Tuesday, July 17, 2023, went down as a day when star NFL running backs across the league became vehemently vocal about the value of their position. They fired off on social media in response to a tweet from ESPN NFL scouting director Matt Miller on a day when not one but three different star running backs didn’t get extensions.
Trio of Pro Bowl RBs Never Reached Agreement on Extension, Leading to Vocal Twitter Posts
Three different running backs, five combined Pro Bowl appearances, all up for a contract extension … and not one broke the bank or reached a new deal.
Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants, Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys, and Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders were not given extensions on their current deals. This decision can now give their teams the luxury of franchise tagging them.
But not reaching an agreement wasn’t the only thing that triggered some star RBs across the league. So did this tweet from Miller, who sounded off with this outline:
Been saying it for years:
1. Draft a RB
2. Play the RB
…if he's good…
3. Franchise tag the RB ONE TIME
1. Draft a RB…
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) July 17, 2023
But that only brought out the vocal side of numerous backfield stars, beginning with the league’s last 2,000-yard rusher: Derrick Henry.
“At this point, just take the RB position out the game then. The ones that want to be great and work as hard as they can to give their all to an organization, just seems like it don’t even matter. I’m with every RB that’s fighting to get what they deserve,” Henry said to Miller.
The Tennessee Titans’ perennial Pro Bowl back, who rushed for 2,027 yards in 2020, wasn’t the only one critical of Miller’s post. Ekeler, who faced his own contract dispute with his team during the offseason, was another who sounded off.
“This is the kind of trash that has artificially devalued one of the most important positions in the game. Everyone knows it’s tough to win without a top RB, and yet they act like we are discardable widgets. I support any RB doing whatever it takes to get his bag,” Ekeler said in his response to Miller’s post.
There was one more responder to Miller’s take: Indianapolis Colts 2021 Pro Bowl RB Jonathan Taylor, who decided to give Miller’s post a remix.
1. If you’re good enough, they’ll find you.
2. If you work hard enough, you’ll succeed.
…If you succeed…
3. You boost the Organization
Doesn’t matter, you’re a RB https://t.co/mG6In1ATGg
— Jonathan Taylor (@JayT23) July 17, 2023
Christian McCaffrey Gives Strong Take on State of RBs Following Botched Extension Deals
While he didn’t respond directly to the draft analyst, San Francisco 49ers star Christian McCaffrey joined in on defending the value of running backs.
His response was based on Bro Bible’s Dov Kleiman’s report of Barkley, Pollard, and Jacobs not reaching a new deal.
“This is Criminal. Three of the best PLAYERS in the entire league, regardless of position,” McCaffrey said via Twitter.
Miller, though, wasn’t backing off on his statement involving the current value of running backs as he shared this response to Ekeler, bringing up a rival of the Charger RB.
“The Chiefs won the Super Bowl with no receivers having over 1,000 yards and a starting RB drafted in Round 7,” Miller explained to Ekeler. “Having a great RB is valuable, but there’s a question of what that value is. I didn’t make the rules. I’m just pointing them out.”