It was becoming increasingly clear in the first four weeks of this NFL season who the odd man out was in the New Orleans Saints’ crowded backfield.
Running backs Mark Ingram’s and Alvin Kamara’s abilities showed that Adrian Peterson wasn’t working out, and the Saints traded Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals in a move that could work out for both teams. New Orleans can now focus on splitting time between Ingram and Kamara without dealing with the need to carry the ball three ways.
Arizona needed running-back help after an injury to running back David Johnson on Sept. 10. The “running back by committee” approach wasn’t working for the Cardinals, either.
Ingram is, without a doubt, the top guy in the Saints’ running-back rotation. He has the most carries with 42 for 170 yards and an average of four yards per carry. Unlike Peterson, he isn’t a liability in the passing game since he is a better blocker and pass catcher. The former University of Alabama star has made 15 catches on 22 throws for 125 yards.
However, the real reason that Peterson became expendable was the development of Kamara. He is the only running back on the roster to have a touchdown so far this season, with one rushing and one receiving score, and has 83 yards on 15 carries.
Kamara is second on the team in receiving yards, with 147, after making 20 catches on 28 throws. He has returned five kickoffs for 120 yards to add more value than Peterson was giving to New Orleans.
This season, Peterson has only gained 81 yards on 27 carries, and his longest run was just 11 yards. The former University of Oklahoma star has also made two catches on three throws for four yards.
He made headlines with a sideline exchange with head coach Sean Payton in the opening game of the season against the Minnesota Vikings. After the game, neither party would address what was said between the two men.
The future Hall of Fame running back quipped afterward that he didn’t come to New Orleans to play just nine snaps. Even after that first game, Peterson didn’t have a large role in the Saints’ offense.
Payton, during his time in New Orleans, has always used the “running back by committee” approach, which clashed with how most of Peterson’s career has gone, as he was the main workhorse.
This trade might help the Cardinals get their running game on track and get rid some of drama in the Saints’ backfield. ESPN’s Adam Schefter also reported that New Orleans will receive a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft for the trade.