Former NFL offensive lineman and current analyst Mark Schlereth doesn’t want to hear current running backs complaining about the market regarding veteran ball-carriers and the position, in general.
“Frankly, I don’t have a lot of sympathy,” Schlereth explained about the situation during a recent appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show,” as shared by Sam Neumann of Awful Announcing. “You know what? You signed a collective bargaining agreement. You gave the franchise tag. You negotiated things like less practice time. And you negotiate stupid stuff. Hey, I’m part of that. I’m guilty…I was a player, too. I understand it. You negotiate stupid stuff. They know you’re gonna negotiate stupid stuff. It doesn’t really matter. And that’s your own fault.”
It’s been a rough year, thus far, for proven running backs as it pertains to holding onto jobs and getting paid the big bucks. Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook were released by their former teams, and Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard all failed to receive long-term contracts before the July 17 deadline for teams to sign franchise-tagged players to such agreements passed.
Pollard signed his tag earlier in the year, and Barkley accepted an adjusted one-year deal from the New York Giants last month worth up to $11M with incentives when he was due to earn $10.091M on the tag.
Giants backup running back Matt Breida noted in late July that the much-publicized Zoom call involving multiple players at the position essentially meant nothing since the collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2030 season and allows teams to handle the hard salary-cap system however they wish. Schlereth referred to the Zoom meeting as “stupid” and mentioned that teams routinely find good and inexpensive running backs late in drafts.
“It’s the market,” Schlereth continued. “Take the money that’s available to you. Go out there and play great. You know, whatever. I don’t have any sympathy, empathy, any of the -athy’s. None of the ‘-athy’s’ bother me. I don’t care.”