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Running Backs: On the Move?


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#1 Integrity28

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:16 PM



Looking forward to Free Agency period. I'm assuming Shonn is gone. Powell will be the #2, and we'll probably draft a 3rd RB, that said I think we can add one veteran that we know can pass protect and take 15-20 carries per game for some production.

That'll allow us to draft for other areas of need.

Running Backs: On the Move?

Monday, January 07, 2013






Accessible via Nick Mensio's Master List, this year's free agent running back class is topped off by three or four capable starters and roughly ten viable No. 2 backs. Cap cuts and trade candidates can strengthen the 2013 running back market. When attempting to pinpoint backs that might be on the offseason move, we begin with high-salaried players and progress toward running backs nearing the end of contracts, on teams who likely have no intention of extending them long term.

Release Candidates:

Chris Johnson -- $9 million of Johnson's $10 million 2013 base salary will become guaranteed on February 9. While the Titans could theoretically cut Johnson before that date and take themselves off the hook for the remainder of the guarantees in his contract, the Nashville Tennessean has reported that they'll keep Johnson and pay him in full. Despite maddening inconsistency, the Titans view Johnson as a core offensive player and have plenty of 2013 cap space to retain him.

DeAngelo Williams -- Signed to one of the worst running back contracts in league history two offseasons ago, Williams turns 30 in April and is owed $4.75 million in 2013 base pay after averaging a full yard less per carry than he did in 2011. All of Williams' guaranteed money has been paid, but the $4.85 million hit to release him may be prohibitive for cap-strapped Carolina.

Ahmad Bradshaw -- Bradshaw's feet and knees have become unreliable to the point that he can barely practice anymore leading up to games. Although still effective on the field, the Giants may deem Bradshaw's $4 million in salary and bonuses too costly for a likely timeshare back lacking durability. They could save $1.5 million versus the cap by releasing Bradshaw after the season.

Michael Turner -- Turner is the surest big-name veteran running back to be released this offseason after first-year Falcons coordinator Dirk Koetter progressively phased him out of the offense as the 2012 season moved along. Lacking short-area burst and passing-game value, Turner turns 31 in February and is owed a $5.5 million salary, none of which is guaranteed.

More Murky Futures:

Maurice Jones-Drew -- MJD skipped all of 2012 training camp due to a contract dispute that went unaddressed by the Jaguars. Now coming off major foot surgery, Jones-Drew definitely won't get the pay raise he wants. Turning 28 in March, Jones-Drew is owed $4.95 million in 2013 base salary. Jacksonville could free up over $3 million in cap space by shipping him to a contender.

Darren McFadden -- McFadden proved a square peg in a round hole for Oakland's new zone-run scheme, averaging a career-worst 3.27 yards per carry while failing to play more than 13 games for a fifth straight season. The 25-year-old is owed $5,856,250 in 2013, the final year of his rookie contract. If GM Reggie McKenzie decides McFadden is a poor long-term fit for the Raiders and won't be extended, Oakland could look to salvage an early- to mid-round draft pick via trade. The firing of playcaller Greg Knapp does increase the chances McFadden will return to the Raiders.

Ben Tate -- 2013 is the final year of Tate's rookie contract, so this is the offseason to do it if the Texans are ever going to trade him. Considering Houston's vehemently run-heavy approach and Arian Foster's overwhelming 2012 workload, however, Tate wouldn't be available for cheap. The Texans might hold out for a first-round pick as trade compensation. Tate probably isn't going anywhere.

Ryan Mathews -- The Chargers have yet to hire a general manager or coaching staff, and it'll be they who determine Mathews' future. Outgoing Norv Turner determined Mathews was incapable of being a franchise running back due to concerns over durability, vision, and lack of versatility. Mathews is still a big-time talent with a small-beans 2013 base salary ($1,195,500), so in all likelihood he'll return to San Diego unless a team blows off the Chargers' socks with a trade offer.

Chris Ivory -- Restricted free agent Ivory will likely receive a second-round tender worth $2.023 million. Underutilized the past two seasons in a crowded backfield, Ivory has made the most of his chances with a 5.11 career yards-per-carry average. He could be a difference-making power back addition for a team willing to take a chance on Ivory staying healthy. The Saints likely have no intent of signing Ivory long term, so this offseason is their opportunity to get something for him.

