NFL running backs meet to discuss position’s depressed wages | NFL

Cleveland Browns star Nick Chubb was one of several NFL running backs to take part in a Zoom call on Saturday night to discuss the current trend of the position being underpaid and devalued by some teams.

Chubb is under contract through next season, but said he has already contemplated his future in a market increasingly becoming less friendly to running backs.

Chubb said he was on the call with Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants, Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans and Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers. ProFootballTalk.com said the meeting was organized by LA Chargers running back Austin Ekeler.

Barkley has threatened to sit out training camp in protest after he couldn’t come to terms on a long-term contract last week. The Giants signed him to the $10m franchise tender for running backs.

“There’s really nothing we can do,” Chubb said on Sunday following practice. “We’re kind of handcuffed with the situation. Our production hurts us the most. If we go out there and run for 2,000 yards with so many carries, the next year they’re going to say you’re probably worn down.

“That’s the biggest thing that I took from it. It’s just tough. It hurts us just to go out there and do good. It hurts us at the end of the day.” Chubb rushed for a career-high 1,525 yards last season with 12 touchdowns.

Chubb said he understands the business of football, but that doesn’t make it any easier for him to see other running backs suffer.

“I got another year [under contract],” said Chubb, who will be the Browns’ 10th-highest paid player this year. “So I mean it’s easy for me to say it’s not a big deal, but next year it could be me in the same situation. But for right now, I do got one more year. I’m here. I’m all in. I’m ready to work with my guys.”

NFL rules have changed over the past two decades to enhance scoring, and place more importance on the passing game. QBs have more protection. Wide receivers have more freedom to roam the field. Defensive players have to be concerned about getting penalized for illegal hits.

The result has been staggering offensive numbers for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends. Meanwhile, running backs – despite their versatility and responsibilities – have become less valuable, something reflected in their contracts.