type of father and man I am, yet you still caved to public pressure rather than stand by my side while due process plays out.

How do team and player move forward from this? Will Vikings fans ever accept AP wearing their colors again? How angry is Peterson and will he be able to forgive and forget? It looks like this is the end of the purple brick road. (I’ll be here all night…)

The Future

Remember this excerpt from the ESPN Jerry Jones profile last month?

“A man taps Jones on the shoulder, says Adrian Peterson wants to say hello and hands over an iPhone. Jones says hi to the Minnesota Vikings’ star running back and listens, nodding but not smiling. “Well, I understand, Adrian,” he says into the phone. The slanted smile returns. “I’d like that, too. … Well, I love your story. I love your daddy’s story. I’ve always respected what you’ve been about. I’ve always been a fan of yours.”

Listening to half the conversation, it is obvious Peterson is telling Jones he wants to play for the Cowboys. Peterson, 29, is in the fourth year of a seven-year, $100 million contract that will pay him $11.75 million this autumn to play for the Vikings.

“Well, we’ll see what we can do, if we can make that happen,” Jones is now saying. “Hmm-hmm…I’d like that, too. Well, we’re talking pig Latin here, but let’s see if we can do that.”

The best running back in football wants to finish his career with America’s Team. Peterson was born here, raised here and still thinks about playing here: “”You know, I’d be a liar if I said it’s something that hasn’t crossed my mind before. “Being from Texas, I’ve always wondered, wow, it would be cool to play in Dallas, to play back home,”” Peterson said on ESPN’s SVP & Russillo.

It’s true – these aren’t your older sister’s Dallas Cowboys.

With the exception of Tony Romo’s contract extension (fear of losing a QB), Jerry has showed a new-found financial restraint:

Broken down Demarcus Ware wants $10 mill a year? See ya.

Jared Allen and Julius Peppers are available for a DREADFUL defense? No thanks.

Dez Bryant wants Megatron or AJ Green money? You’ll have to wait.

Peterson, 29, is in the fourth year of a seven-year, $100 million contract that will pay him $11.75 million this autumn to play for the Vikings.

Fortunately for the Cowboys (and any other team that may want him), Adrian Peterson’s earning power has taken a hit that even his switch beatings couldn’t produce.  He’s still the best back in football, but he’ll be 30-years old in March, and 30-something NFL RB’s have the lifespan of V. Stiviano. They’re an unnecessary, replaceable, dying breed that will keep Emmitt Smith’s rushing record forever intact.

But this is Adrian Peterson. He’s a freak of nature – who thanks to his suspension – will have one less year of wear and tear on his resume. Plus, there are always exceptions to the rule. Emmitt, Barry, Curtis Martin, Priest Holmes, Tiki Barber, Warrick Dunn and Frank Gore all got it done at age 30 or older.

*Check out this chart for further evidence!

Glitz and Glamour

People say, “You said it yourself Shariff, these aren’t the same old Cowboys. Jerry even passed on Johnny!”

True, Jerry didn’t get his shiny new Manziel toy. But we all know how much it PAINED him to pass on the pick.

“I am still so damn mad. I get madder, every day, about missin’ him.” said Jones. “You need to drive across the water rather than lay up. And we laid up for this one. … We just didn’t get here makin’ this kind of decision.”

I’m not willing to bet Jerry would lay up again, especially with the chance of a discount for an aging, ‘abusive’ running back. We also know the Cowboys don’t hesitate to give second chances (see Josh Brent).

At the end of the day, Jerry is and always will be about “the glitz and the glamour.” What team is Michael Sam on again?

East Texas Acceptance

“Adrian Peterson is a monster.”
“He’s just the same and maybe WORSE than Ray Rice.”
“I don’t want a guy like that on my favorite team.”

These are comments being made in every part of the country, but there’s less being made here in the great state of Texas. They are reportedly angry in Minnesota. They don’t view Peterson’s methods as a form of discipline. They view it as a form of abuse. The reaction is a mixture of outrage, anger and attack. The reaction HERE is a mixture of understanding, acceptance and debate. Adrian was raised in East Texas.

They just don’t understand AP like ‘we’ do.

‘We’ believe and practice corporal punishment. We got Whoopins, beatings, belts and switches administered like a bath at night. We agree and support your way of parenting Adrian. We get it, because it’s the way we grew up. Come back home and finish your HOF career here. We would welcome you with open arms like no one else in the country.

What About DeMarco?

Adrian Peterson is about to be 30 and Demarco Murray will be 27 in February.

Sounds simple, right? Go with the youth. Stick with the young horse about to enter his prime vs the worn vet about to be extinct. I get your rationale and I’ll agree…..IF you can answer these 2 questions:

1) Do you trust Demarco Murray to remain healthy as your franchise back?
2) Who will be the better player over the next 2 years?

My personal answers are: 1. no and 2. Adrian.

3 – 6 – 2. These are the games missed in Demarco’s first three Cowboy seasons.