Pierre Thomas -- If the Saints prefer to hold onto Ivory, Thomas could be the odd man out of the backfield. New Orleans would absorb no cap hit to release Thomas while freeing up $2.5 million -- $2.1 million in base salary and $400,000 in offseason bonuses. He's due a $300,000 roster bonus in early March. Thomas, 28, is one of the better screen-play backs in the game and has averaged 4.81 yards per carry the past two seasons, so there would be a solid market for his services.

Beanie Wells -- The days of two-down thumper backs who possess zero passing-game value are nearing an end in the NFL, boding poorly for the likes of Wells, Shonn Greene, and LeGarrette Blount. Thoroughly ineffective when healthy in 2012, Wells was benched for the season finale, with the Arizona Republic suggesting his relationship with the team is "beyond repair." Due $1.158 million in the last year of his rookie contract, Wells might be available for a late-round pick.

Shane Vereen -- Vereen was the Pats' 2011 second-round pick and is signed cheaply through 2014, but the fact that he's fourth on the depth chart creates an air of uncertainty. Vereen was outplayed by undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden this season, and is also buried behind Stevan Ridley. On the field, Vereen has not had the look of an impact runner. It's worth noting that Danny Woodhead is a free agent. There is an outside chance Vereen could inherit his passing-back role.

LeGarrette Blount -- Doug Martin ran laps around Blount in 2012, and D.J. Ware's passing-game value pushed him to third on the depth chart by season's end. Blount played double-digit snaps in just one of Tampa Bay's final eight games. Now a restricted free agent, Blount may be deemed by the Bucs unworthy of the $1.323 million right-of-first-refusal tender required to retain him.

Donald Brown -- A poor fit for Bruce Arians' power-running offense, Brown lost his lead back job to fifth-round rookieVick Ballard before knee and ankle injuries sent him to injured reserve in early December. The former first-round pick runs fast in a straight line, but dances in the backfield and makes no one miss. Brown is due $1.705 million in the final year of his rookie deal. If aggressive GM Ryan Grigson could salvage a mid- to late-round pick, he'd probably jump at the opportunity.

James Starks -- Injury prone dating back to the University of Buffalo, Starks has missed 26 of a possible 48 games since entering the league three seasons ago. Also a plodder on the ground, Starks managed just 3.59 yards per carry in six 2012 appearances and now enters the last year of his rookie deal. Turning 26 in February, Starks is not the answer for Green Bay's run-game woes.

Dexter McCluster -- McCluster is a contract-year back who's struggled for an NFL fit. It's perhaps notable that ESPN's Sal Paolantonio and Sirius Radio's Adam Caplan reported before the 2010 draft that Andy Reid was "smitten" with and "really high" on McCluster. The Chiefs' new coach could buy McCluster another year in Kansas City as a pass-game asset in a pass-first offense.

Anthony Dixon -- Dixon played just 30 offensive snaps all season in San Francisco, although he did contribute four special teams tackles. He was still buried on the running back depth chart, and that won't change in 2013 with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, and LaMichael James all returning. 233 pounds and 25 years old, Dixon might attract seventh-round pick offers on the trade market.

Dion Lewis -- The Eagles were willing to part with Lewis ahead of October's trade deadline, but found no takers. Lewis fell behind seventh-round pick Bryce Brown, and was used sparingly in a change-of-pace role when LeSean McCoy missed four games. Undersized at 5-foot-8, 195 and lacking power, Lewis won't be assured of a roster spot under the Eagles' new coaching staff.

Taiwan Jones -- The Raiders' coaching staff didn't trust Jones to hold onto the football or pass protect, so his 4.3 straight-line speed went to waste on the bench in 2012 as Marcel Reece and Jeremy Stewart carried the mail when Darren McFadden got hurt. Jones is a holdover from the Al Davis Era, and even offered late in the season to change positions to cornerback in order to get some playing time. The rebuilding Raiders might listen to seventh-round pick offers if any come.

Delone Carter -- A Polian Era fourth-round pick, Carter has trudged his way to a 3.75 yards-per-carry average through two seasons. He's an asset only as a short-yardage back. Carter is a zero in the passing game and has no big-play ability, so he'd surely be available in the unlikely event a team wanted to trade for him. More likely, he'll head to Colts camp competing for a roster spot.




