The Minnesota Vikings declined Adrian Peterson‘s 2017 making him a free agent and the people in Vegas are making the Buccaneers the odds on favorite to sign him.
This is all started a month or so ago with an appearance on First Take when Adrian Peterson mentioned the Buccaneers as a team he’d like to play for. After his release today, social media was buzzing with speculation as to his best fits, likely landing spots, potential suitors; all the things you’d expect when a first ballot Hall of Famer is released from his team.
According to Bovada – an online sportsbook – the Bucs are listed at 3-1 favorites to have Peterson in uniform week one, followed by the Chiefs, Giants, Vikings, and Packers at 5-1 and the Raiders at 9-1. There is certainly a need – and likely interest – to justify those odds. I wrote last week about why I believed the Bucs were going to avoid the Peterson sweepstakes, but it appears that could be way off.
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Jason Licht tried to trade for Peterson before the 2015 season but Minnesota’s asking price was far too high. Now, he has the opportunity to not only acquire Peterson but to do so for a much lower price than it would have cost then both in terms of picks (obviously, it will cost none) and money.
The contract will be the sticking point for a lot of fans who aren’t sold on the idea of signing a running back on the plus side of thirty who has suffered two significant knee injuries in the last three seasons. However, that one healthy season resulted in him finishing as the rushing champion of the NFL, one spot above Doug Martin who was rewarded with a handsome contract.
If Adrian Peterson costs in the area of $10-million per season, he could almost be viewed as free. Should the Bucs sign him, Martin will inevitably be released saving the Bucs $7-million on the cap. Other players on the bubble include defensive end George Johnson and guard/center Evan Smith. Smith carries a cap number of $4.5-million while Johnson carries one of $2.25-million. Cutting either of these players in addition to Martin essentially pays for Peterson and they aren’t moves the Bucs weren’t going to make anyway.
The Peterson to Tampa rumors, hype train, and speculation is officially full throttle. Don’t be surprised if Licht does quite a bit of speaking to Peterson’s people in Indianapolis this week.