Steelers RB Najee Harris was one of many running backs to attend the Zoom meeting organized by Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler to discuss and address the depressed running back market, according to multiple reports.
That’s not a surprise after Harris spoke out with other top running backs in the game about the market and its depressed value overall.
“I agree with my running back brothers around the NFL- history will show that you need running backs to win- we set the tone every game and run through walls for our team and lead in many ways- this notion that we deserve less is a joke,” Harris said.
The running backs previously organized a group text chain aimed at addressing the declining running back market. Overall, the state of the running back position hit an all-time low on Monday when all of Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, and Tony Pollard could not reach long-term extensions with their teams, continuing a troubling trend that hurts the position in the long run. Now, the running backs are taking to social media and organizing to speak out against the sentiment that running backs do not matter and that they deserve better contracts. The Steelers experienced something similar with Le’Veon Bell.
At minicamp, Harris expressed more frustration with the market and where it is at right now. A lot of events have opened his eyes to the market, and with his contract coming up in only a few years, he could see himself in a very similar situation to these guys in a few seasons.
“Yeah, man, you know, they say what they say about the running back. They say the position is kind of going downwards but, if you looked at some of the offenses, the running back is featured a lot,” Harris said. “So, just what the guys (Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs) were saying, just show a little more appreciation you know. Obviously it’s a rough position. What we’re asked to go through, it’s probably one of the roughest positions. I’m just advocating and I agree with pretty much what those guys are saying. I’m a running back myself and I’m pretty sure any running backs who will want to come into the league or just even people going around and telling them “if you want to get paid, don’t be a running back.”
Of course, the data argument from front offices will be used. It is hard to deny what they are saying, which is the fact that teams simply do not need top running backs to win right now. The list of Super Bowl winners does prove that through over the last few seasons. But it seems that running backs are bent on finding a solution.