Who is the highest paid running back in the 2022 NFL season?
Running backs are a unique commodity in the modern day NFL. In an increasingly pass-happy league, running backs are often an afterthought. But having a good one in your team can be the difference between one-dimensional play and attacking from all angles. With limited shelf lives due to the hits they take, running backs are always looking to maximize their earning opportunities by loading contracts up front.
So far in the 2022 NFL season, it is not surprising to see Derrick ‘The King’ Henry winning this race from his pretenders. Derrick Henry is expected to earn a whopping $14 million this season, which is the highest among running backs. He was not originally scheduled to earn the most, but the Tennessee Titans restructured it to pay him more this season. He is incredibly important to any success their franchise will enjoy.
The question then remains as to who was initially expected to earn the most in the 2022 season. Read more to find out.
NFL running backs: Big names earning the big bucks
As already mentioned before, without the Tennessee Titans restructuring Henry’s deal, he would not be the highest paid running back in the NFL. Before him, Ezekiel Elliott was supposed to be the highest paid running back with $12.4 million per season. Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon make up the top five with $11.5 million, $8.9 million and $8.7 million respectively.
In terms of contract value, Christian McCaffrey had the highest impact this season with $16 million. However, since that value also includes the signing bonus, the San Francisco 49ers do not have much to worry about. His salary for this year is less than $1 million.
Despite all the top running backs earning in the millions, it is still an underpaid position. Just on offense, they earn behind quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends and even offensive linemen. This is despite the fact that the punishment their bodies take despite repeated hits when trying to power past.
The main reason for this phenomenon is that running backs often have a very short shelf life because of the very same repeated contact. In addition, in every NFL Draft, there is value to be found in the running back position. Considering both the above factors, teams often figure that rookies can do the running back job. With an average career span of less than the duration of a rookie contract, they can afford to keep the position made measlily.
Hence, it is no surprise to see Derrick Henry cashing in this season when offered. With running backs, one never knows when the game is up.
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