Top NFL Free Agent Prospects: Running Backs
Added by Justin O'Connell on March 6, 2013.
Now that all NFL teams have decided on who they want to franchise, or let go, it is time to get ready for free agency, which begins on March 12th. This is quietly one of the better free agent classes in the past five years, as there are not many great players, but a load of very good ones who can help a team turn the corner.
Lets face the facts, unless Mark Sanchez magically turns into a franchise quarterback, the New York Jets are going to struggle this season. Jets fans should not lose all hope though, as there is a chance they could surprise everyone and possible make the playoffs. That is if they can put together a good draft and make the correct decisions in free agency.
The Jets need a new tight end, defensive tackle, two guards, two outside linebackers, two safeties, and a number one wide receiver. They could also use another inside linebacker, running back, and another cornerback if they trade Darrelle Revis. With so many holes, the Jets will have to fill most in the draft, but they should be able to sign at least two of the upper tier free agents.
Each day I will post a new position of what free agents the Jets should consider signing. Today I will start with the running back position.
1. Reggie Bush- Age 28
Bush is in the prime of his career and is explosive as ever, even with the size he has put on. While in Miami, Bush must have learned how to run between the tackles because he was speculator there and we all know how good he is once he is in the open field. Bush has great hands and is a threat catching the ball out of the backfield. He can even line up in the slot position and have a significant impact. Even Bush’s blocking ability has improved during his NFL career and he is now a solid defender of the quarterback.
The issue with Bush is health. In Miami, he only missed two games and was their primary running back. Depending on his price the Jets could use his services, especially if Sanchez is starting. Even Sanchez should be able to complete a 2-yard completion, which Bush can turn into a 50-yard gain with his elusiveness.
Rashard Mendenhall could be an option for the Jets at running back, as a free agent signing. (Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE)
2. Rashard Mendenhall- Age 25
After coming off a torn ACL last season, Mendenhall struggled and could not shake the injury bug, as he was nagged by minor injuries. It does not look like the Steelers are even going to attempt to re-sign their former first round pick. Before last season, Mendenhall had consecutive 1000-plus yard seasons and three straight eight-plus touchdown seasons.
The Jets could find a hidden gem in Mendenhall, as he has a lot to prove and is still very young. They would be able to sign him for a low-price deal and short term, as he will probably want a short deal to prove he still has some juice left in those legs. Mendenhall is known to have some character issues, which may concern Idzik, as his locker room already has enough character flaws, but for the price and his potential talent this might be the best pick up for the Jets.
3. Steven Jackson- Age 31
After a running back turns 30, many NFL teams start to worry about their health as they have the shortest careers in the league. Jackson is 25th all time in carriers, which shows the amount of wear he has on his body. Having said this, he still proved he has some game left after last season. If healthy Jackson is one of the best backs in the league, he can do it all and at a high level. Someone is going to take a chance on him, the only problem is he is going to want to get paid as this will most likely be his last “big” contract. It will probably be for two or three years, but the dollar amount might be too much for the Jets. If they could afford him, he can certainly revive their non-existent running game, well at least for a year or two. If they could split his carries with Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight they would be able to get back to their ground and pound ways, until they find a new QB.
4. Ahmad Bradshaw- Age 26
Bradshaw is still rehabbing from foot surgery and is unable to take a physical. He has had foot problems his whole career, but he has been able to perform. The New York Giants still might re-sign him, depending on how he recovers, but it is all up in the air. Bradshaw, although young, has a lot of miles already and has not been able to stay healthy throughout an entire season. His talent cannot go unnoticed as he has the size and speed to be a top 25 running back. He is another one that might be out of the Jets price range as they are trying to keep their salary cap down this season, but he is a very tempting offer. He has stated how he would like to play for the Jets.
5. Michael Turner- Age 31
Turner appears to be over the hill as his production has gone down the past two seasons. He has however, managed to keep getting the ball in the endzone. At this age, Turner is a lot like Shonn Greene, but he still might be a better option for a year or two. Turner is out to prove he can still play and will take a discounted price as many teams are writing him off. The Jets could sign him to a cheap two year deal, where he would be ideal once they get down into the redzone. Splitting time with Powell and McKnight will also help to keep his legs fresh.