Adrian Peterson, Saints nearing deal after humbling free agency tour for RB

Charles RobinsonNFL columnist

After nearly six weeks on the free-agent market, Adrian Peterson has a contract offer.

A source close to the former All-Pro running back told Yahoo Sports that the New Orleans Saints have advanced a pair of contract options to Peterson. The offers include a one- or two-year deal and the Saints are working on closing an agreement. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport previously reported the first-year salary in the range of $3 million.

If Peterson signs – and the source said he’s leaning toward that outcome – it will end a humbling free-agent experience in which Peterson visited only the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. After both visits, those franchises went in different directions, signing Eddie Lacy and Mike Gillislee, respectively. Indeed, the current Saints offer is the only one Peterson has landed on the market, and another likely wouldn’t have come until after the NFL draft or potentially even as late as the start of training camps in July.

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Adrian Peterson is mulling over a potential move to New Orleans. (AP)
Adrian Peterson is mulling over a potential move to New Orleans. (AP)

The Saints opted not to wait that long, though, bringing Peterson in for a visit that was apparently enjoyed by the running back, who met with the coaching staff and spent time with head coach Sean Payton talking about the team’s future. Payton also apparently has been a big factor in bringing the deal together, reaching out to Peterson following his visit and continuing talks.

There were other factors surrounding the Saints that helped speed along a potential deal. The source told Yahoo Sports that Peterson likes the city of New Orleans and the proximity to his offseason home in Texas, allowing him to potentially finish his career close to family. He also is convinced that the Saints aren’t that far from being a competitive team, at least partially based on seven of last season’s nine losses coming by six points or less.

Another major factor is the Saints run an offense that isn’t overwhelmingly predicated on shotgun formations – a scheme aspect that closed many NFL doors to the aging star. However, if Peterson, 32, lands with New Orleans, he will have to split carries with current starter Mark Ingram, although Ingram is a more versatile player in the passing game.

The Saints open the 2017 season on Monday night at the Minnesota Vikings, Peterson’s former team.

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