The Detroit Lions are clearly doing their due diligence when it comes to adding veteran running backs. They are reportedly meeting with both Jonathan Stewart and DeMarco Murray on Monday, two veteran running backs who were cut by their teams to save some cap room.
Another running back is set to join them, as the Arizona Cardinals are expected to release All-Pro Adrian Peterson:
Cardinals expected to release RB Adrian Peterson today, per source. Peterson has a $750,000 bonus due on the third day of league year, Friday, so Arizona saves money. But Peterson still could return to Arizona later, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2018
There have been no reported ties to the Detroit Lions at this point, and there may not be any coming. After all, Peterson is very much on the last leg of his career, and if it weren’t for an injury situation in Arizona, Peterson may not have played at all in 2017.
But hear me out. There are a few reasons why it would make sense for the Lions to take a look.
He fits the profile
The Lions have already made it abundantly clear they don’t mind taking a look at aging running backs with an injury history. Both Stewart and Murray are on the wrong side of 30 and have dealt with injuries, leading to down years in 2017.
Peterson is older than the bunch—he turns 33 next week—and he’s dealt with more serious injuries. However, Peterson showed flashes of his former self with the Cardinals in 2017, rushing for over 130 yards and 4.3 YPC on two different occasions. Of course, he still managed to finish with 3.4 YPC on the season, so...
The Lions may or may not have had interest last year
Peterson hit free agency last year, and there was a brief moment in which the Lions were linked to the veteran running back.
NOTE: THESE ARE TWEETS FROM 2017
With Lacy landing in Seattle and Murray landing in Minnesota, would keep an eye on OAK, DET as possible landing spots for AP at right price— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 16, 2017
Filed to SiriusXM: Adrian Peterson wants to take his time & not in a rush to sign. OAK, SEA, NE, DET, GB, and MIN are all possibilities.— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) March 8, 2017
Of course, both of these “rumors” don’t say that the Lions had interest in Peterson (and both oddly omit the Saints, who eventually signed Peterson). Still, there was enough buzz to indicate that there may have been some consideration.
When asked about it last year, general manager Bob Quinn had this to say about Peterson: “I think AP still has plenty left in the tank. We’ll see how it goes.”
Lions OL coach has worked with Peterson before
The Detroit Lions’ new offensive line coach was partially responsible for Peterson’s extremely successful career with the Vikings. Davidson was the offensive line coach from 2011 to 2015, which includes Peterson’s record-breaking 2,000-yard season.
All that being said, I’m not sure the Lions want to mess around with Peterson. He is now three years removed from what can be considered a successful season. While there may be a chance that Murray or Stewart sees one or two more productive years, that seems quite unlikely for Peterson.