Adrian Peterson, Saints finalize two-year contract

Take a peek at the sidelines during New Orleans Saints home games and you’ll probably find young Jarrius Robertson, decked out from head to toe in black and gold, interacting with players and coaches.

Robertson, 15, graces the sidelines at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with his humor and charm despite battling a rare liver disease called biliary atresia. He’s fought the chronic disease since birth, and now the Saints organization is helping him in his courageous battle.

We are excited to welcome Adrian to the New Orleans Saints,” coach Sean Payton added in a statement released by the team. “It’s rare and unique to have the opportunity to add a Hall of Fame player to your roster. His career has been top-notch and speaks for itself. We think he will be an excellent fit in our locker room and in our offense. We look forward to the opportunity later this spring to work with him on the field along with the rest of our team.”

Peterson’s average salary of $3.5 million places him 22nd among running backs this year, per Spotrac.com, behind the likes of Frank Gore ($4M), Theo Riddick ($3.85M), Bilal Powell ($3.75M) and Ryan Mathews ($3.6M). Peterson will also earn less than incumbent Saints starter Mark Ingram.

That was on its way to happening in New Orleans, where Cooks caught 162 balls for 2,311 yards and 17 touchdowns over his last two seasons before the Saints acquired Michael Thomas. It might have not have caused a significant drop off in 2016 but as Thomas becomes more engrained in the offense, Cooks might have seen his targets diminish.

It won’t necessarily be easy to carve out a role in an offense with so many potential weapons, but as we’ve seen with the few premier wideouts Brady has played with, the reward is exceptional. Cooks is probably the most ballyhooed wideout Brady has played with since Randy Moss in 2007-09.

At that point the Patriots could trade him to the highest bidder, where Butler would likely get the long-term deal he’s seeking. The Super Bowl XLIX hero could also play out the season on the low-cost $3.91 million tender before hitting the open market next year.

It’s not a surprise that the Saints wouldn’t fork over the No. 11 pick and hand Butler a massive contract in one swoop. Hearing Sean Payton say it outright, however, certainly helps the Patriots’ leverage in convincing the undrafted free agent to give them one more year of cheap labor.

This is a safe bet for a once-heralded offensive lineman looking to turn his career round. Franklin will likely see significant reps by joining a line with so many injury issues. He’ll also have a better chance to rebound with Adrian Peterson in the backfield and a quick-throwing Drew Brees under center.

It seems the Saints always find themselves in the same unenviable position of needing veteran offensive line help just before training camp — or later. The club brought back franchise favorite Jahri Evans on Sept. 7 last year. Luckily for Franklin, he’ll have more time with the playbook.

The 32-year-old Peterson seems like an ill fit in the Saints’ pass-happy offense. Yet the sides have a mutual interest in pairing. New Orleans is looking for a backup power runner behind Mark Ingram. Peterson is seeking to continue his career chasing a Super Bowl ring.

Taking a role in a backfield that already boasts Ingram would be a signal that no team was willing to hand Peterson a primary role coming off an injury-ravaged 2016 season.