NFL star RB met on Zoom to talk about his financial situation

July 23, 2023, 12:52 PM ET

Several star NFL quarterbacks took part in a Zoom call on Saturday to discuss the depressed market for players in their positions.

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb confirmed Sunday that he participated in the call and said Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey were also in the encounter. Josh Jacobs also took part, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler., which first reported the news, said the meeting was hosted by Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers, who has been outspoken about NFL defenders not being paid their true worth.

The source told Fowler that running backs kicked ideas during the call, but no big plans emerged from the meeting.

“Right now, there’s really nothing we can do,” Chubb said on Sunday. “We’re kind of shackled to this situation. We’re the only position where our production cost us the most. If we go out there and run for 2,000 yards with so much baggage, next year they’re going to say, you’re probably tired. It’s tough. … It hurts us at the end of the day.”

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Barkley and Jacobs received franchise labels from the New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders respectively, but were unable to agree on a long-term contract before last Monday’s deadline. Neither player signed their franchise tender, worth $10.091 million to running back, and are not expected to report to training camp with the rest of their team, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The two unsigned stars will lose money only if they miss a regular season game and lose a game check.

Barkley said in a taped “The Money Matters” podcast before the deadline for franchise players to agree long-term deals that he considered not playing for the Giants this season amid his impasse with the team.

Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys also received the franchise label, but unlike Barkley and Jacobs, had signed off on his tender.

After three defensemen were unable to agree on long-term deals before the deadline, several prominent defenders, including Henry, McCaffrey, Ekeler and Najee Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers, tweeted their displeasure at the financial state of their positions.

“We’re in a really tricky situation, running backwards overall. Saquon is a great player, and you can ask anyone in the league or even at the Giants how much he means to that team. So it’s hard to see him not getting what he deserves,” Chubb said Sunday.

The last time a running back signed a long-term contract worth $10 million or more per season was the Browns’ Chubb in 2021. Chubb’s contract runs until the 2024 season, but he has no guaranteed money after this season.

“I knew it could be me one day,” said Chubb. “I only play both sides. I am here for my team. But I also understand the situations I can get into.”

McCaffrey is currently the highest-paid player, averaging over $16 million per season in the contract he signed while he was with the Carolina Panthers in 2020. Now with the San Francisco 49ers, his contract runs through the 2025 season.

ESPN’s Jake Trotter contributed to this report.

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