POSTED 9:24 a.m. EST, January 12, 2007
Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson claims that, contrary to published reports, he has yet to decide whether to sacrifice his final season of eligibility and declare for the NFL draft.
We generally believe that running backs should get while the getting is good, but it could be that Peterson is taking stock of his draft stock and pondering whether, come 2008, he stands a chance at getting drafted significantly higher than he might in 2007.
For a running back, there are essentially two contracts that matter.
The rookie deal, and the extension/free agent deal.
By the time both of those expire, the guy usually is too old and/or banged up to get really big money.
And, as to the rookie contract, there's a huge difference between being Reggie Bush (No. 2 in 2006) and Laurence Maroney (No. 21).
Bush got more than $20 million in guaranteed money; Maroney got roughly a fourth of that.
The key for Peterson is figuring out where he's expected to go in 2007, and predicting where he might go in 2008.
And if anyone out there has a crystal ball they're not using, Adrian would like to borrow it for the weekend.
Actually, one league source thinks that Peterson will be a top-seven pick this year, if he comes out.
But there's still a big financial difference between being No. 7 and being No. 1 or No. 2.
The other reality, of course, is that there's no guarantee that his stock will rise considerably in 2007, and that by staying he is delaying his NFL payday (and ultimately his free agency contract) by a year.
But the lure of becoming the next Bush is likely strong.
There's nothing like 2,000 yards and a Heisman to vault a guy into the top few picks.
"The facts are that I have not hired any representation and I have not declared for the draft," Peterson said Thursday in a statement. "My meetings with Coach [Bob] Stoops and my parents have been to discuss all the scenarios.
"I see a lot of options in both so I am still undecided on what I want to do.
I wish people would give me the opportunity to decide.
Once I do, I will make an announcement at the right time.
Any reports that are different than that are false."
The "right time" is coming soon, if ever.
Peterson has until Monday to make up his mind.