In what seems to be a decade ago -- I guess it was Tuesday morning -- we discussed the difficult decision the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears would face in offering (or not) a second contract to tailbacks Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte, respectively.
FortePetersonThe Carolina Panthers had no such difficulty Wednesday, and I'll be curious to see how their deal with tailback DeAngelo Williams impacts the running back market. Williams, 28, received a five-year deal with a whopping $21 million in guarantees.
Williams is a one-time Pro Bowler who has averaged 842 rushing yards per season in his career. Peterson has averaged 1,442 while Forte has 1,078 yards. So if DeAngelo Williams got $21 million in guarantees, what does Peterson (and, for that matter, Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans) merit? How about $25 million? Do I hear $30 million?
Meanwhile: Should Forte be considered a financial equal to Williams? You could make that argument.
In any event, we're now talking about some awfully high numbers for players who man the most brutal position in the game. But the 2011 market has been set. We'll see soon enough how the Vikings and Bears view it.