NFL: Free Agency Preview – Running Backs
With free agency less than a month away, teams are beginning to stack their deck on which players they are going to go after. One of the groups that could get a lot of attention in the running backs. There are a few running backs that could be highly sought after. Today we will take a look at the players at this position in our continuing free agency positional preview.
***As in our previous two previews, these are all prior to tags, signings, and releases. All of these aspects can change the landscape of the position.***
Murray is one of the lesser-known running backs in free agency. He has great upside and should not require a lot of money. If there is a team out there looking for a potential two down back Murray could be the perfect fit. He has descent vision and unexpected power. However, I am not certain he fits into the future plans of the Oakland Raiders. Look for a team like the Kansas City Chiefs or Philadelphia Eagles to have him on their radar.
Eddie Lacy is his own worst enemy. He could be one of the best running backs in the league if he would get out of his own way. There would be so many suitors for his services right now it would be ridiculous, however, he may have to go and sign a prove it deal in order to play in 2017. The Green Bay Packers gave him his chances in 2016 with the trying to get his playing weight down. It seemed as though he was successful in the offseason and then exploded again during the season. This landed him in the dog house with Head Coach Mike McCarthy. Lacy will have another opportunity in 2017 but he will have to prove that he can keep that weight down and then, just then he might get back into the fold of being a top running back.[Sean]
It looks as though the Green Bay Packers are going to be starting clean at the running back position. It is being reported that wide receiver Ty Montgomery, who was used a lot at RB in 2016 will be making the full transition to that position in 2017 and they also have Christin Michael as well. Those two players with any further additions have led to the release of James Starks. Starks is a great change of pace type back. He is quick and elusive and has surprising speed and power. He also has tremendous hands out of the backfield. Do not look for Starks to be out of work very long. A team like the New York Giants or Detroit Lions could acquire his services sooner rather than later. Both use the running back in the passing game quite a bit.
Bell is the premiere running back in this year’s free agent class. There is no doubt that the Pittsburgh Steelers will do what they can to re-sign him or else they will franchise tag him. But until that does happen, he is on the list. Bell is a three-down back that, unless injured, should never be off the field. He can be split out wide, he can run between the tackles, and has the speed to run outside the tackles as well. There will be many teams clamoring for his services if he is made available.
One team would be the San Francisco 49ers. This is a strong position of need for them. Aside from Carlos Hyde, they do not have a running back worth noting. Bell would make Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch look like geniuses in their first years. Don’t expect it to happen but sometimes we can expect the unexpected.
Many great running backs are few and far between in the NFL. If you are able to have one on your squad you do what you can to keep them. As for these guys and the rest of the free agents, it will be an interesting offseason to see where they land. Does your team need a running back? Would one of these fit the bill? Leave your comments below.
Stay peeled to Inscriber Magazine throughout the offseason as the NFL Team brings your more positional previews, NFL Scouting Combine, and 2017 NFL Draft Coverage in the coming months.
Follow Sean on Twitter @NFLINSC.