The state of the NFL running back market has been widely debated in recent weeks. Multiple notable running backs have been unable to land lucrative long-term contracts this offseason.

saquon barkley, Tony Pollard and Josh Jacobs remain under the franchise tag as training camp begins for most teams in a few days. Teams had until Monday to sign franchise tag players to long-term contracts. Meanwhile, four-time Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook remains a free agent, and veteran ball carrier Kareem Hunt is still searching for a new team.

In the midst of a depressed market, NFL Players Association President JC Tretter decided to offer frustrated fans some interesting advice.


NFLPA logo during the NFLPA press conference on February 1, 2018 at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

During a recent appearance on the «Ross Tucker Football Podcast,» Tretter seemed to suggest that running backs should claim they were less than 100 percent healthy in an effort to increase their influence with teams.

Tretter stopped short of recommending that players actually fake injuries, though he didn’t appear to rule out the scenario entirely.


«You have to try to create as much influence as possible,» Tretter said. “And that’s the difficult thing with the franchise tag, or having restricted movement, is that it lowers your leverage, but then you have to find creative ways to build leverage elsewhere.

«I think we’ve seen problems, now, I don’t think anybody would say it was fake injuries, but we’ve seen players who didn’t want to be where they are now, have injuries that prevent them from practicing and playing, but you can’t get fined, and you don’t get they can punish for not reporting. So there are issues like that. I don’t think I’m allowed to recommend that, at least publicly, but I think every player needs to find a way to build influence to try and get a fair deal. And that’s really what all these guys are looking for, to be fairly compensated.»

Saquon Barkley tears up an inning

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs from Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) during a 27-yard touchdown run in the second half of a 2019 American football game. the NFL, on Saturday, December 24, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Several players have spoken about the general direction of the broker market.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has advocated for his fellow players to get long-term deals. He has also spoken out about his discontent with his contract with his team.

Austin Ekeler vs. the Jaguars

Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of the AFC Wild Card playoff game at TIAA Bank Field on January 14, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Ekeler’s dispute with the Chargers he seemed to peak in March, when the team gave him permission to seek a trade.

However, the two sides reached a temporary resolution earlier this offseason, when the Chargers reportedly added $1.75 million in incentives to their agreement by 2023.


It’s unclear if Tretter’s hypothetical advice would provide any benefit to players like Barkley, Pollard or Jacobs. However, some runners could be left out of training camp regardless of whether they are healthy enough to practice or not.