Everybody wants to play for the Cowboys.
The glitter. The glamour. That Jerry Jones money.
The Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s La La Land, its city of dreams.
Why else would free agents and NFL draftees all say they want to play for a franchise that has won only two playoff games in 21 seasons?
And now, it seems, somebody who knows Adrian Peterson — maybe AP himself — told somebody who knows somebody that, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Shefter, Peterson wouldn’t mind joining the Jones gang in 2017.
Slight problem, though. The Cowboys already have the next Adrian Peterson. Ezekiel Elliott will be coming off a rookie season in which he caught 32 passes, scored 16 touchdowns and rushed for 1,631 yards.
Peterson, who’s 10 years older than Elliott, was hurt most of 2016 and played in only three games, running for 72 yards.
This Valentine’s Day bromance between AP and Owner Jones is nothing new, you may recall. In an ESPN The Magazine 2014 feature on Jones — headlined, deliciously, Jerry Football — the owner answers a phone call from Peterson in which, from the sound of things, Adrian seems to be shaking down Jerry Paycheck for a job.
A year later, after free agent DeMarco Murray departed Arlington, Peterson was frequently mentioned as a possible replacement. He ended up restructuring his original seven-year, $100 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings, and there he sits, caught between a wish and a hard place.
If the Vikings choose to keep him at his current price, Peterson will cost the team $18 million next season. The next-highest-paid running back in the league, Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, makes about half of that.
Another ESPN guy, ex-NFL safety Ryan Clark, went on TV to say he thought Peterson in a Cowboys uniform is an idea that could become real. All Peterson has to do, Clark said, is to be a comfortable partner in a “dual-back system and get his 15-20 carries.”
Oh, and the cash has to be right, Clark added.
Is that all?
Jones already has a veteran running back on the roster, Alfred Morris, that he’s not using, and he’s due to pay him $2.14 million next season. Jones might also like to have free agent Darren McFadden back.
If you think Adrian Peterson, seven-time Pro Bowl back and league MVP in 2012, will take an 80 percent pay cut and watch from the sideline as Elliott’s backup, maybe the Cowboys really are the league’s La La Land.
Why take “15-20 carries” away from Elliott?
This is a move you would make in your fantasy league, not in the real NFL. Granted, some would argue that General Manager Jones already runs the team like a fantasy owner — a bad fantasy owner. He did, after all, want to draft Johnny Manziel.
No, the Cowboys need McFadden’s versatility. He’s a better pass catcher than Adrian. And who expects Peterson to be eager to block a blitzing safety?
In the end, there is nothing for the Cowboys to like about obtaining Peterson. The Vikings will likely release him, and Peterson will be running for somebody else next season — maybe the Giants or Packers.
Owner Jones already has a pretty good running back, in case he didn’t notice while he was talking to AP on the phone.
Peterson won’t be the last to call. It’s why the owner is Jerry Football.