Peyton Barber, Redskins Reportedly Agree to 2-Year Contract Worth Up to $3M

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2020

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 29:  Peyton Barber #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Raymond James Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Veteran running back Peyton Barber agreed to a two-year contract with the Washington Redskins on Tuesday, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. 

He can make up to $3 million in the deal, while $600,000 is guaranteed.

Barber ran for a career-high 871 yards while scoring five rushing touchdowns in 2018 and signed a one-year, $2.1 million deal to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Head coach Bruce Arians hadn't worked with Barber but spoke highly of his value to the Bucs offense last March, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times:

"I love him. When you watch him on tape, you don't see his 230 (pounds), you would think he's a 205-pound running back because he's got great feet. Not every back's going to be a home-run hitter, but if he gets those 10-15-yard runs, breaking tackles, power runner, punishing runner, that's kind of how I like to start. When we're building something, that's the kind I like to build around."

In retrospect, Arians overestimated the impact Barber would have.

The 26-year-old opened as the starting running back, but Ronald Jones II replaced him for Tampa Bay's Week 9 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.

Barber's final numbers show why Arians turned to Jones midway through the season. He finished with 470 rushing yards and six touchdowns and averaged 3.1 yards per carry. As the year wore on, his effectiveness on the ground was limited to short-yardage situations:

Jones had a rookie campaign to forget, logging 23 carries in nine games. He proved to be a superior option to Barber out of the backfield in 2019, running for 724 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 4.2 yards per attempt.

That allowed the Buccaneers to have some flexibility with Barber due to hit free agency. Bringing him back as the secondary option behind Jones made sense, but with the four-year veteran now on his way to Washington, Tampa Bay could look instead to the draft to solidify its depth at running back.

Counting on Dare Ogunbowale as the solution would be risky. He was an effective pass-catcher out of the backfield (35 receptions, 286 yards) but only had 11 carries for 17 yards last season.

Barber, meanwhile, could find success with a change of scenery, though his production to date isn't encouraging. His role with the Redskins could mimic his limited usage with the Buccaneers over the second half of 2019. He'll likely play behind 2018 second-round pick Derrius Guice.   

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