I highlighted the guys that I think fit what Rex will probably want to do the most. Tate is far and away my favorite guy on this list after MJD. Tate makes the most sense to invest in now, before amassing all the carries that MJD has.
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#2 unbanmadmike1

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:18 PM

Chris Johnson, running behind the Jets OL would be exactly what we need. A home run threat.
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#3 #27TheDominator

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:22 PM

Who are two guys that will cost too much?
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#4 CrazyCarl40

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:26 PM

Justin Forsett is a guy to look at too. Great receiving running back the Jets really need. Not sure any of the guys who need to be traded for are all that appealing.
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#5 Jetscode1

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:31 PM

I'd take Ivory or Thomas from the Saints...plus a young guy in the draft...

BTW...Bernard Pierce looked real good yesterday. Another good pick by the Ravens...amazing how the consistently good teams find offensive skills players again and again.
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#6 CotcheryifyouCan

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:40 PM

ehh not the best list. think we should draft an explosive rb who can catch. I like Kenjon Barner from Oregon
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#7 AVM

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:52 PM

Chris Johnson, running behind the Jets OL would be exactly what we need. A home run threat.


He's not nearly the problem many have made him out to be this year, and I agree with your premise. He'd be back top 3 with our line. However, he'll cost far too much.
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#8 AVM

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:54 PM

I like your highlighted list quite a bit. Think MJD and Tate will cost too much though (but I'd love either one obviously). Ivory and Dixon are intriguing and I'd be very happy bringing either one in. If the writer is right and Dixon only costs a 7th I think it'd be a great grab.

edit: BTW, just say no to DMC, Mathews and Beanie Wells. They won't be reclamation projects (possible exception is DMC...but not worth the price tag). Leave them to break some other fan bases hearts.

Edited by AVM, 07 January 2013 - 01:55 PM.

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#9 Matt39

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:01 PM

Johnson probably needs a change of scenery....but the two Saints backs would be a decent cheap options and would be immediate starters.

Edited by Matt39, 07 January 2013 - 02:02 PM.

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#10 Lupz27

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:04 PM

Not 1 guy on this list is realistic, or worth it for the 2013 NY Jets, no cap space to add any significant contracts, and they shouldn't be looking to upgrade via trading draft picks away, or signing RFA tenders that would cost $$$, and draft pick. The non expensive available backs on the list are JAGS, and I would rather give Powell, and/or a mid round draft pick an audition in 2013 over every single JAG on that list!
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#11 unbanmadmike1

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:08 PM

The only guys on this list who make sense of the Jets are Chris Johnson or Tate if he's available for a reasonable price because they are probably the most elite talents at this point in their careers.
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#12 Matt39

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:10 PM

The only guys on this list who make sense of the Jets are Chris Johnson or Tate if he's available for a reasonable price because they are probably the most elite talents at this point in their careers.


Tate's pedestrian.

Ivory would be a great fit , but I see the Saints holding onto him and dumping Thomas.
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#13 Lupz27

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:15 PM

Tate's pedestrian.

Ivory would be a great fit , but I see the Saints holding onto him and dumping Thomas.


According to the article Ivory would cost you a 2nd round pick, and at minimum 2.1 mill per year how is that realistic?
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#14 Integrity28

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:16 PM

Not 1 guy on this list is realistic, or worth it for the 2013 NY Jets, no cap space to add any significant contracts, and they shouldn't be looking to upgrade via trading draft picks away, or signing RFA tenders that would cost $$$, and draft pick. The non expensive available backs on the list are JAGS, and I would rather give Powell, and/or a mid round draft pick an audition in 2013 over every single JAG on that list!


RBs need to be able to pass-protect. Powell was not very good at that this year, rookies almost never are good at it... my thinking was that we'd need a veteran that can do that for us, while also serving as our lead runner.

Anyone coming out of the Saints offense should be able to pass-protect. Pierre Thomas is someone I know does it quite well.

Anyway, you can't overlook the importance of this fundamental skill. Especially if you are going to put a rookie or Sanchez back out there in 2013.
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#15 Integrity28

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:17 PM

According to the article Ivory would cost you a 2nd round pick, and at minimum 2.1 mill per year how is that realistic?



The article is unrealistic. Nobody is paying a 2nd round pick for Ivory when the Saints had him inactive most Sundays.

