Agent’s Take: Why the Adrian Peterson trade makes sense for Cardinals and Saints

The
New Orleans Saints
pulled the plug on the
Adrian Peterson
experiment after four games, trading him to
Arizona Cardinals
 Tuesday reportedly for a conditional 2018 sixth round draft pick. Peterson was the odd man out in a crowded Saints backfield. 

When Adrian Peterson signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract (worth up to $15.25 million through salary escalators and incentives) with the Saints shortly before the NFL draft in late April, the expectation was he would complement incumbent running back
Mark Ingram
, who had his first 1,000 rushing yard season in 2016. After trading a 2018 second round pick to select
Alvin Kamara
early in the third round of this year’s draft, there was speculation that Ingram would be most affected because of more overlap with their skillsets.

It didn’t work out that way thanks to Kamara’s versatility and head coach Sean Payton’s affinity for the rookie. Peterson’s playtime was significantly less than Ingram’s and Kamara’s. He only played 44 of the Saints’ 259 offensive snaps (17 percent playtime). By contrast, Ingram was on the field for 52.9 percent of New Orleans’ offensive plays. Kamara’s playtime was 35.1 percent. The prospect of increased snaps was unlikely with the Saints on a two game winning streak.

The four carries and six snaps Peterson received against the
Miami Dolphins
in Week 4 were career lows for the 11-year veteran. Peterson wasn’t making the most of his limited opportunities. He had rushed for 81 yards on 27 carries and caught two passes for four yards this season. 

Limited opportunity was unfamiliar territory for the seven-time Pro Bowler. Peterson averaged nearly 20 rushing attempts per game during his 10 years with the
Minnesota Vikings
. He had 16 games with the Vikings where he matched or…

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