In recent years, the running back position has become seriously devalued in the NFL. With the push toward more passing in the league and the success of late-round and undrafted players, the market for marquee running backs has nosedived.
This is something Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris recognizes and seems willing to take some radical measures to fix. Fellow NFL running back Mark Ingram suggested that NFL running backs should consider forming their own union in order to secure better contracts and make the money they believe they deserve. A move Harris is on board with.
“I mean, I’m open to it,” Harris admitted. “I’m not trying to go into the details of what to do. I’m just saying I understand what they’re saying.”
While I can appreciate what Ingram, Harris and others are saying about the matter, it’s hard to imagine anything like this ever happening. The reality is the NFL is a league driven by money and people tune in to see 35-28 games with lots of offense, no 10-7 slugfests.
Harris’ own situation in Pittsburgh is a perfect example of why backs are not getting the same amount of attention and compensation they feel they deserve. Harris’ backup is undrafted Jaylen Warren and he’s proven to be a starter-quality back. Harris’ cap his in 2023 is $3.56 million and Warren’s cap hit is $870,000. If a team can make that swap every few years without a significant drop in production, they will continue to do it.