Furthermore, let the GM worry about the cost.
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#16 Matt39

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:17 PM

According to the article Ivory would cost you a 2nd round pick, and at minimum 2.1 mill per year how is that realistic?


Id be surprised if he gets a second round tender.
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#17 unbanmadmike1

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

Tate's pedestrian.

Ivory would be a great fit , but I see the Saints holding onto him and dumping Thomas.

No he isn't. He'd be a top 10 RB in the NFL at least with full carries.
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#18 Matt39

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:24 PM

No he isn't. He'd be a top 10 RB in the NFL at least with full carries.


You're basing this on what exactly.

Even when he came back from injury he was behind Forsett.
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#19 unbanmadmike1

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:27 PM

You're basing this on what exactly.

Even when he came back from injury he was behind Forsett.

He was never 100% this season.
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#20 Lupz27

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:27 PM

RBs need to be able to pass-protect. Powell was not very good at that this year, rookies almost never are good at it... my thinking was that we'd need a veteran that can do that for us, while also serving as our lead runner.

Anyone coming out of the Saints offense should be able to pass-protect. Pierre Thomas is someone I know does it quite well.

Anyway, you can't overlook the importance of this fundamental skill. Especially if you are going to put a rookie or Sanchez back out there in 2013.

The article is unrealistic. Nobody is paying a 2nd round pick for Ivory when the Saints had him inactive most Sundays.

Furthermore, let the GM worry about the cost.

Id be surprised if he gets a second round tender.


My point is, IF done right the 2013 NY Jets will be built to stink, and to this point there is no reason to use ANY extra resources on a RB for the 2013 season other than using your own draft pick that the new GM, and his talent guys like, whatever round that maybe, and if they don't like one fine let Powell take the bulk of the carries. As far as Sanchez being back there, if he is you could stick 10 blocking RB's on the field to help him, and he would still fail, forget helping Sanchez unless its to carry his bags out the door!
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#21 Matt39

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:29 PM

My point is, IF done right the 2013 NY Jets will be built to stink, and to this point there is no reason to use ANY extra resources on a RB for the 2013 season other than using your own draft pick that the new GM, and his talent guys like, whatever round that maybe, and if they don't like one fine let Powell take the bulk of the carries. As far as Sanchez being back there, if he is you could stick 10 blocking RB's on the field to help him, and he would still fail, forget helping Sanchez unless its to carry his bags out the door!


Concede to sucking. You are probably right.
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#22 Bleedin Green

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:30 PM

RBs need to be able to pass-protect. Powell was not very good at that this year, rookies almost never are good at it... my thinking was that we'd need a veteran that can do that for us, while also serving as our lead runner.

Anyone coming out of the Saints offense should be able to pass-protect. Pierre Thomas is someone I know does it quite well.

Anyway, you can't overlook the importance of this fundamental skill. Especially if you are going to put a rookie or Sanchez back out there in 2013.


If Sanchez is under center for even a single snap next year, I want the Jets to sporting the worst blockers in the league at every single position just to ensure that lasts as short as humanly possible.
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#23 Integrity28

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:30 PM

My point is, IF done right the 2013 NY Jets will be built to stink, and to this point there is no reason to use ANY extra resources on a RB for the 2013 season other than using your own draft pick that the new GM, and his talent guys like, whatever round that maybe, and if they don't like one fine let Powell take the bulk of the carries. As far as Sanchez being back there, if he is you could stick 10 blocking RB's on the field to help him, and he would still fail, forget helping Sanchez unless its to carry his bags out the door!


I guess that is where I disagree with your premise. Nobody ever sets out to suck in the NFL. The league changes direction like the breeze, there's no way people finally getting a shot at GM or HC or any other role within the organization are going to jeopardize a year of experience and success with a plan to suck. If you buy into "rebuilding" you are a chump.

Rebuild = what teams tell you after it's clear they didn't have the resources, fortune or talent to be good. Even the Colts this year with Luck weren't rebuilding. Every team, every year, sets out to win.

So my comments are made with the thought in mind that they'll want a winner.
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#24 #27TheDominator

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:33 PM

There is a difference between trying to win next year and burning the future to sign a piece of crap like Alex Smith.
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#25 StraightCash

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:43 PM

He was never 100% this season.


Sounds perfect.
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