Top 10 Free Agent Running Backs Still Available
Top 10 Free Agent Running Backs
Is your team in need of a new running back and they didn't get one in the draft? Well, you're in luck! The 2013 NFL free agency class has a plethora of talented running backs still available.
Unfortunately, unless you're an Atlanta Falcons fan, you missed out on the class' top running back in Stephen Jackson. Also off the market are the likes of Reggie Bush, Rashard Mendenhall and Ahmad Bradshaw. That isn't to say, though, that there aren't quality running backs left.
A few teams that could really use an upgrade at the running back position have already addressed those needs. The Detroit Lions signed Bush, the Arizona Cardinals signed Mendenhall and I've already mentioned that the Falcons signed Jackson.
But, if you're the Jacksonville Jaguars and you're dealing with an out-dated running back with injury problems or you're the Dallas Cowboys and you've got young talent that can't stay on the field, this list is for you! Plus, it's always good to have a quality backup running back in this league. You never know when that starter might go down and you just want to be able to keep the level play that you had when he was in, even if he's just taking a break
On this list, I'll fill you in on the 10 best NFL free agent running backs still available. I'll count them down with No. 10 coming first, and the best coming in the final slide. Break out your pen and paper, it's time to go to school.
No. 10: Ryan Grant
Ryan Grant is a guy that used to be an every-down back in the right system. In four out his six total seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Grant carried the rock over 100 times, including 312 times in 2008 and 282 times in 2009. In both seasons, Grant rushed for over 1,200 yards. If you're looking for a guy that can fill in the back up role, he's not a bad option.
No. 9: Javon Ringer
Javon Ringer likely won't become your every-down back. If you're shopping for your next starter, keep shopping. Ringer is a player that can step in when the starter needs a breather and will give you quality reps. He's had some injury troubles in the past, but he brings depth to a team that may be lacking it.
No. 8: Tim Hightower
Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen has already said that the team is waiting until closer to training camp to decide what to do with Tim Hightower, but they are still interested in his services.
Coming out of Richmond, Hightower had a lot potential and has had some trouble reaching that potential. Still, Hightower is a back that can give quality reps and will be able to help in the passing game, as well. If you're looking for a utility back that can help out wherever, whenever, Hightower just might be your guy.
No. 7: Peyton Hillis
Since Peyton Hillis had is breakout season with the Cleveland Browns in 2010 when he rushed for 1,177 yards, things have been rolling downhill for the one-time Madden Cover holder. That was the last, and only, time in his five-year career that Hillis played in all 16 regular-season games. However, if you're looking for a little thunder to your lightning, Hillis is a guy that packs a punch when carrying the rock and could be useful on the goal line.
No. 6: Brandon Jacobs
A few years ago, Brandon Jacobs would be at the top of my list of available free agent running backs. But, the 31-year-old running back's body is beginning to dwindle and with that so will his play. It's a result of his running style, really. He's a powerful and bruising back that receives just as much punishment as he gives. Like Hillis, he brings the pain on the goal line. While Jacobs said he doesn't want to play fullback, that might be his best option.
No. 5: Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith has been a role-player ever since he entered the league in 2008 with the Detroit Lions. Ever since his 976-yard rookie year, Smith has been a different player and has had some issues with injuries. Since 2008, he has yet to start more than 13 games in a single season. Still, a healthy Smith on your team could turn out to be an asset as he is a great role-playing back that can benefit both the run game and the passing game.
No. 4: Beanie Wells
Already on this list we have highlighted a couple of "thunder" guys. However, Beanie Wells might be your best bet if you're looking for some "thunder." While he's had a bit of injury troubles in his four-year career, Wells is a compact bowling ball with the rock at 6-foot-2 and 229 pounds. In 2011 for the Cardinals, Wells averaged 4.3 yards per carry and racked up 1,047 yards. The potential is there, he just needs the right fit and right now, reports about the Jaguars thinking about picking up wells are buzzing about.
No. 3: Cedric Benson
Just once in his eight-year career has Cedric Benson played in all 16 regular-season games, but that does't mean Benson doesn't have what it takes to contribute. Between the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, Benson racked up over 3,300 yards and averaged around four yards per carry. The only thing that might make teams weary of signing him is his surgically repaired foot. If he's healthy, Benson can challenge your starting running back and even split reps in the regular season.
No. 2: Michael Turner
Michael Turner has been in the league for nine seasons now and has been productive from the beginning. While he's not the same player that the Falcons had between 2008 and 2011, Turner is still a healthy back that can give you quality reps and could even be your starting running back. If you're signing Turner, it won't be cheap. However, Turner still has one or two good years left in him if you're looking for an immediate fix at the running back position.
No. 1: Willis McGahee
Reports have surfaced in June that Willis McGahee was released from the Denver Broncos because he is not healthy. Unfortunately, McGahee had two potentially career-ending injuries with a fractured leg and a torn MCL. If the reason the Broncos released McGahee holds true, he'll have a hard time finding work come August. On the flip side, a healthy McGahee can start on a number of different NFL teams in 2013. At the same time, he could be a quality No. 2 punch on most other teams.