By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s unclear what spills into the waters in New England every time NFL free agency rolls around, but it’s happened again. Every year, without fail, a big-name star player who may be past his prime hits the open market. Then, far too many fans and media members say that it would be a good idea for the Patriots to sign him – or that such a move would even a possibility.
This year, Adrian Peterson takes that crown.
Once it became known that Peterson would become an unrestricted free agent, the standard “Should the Patriots sign [insert big name here]?” questions slithered back out of the woodwork. Thankfully, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio has ended this madness, reporting on Wednesday that the Patriots have not even discussed the possibility of signing Peterson – and it’s “safe to assume” that they won’t discuss it in the future.
Yes, Peterson has put together a phenomenal career and could very well get a bust in Canton soon after his career ends. But he also turns 32 on March 21 and is coming off an injury-shortened 2016 season. Whoever does end up paying Peterson is likely paying more for his name than for whatever production he has left.
There’s also the lesser-but-still-relevant issue that Peterson may still fancy himself the perennial All-Pro who rushed for over 2,000 yards five years ago. He may feel underutilized if he’s getting less than 20-plus touches a game or being the focal point of his team’s offense. That would not fly in Foxboro.
But that’s still just a minor issue compared to the real problem with Peterson. Ultimately, the biggest reason why the Patriots were never going to have a serious discussion about him is because of his off-field issues with the past abuse of his son.
After the way Robert and Jonathan Kraft each made a point to publicly denounce players who commit any form of domestic violence, there’s no way that either of them would sign off on any kind of deal with Peterson. Robert, in particular, said on CBS This Morning that Ray Rice would never play in the NFL again after his 2014 domestic violence incident, while Jonathan said in a 2014 Patriots pregame interview that there was no gray area with domestic violence and that it was something the Patriots would never tolerate.
That is why any inkling that the Patriots would have any interest in Peterson was silly. Considering the Krafts’ hard stance on domestic violence – and the rarity of the Patriots signing an expensive free agent at any position, let alone running back – this was simply never going to happen.
If you think the Patriots are stupid not to consider Peterson, then you must not subscribe to “In Bill We Trust.” You can’t kneel at the altar of Belichick and also question why he wouldn’t even think about making the kind of move he almost never makes. Can’t have it both ways. You should pick one – and in the case of Peterson, the Patriots are right to take a hard pass.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.