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2011 NFL Free Agent Running Backs

September 02, 2010 12:05PM
2011 NFL Free Agent Running Backs
By: Roshan Bhagat
DeAngelo Williams, CAR – With Jonathan Stewart still locked up, will DeAngelo Williams become expendable? I doubt the Panthers allow Williams to leave via free agency, but he could very well become an acquirable commodity next offseason through a tag and trade.

Jamaal Charles, KC – Charles’ 1120 yards, 5.9 average, 7 touchdowns, and 40 receptions were all impressive numbers. On a per snap basis, few running backs were more productive last season. With his electrifying speed, Charles appears to be a big part of the Chiefs’ future.

Cedric Benson, CIN – The former first-round bust revitalized his career with 1200 yards for a Bengals offense that did the same. Though he’ll be 28 in December, Benson probably has one more good contract left in him if he can prove that 2009 was not an anomaly.

Jerome Harrison, CLE – After carrying all but 77 times in his first 3 years, Harrison rushed for 862 yards on 194 attempts last year including 3 straight 125 yard games to close the season. As a 5th round pick, Harrison still hasn’t made much money, which means this year will be even more pivotal for him.

Michael Bush, OAK – In a limited role, Bush has posted some eye-popping numbers behind a pedestrian offensive line and a nonexistent passing game. Bush was a potential first-round selection prior to his leg injury which sidelined him for his senior season. With 589 yards and a 4.8 average, Bush has shown glimpses that he could be a punishing starter elsewhere, if not in Oakland.

Darren Sproles, SD – Sproles has proven that he can’t be a starting back, but is exactly what most teams look for from their back-up. He’s a dangerous weapon on special teams and a threat to take any touch to the end zone.

Joseph Addai, IND – Joseph Addai was once one of the league’s promising backs, but injuries and a slowly deteriorating Colts’ offensive line have cut into that potential. Now at 27, Addai probably has one good contract left, but must first compete with Donald Brown to prove that he can still be the complete back he once was.

Ronnie Brown, MIA – Subtract the injuries from Brown’s career and many pundits may be rightfully comparing Ronnie Brown to Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, and the league’s other premiere backs. Unfortunately, he’s rarely fully healthy and has never had the opportunity to build off his previous seasons. For the Dolphins, the decision on Brown will boil down to matching money.

Ricky Williams, MIA – The years out of the league have spared Williams the damage that would have thrown a brick wall at most backs by this age. Williams is still a productive back, but anything more than a short term contract, or one that depreciates in value, would be a mistake. If the two parties can reach a deal, Miami will likely retain services until his body wears out.

Le’Ron McClain, BAL (Fcool smiley – McClain could easily become the league’s most valuable fullback over the next decade if he allows for it. However, given his recent comments requesting more carries, I very much doubt if he’ll stick around in Baltimore after the year is over.

Other Notable Free Agents:
Tim Hightower, ARI
Jerious Norwood, ATL
Kevin Smith, DET
Brandon Jackson, GB
Kolby Smith, KC
Fred Taylor, NE
Laurence Maroney, NE
Kevin Faulk, NE
Sammy Morris, NE
Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG
Mike Bell, PHI
Mewelde Moore, PIT
Mike Tolbert, SD
Leon Washington, SEA
Kenneth Darby, STL
Clifton Smith, TB
Willie Parker, WAS
Brian Leonard, CIN (Fcool smiley
Deon Anderson, DAL (Fcool smiley
Korey Hall, GB (Fcool smiley
Vonta Leach, HOU (Fcool smiley
Naufahu Tahi, MIN (Fcool smiley
Ahmard Hall, TEN (Fcool smiley

You couldn't possibly know the whole story with only half facts.


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