I have no doubt he’s a stud in the making. He runs HARD and never leaves a yard on the field. Problem is, he’s inherited the curse of Dez. It’s a challenge to his manhood to duck out of bounds. It’s insulting to be taken down by one tackler instead of four. He will initiate the contact instead of let you deliver the contact. He’s a mean, nasty, punishing SOB. But it also makes him injury prone.

If Demarco stays healthy for all 16 this year, do your injury questions disappear? Mine don’t.

Adrian Peterson rushed for 1,.200 yards last season in 14 games. Murray’s career high is 1,100.

Adrian ran for over 2,000 yards in 2012. Demarco had 2,000 visits to the doctor’s office.

Adrian still has explosive speed, cuts and moves. Murray has one 90-yard run vs the St. Louis Rams.

Peterson will be coming off a season of rest. Demarco will be coming off a new contract.

In an ideal world, the devalued world of running backs hurts BOTH guys. Demarco doesn’t get his fat extension on the open market and Adrian has to settle on a price punishment for being “the purple people beater.”

In an ideal world, they’re both in the Cowboys backfield next year, spelling each other. But if I have to pick the better talent/player, I’m still taking AP. (And no, I refuse to call him by his super-cool initials “AD.”

The Finances

Here’s where it gets tricky! Our Cowboys insider Mike Fisher has the brain and man-power to explain this far better than me, but I’ll give you what I’ve gathered from different articles:

BusinessInsider.com:
“Peterson is three years into a six-year, $96 million contract extension. However, the Vikings have already paid out the $36 million in guaranteed money that the contract contained. That means they can cut Peterson without paying him a dime of the $56 million he is owed between now and 2017. The only financial penalty of cutting him would be a small cap hit ($2.7 million this year and $2.4 million in 2015).
Because Peterson’s contract is non-guaranteed from here on, the Vikings have no real obligation to keep him.
Even before the allegations of child abuse, Peterson’s contract was a knock against him. He’s the 12th-highest-paid player in the NFL this year. In a time when running backs are less important than ever before, Peterson is getting paid like one of the league’s most important players.”

CBSsports.com (The greatest company ever created, like ever):
“Peterson’s contract averages $14.5 million per season, per the NFLPA’s database, while the next highest-paid back, LeSean McCoy, makes $9 million a year on a deal he signed in 2012. No running back has been able to even reach the $10 million Chris Johnson (since released by the Titans) earned in 2013 as part of a renegotiation reached with the Titans back in 2011. While values for quarterbacks and tight ends have increased, even the league’s best backs have failed to come close to hitting Peterson’s contract numbers. And there have been whispers about the Vikings trying to get out of this contract before it is set to conclude in 2017. Frankly, it would be easier for them to do so in the next few months than ever before.  The Vikings would save $13 million in real money, and $13 million in cap space, by parting with him. In 2016 his contract has $15 million in cash value, and in 2017 that total jumps to $18 million.
Even without this incident, it seemed quite unlikely Peterson would see that kind of money at the tail end of the deal because he would be older than 30. A renegotiation, trade or release would be looming in another year or two, anyway.”

A trade is in essence a non-starter. Even before these career-altering legal issues emerged, few teams would have been willing to absorb that high a salary for Peterson at the heighs of his prowess and marketing potential. Now, he’s untouchable … especially at this inflated price.

“No one in their right mind would trade for him,” one longtime executive said. “Who is going to hold a press conference to announce that they have acquired a child beater?” another asked.”

So there it is.  More than enough financial reasons for Minnesota to cut strings with Peterson.

A trade isn’t happening now because his name is toxic and no one wants that current salary. The Vikings save cap space while not being on the hook for a 30-year-old running back on a going nowhere team.

The salary cap hit is minimal and your fan base won’t revolt if you kick him out of Dodge. It’s freaking perfect!!

In order to guess AP’s next contract vs Demarco’s upcoming extension, let’s take a look at this year’s highest paid RB’s from spotrac.com:

RBSalary

Just so you know, MMQB.com averaged out the top 10 RB contracts handed out to free agents this offseason and the average was $2.47 million (OUCH- may as well work in radio).

If i’m Demarco, I’m aiming at the recent deals of Ray Rice (5-35) and Matt Forte (4-30.4), both signed in 2012.

Has the RB position been devalued even more since then? Are you paying that much if you’re the Cowboys? Would you rather pay a 30 year-old Adrian Peterson 2-14 or 3-18?

I admit, all the finances and cap figures are above my head. I won’t pretend to know how the actual deals are structured and back-loaded.

But here’s what I do know:

Adrian Peterson is a freaking stud. He’s about to be available at a discount rate. Yes, he’s about to turn 30, but he’s staying 29 because of the year off. He WANTS to come back home and finish his career in Dallas. He’ll be more accepted here than any other part of the country.

DeMarco Murray is seeking the biggest pay-day of his career. He also seeks out medical attention from running so hard every damn carry.  Jerry Jones still loves the glitz and the glamour. He’s bitter he didn’t get to keep Johnny Football in Texas. Double J hates laying up on the golf course of life. Time to go for the green you love so much Jerry.

Put a star on Adrian’s helmet.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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