MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Rahaam Mostert justifiably wants running backs to get paid more. He also rightfully knows that the Miami Dolphins would be better if they sign star running back Dalvin Cook.
What Mostert didn’t say during his insightful pre-training camp news conference:
The second thing on his wishlist is only possible because of this first.
Miami Dolphins’ Raheem Mostert on Dalvin Cook, RB Contracts
Mostert, currently Miami’s RB1, is set to earn just $2.2 million in 2023. That’s probably less than he would have earned a decade ago when the salary cap was far smaller. But he, like every other running back whose contracts expired this offseason, is getting less than he should.
On Tuesday, Mostert gave voice to the frustration his peers are feeling — a list that includes Saquon Barkley, who agreed to a one-year deal that guarantees him no more than the franchise tag he refused to sign earlier in the summer.
Mostert’s answer to a question about that dynamic was so good we’re going to publish it in full:
“it’s a very touchy subject right now, especially in, in the position of the running backs. This game is evolving, more so than ever, into a pass game, and, you know, you have to look at it as, ‘Hey, look, this is something that we have to adjust to.’ But at the same time, we still understand our value.
“As you can tell, you can see what’s going on with all the different running backs, you know, not being paid the way they’re supposed to be, which is unfortunate. But, I think it’s, it’s definitely one of those points where you do have to make a stand. I mean, think about, you know, other positions in the league that, you know, back in the day were non-existent. Receivers were definitely, you know, that case. And now they’re, they’re, you know, being blown up in the aspect of being, you know, important in the offense, you know, vice versa.
“So in regards to running back, you know, we do, have to do a lot and, you know, it, it’s definitely sad that it has to be, you know, at this point. But, like I said, it’s understandable, too, just because the game is evolving. But, if you see what we were able to do, I mean, we’re the ones that’s taking the hits. We’re the ones that’s, you know, blocking guys are two, three, four times bigger than us. We’re also running the ball and catching it out of the backfield.
“Being in the position where we had to run routes too. The value of the running back position is definitely going down. But, you know, it’s, it’s time for teams to make a stand and. And guys like us to make a stand. And that is definitely an important game because when the past game is not nonexistent and who they’re gonna lean on? You know, it’s just a question that you gotta ask yourself. It’s definitely the run game.
“I was a receiver at once, you know. That’s my natural position, so I understand the receivers’ aspect as well. But, in this league right now, you definitely have to value running backs. It has to happen. Something has to change.”
Raheem Mostert on Dalvin Cook
Problem is, there’s no incentive for teams to change. Running backs are their most valuable on their rookie contracts. By the time the first-rounders hit free agency — particularly if they get tagged like Barkley and Josh Jacobs — they’re pushing 30.
That’s ancient at that position.
Teams see the right move financially is to either lowball those veterans or let them walk. That’s what happened to Cook, whom the Vikings cut this offseason instead of paying $10 million.
The Dolphins are among the teams interested in signing Cook, but certainly not at that price. They want a discount and are apparently willing to wait him out.
So the same market forces that are depressing Mostert’s wages are also creating an opening for the Dolphins to have one of the best running back rooms in football.
“I was in San Francisco, and we brought in Tevin Coleman, Jerry McKinnon, and Matt Breida, you know, just to name a few guys. They’re all starters, they’re all elite guys, and they, they’ve made unbelievable plays in their career. And just to add somebody like Dalvin will be, will be good, you know, in the backfield.
“But at the end of the day, it’s more so about what’s on the team right now, you know, the guys that we got to work with. And just be better as a group, you know, it’ll always be a bonus to add running back in.
“You know, we all learn and piggyback off each other. I mean, you see what happened last year when we did add Jeff Wilson to the mix. You see how the game went for both of us, in the, in the running back room. So a lot has come from the value of adding another running back, you know, it’s more of a running back group rather than going against each other because we’re all on the same team at the end of the day.
“So, that’s the approach that you have to have and, and be a professional about it when you bring in somebody.”
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