After Knowshon Moreno left the Miami Dolphins‘ facility without a contract last Friday, it was uncertain whether or not the former Denver Broncos running back would end up in Miami. Six days later, Moreno is a Dolphin. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Moreno agreed to a one-year contract with the Dolphins on Thursday afternoon.
Regardless if Moreno’s production on a prolific Broncos’ offense last season was inflated — it most certainly was — signing a 26-year-old running back who accumulated over 1,500 total yards in 2013 for only one year is a solid deal.
Moreno may not break a large quantity of tackles, but he runs with much better vision than the runner he will almost assuredly replace, Daniel Thomas. Not only that, but Moreno is a vastly superior receiver out of the backfield — 548 receiving yards in 2013 — and an upgrade in pass protection from Thomas as well — 10th highest pass blocking efficiency among running backs last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
The compensation of Moreno’s one-year deal is believed to be around $3 million according NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. However, $816,321 of Moreno’s salary can be paid for by cutting Thomas — an obvious move at this point considering Moreno is thought to be his direct replacement.
As now the most proven member of the Dolphins’ backfield, Moreno will be the favorite to start in 2014. Lamar Miller could be a stingy out to win the role, though, as the third-year runner has the physical tools to blossom behind a revamped offensive line.
Regardless, the Dolphins now have a more formidable one-two punch at running back with Moreno set to replace Thomas as either the feature, change-of-pace or co-starting back. While Miami should still consider drafting a running back this May, the Dolphins appear to be only two offensive linemen away from a substantially improved rushing attack and passing game considering Moreno’s ability to run, catch and block effectively.
Signing Moreno for only one season is a team-friendly deal for the Dolphins. It not only means that Miami isn’t on the hook for a significant commitment, but it assures that Moreno will be highly motivated to play at a high level for the duration of the season to prove he’s worthy of a multiyear deal in 2015. A hungry player is a dangerous player. Moreno should be starving.
Cody Strahm is a Miami Dolphins contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.