We continue our look at the most lucrative deals in football with the Running Backs. Ball carriers used to be a highly valued commodity in the NFL. The Herschel Walker trade is a great example of just how valuable a good runner used to be, but with the explosion of the passing offense their value has been eroded away. How has that translated to their pay checks? Well let’s take a look…. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: $42,000,000 No surprise that Peterson is #1 here. He restructured his deal in in July 2015, effectively signing a new 3 year, $42 million deal. As a former MVP, an every down back and the best rusher in the league is a well deserved contract. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles: $40,000,000 Murray signed this deal as a free agent last year. Coming off a fantastic season in which he won the rushing title it’s not a surprise that Murray was offered so much money, it’s just surprising that it was the Eagles who gave it to him. Chip Kelly’s 2015 offense was a vastly different to the one Murray had come from and didn’t suit him at all, leading to an extremely disappointing year. With Kelly gone for 2016 though I expect something of a return to form for Murray. As long as he stays healthy. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills: $40,000,000 McCoy negotiated this 5 year deal after he was traded to the Bills last year. It’s a nice number for both sides considering McCoy’s outstanding on-field skills but also his injury history. He had a great 2015, helped by a good offensive line, and looks very at home in the Bills offense. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers: $36,500,000 Stewart is a good back when healthy, but since signing this 5 year deal in August 2012 he has been blighted with injury after injury. Carolina simply haven’t seen a good return for the investment made in Stewart. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks: $24,000,000 Lynch signed the 2 year extension last March, which will keep him in Seattle, all being well, through 2017. He has been the bedrock of the Seahawks offense since arriving after a disappointing spell in Buffalo. From causing a minor earthquake with his run against the Saints in the playoffs to carrying Seattle to Super Bowl XLVIII and then famously not being allowed to carry them to XLIX, Lynch has been produced over and above what the ‘Hawks have been paying him. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs: $18,100,000 #6 and we’re already under the $20 million mark. That really is deminishing value! Charles is a great running back, his career mark of 5.5 yards a carry is the best among RB’s and he’s still producing at a fantastic rate. Unfortunately ACL tears in 2011 and 2015 have cost him almost 2 full seasons and are partially responsible for the relatively low 2 year extension he is currently playing on. CJ Spiller, New Orleans Saints: $16,000,000 Another free agent deal from last year. Spiller has had one truly outstanding year in 2012 when he rushed for 1,244 yards at an incredible 6 yards per carry. Since then his production has taken a nose-dive and it looks like the Saints are going to struggle to recoup their money on Spiller, especially since they’re paying out to another running as well…. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints: $16,000,000 Ingram signed his 4 year deal a week before Spiller, putting the Saints backfield as one of the most expensive in the NFL. Unfortunately they’re also drastically unproductive. Spiller’s dreadful 2015 wasn’t quite echoed by Ingram, but he wasn’t impressive either. For all the investment the Saints have put into Ingram, from trading up to draft him in the first round, to this resigning, they are yet to get a 1,000 yard season from the former Heisman trophy winner. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams: $13,823,183 The fact that a rookie, who’s contract value is capped, makes this list is a surprise, but also demonstrates the very low value placed on individual running backs by the modern NFL. Gurley had a fantastic rookie campaign with the Rams, finishing 3rd in overall rushing and being the one bright spot on their offense. The Rams have a potential superstar on their hands in Todd Gurley and he is very much worth his current contract, and then some. Shane Vereen, New York Giants: $12,350,000 Shane Vereen might be a surprising name to some here, but he hit the free agency market at the right time in his career: Just after being a key part to the Patriots Super Bowl win. Vereen is very much a “receiving back” more than a running back. He is capable of lining up outside as a wide receiver and beating linebackers in man coverage or working himself open against zone looks. His ability in that role was greatly exploited by New England and that hooked the Giants into making him the 10th best paid running back in the NFL. He’s not been quite as deadly with New York as he was with the Patriots but it can take a while for the timing and understanding to develop, 2016 should see him produce more for the Giants.