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2012 NFL Free Agents: Running Backs

2012 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Mock

2012 Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2012.
Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

  1. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens. Age: 25.
    Franchised by Ravens

    I don't need to tell you how great Ray Rice is. For the third year in a row, Rice has tallied at least 1,225 rushing yards, 63 catches and 550 receiving yards. He even scored a career-high 15 touchdowns in 2011. He'll be franchised.

  2. Arian Foster (RFA), RB, Texans. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Texans (5 years, $43.5 million)

    Arian Foster is one of the top running backs in the NFL. He can do it all, and he proved that his 1,600 rushing yards in 2010 weren't a fluke by totaling 1,224 rushing yards and 53 receptions in 13 games this past season.

  3. Matt Forte, RB, Bears. Age: 26.
    Franchised by Bears

    Matt Forte was having an All-Pro season before suffering an MCL sprain right after Thanksgiving. In just 12 contests, he rushed for 997 yards (4.9 YPC) and caught 52 balls for 490 receiving yards. With no holes in his game, he's one of the top running backs in the NFL.

  4. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Seahawks (4 years, $32 million; $18 million guaranteed)

    Marshawn Lynch is a tough one to rank. Based on what he did this year, he deserves 4.5 stars, but his lacking effort for most of 2010 and prior is alarming. Will he slack off after receiving a new contract like Chris Johnson, or will he continue to terrorize defenses with his punishing running ability? Caveat emptor, Seahawks.

  5. Michael Bush, RB, Raiders. Age: 28.
    Signed with Bears (4 years, $14 million)

    Michael Bush will be overrated on the market. He wore down as the season went along, and he didn't even start the whole year or anything. That's a big red flag.

  6. Mike Tolbert, RB, Chargers. Age: 26.
    Signed with Panthers (4 years)

    If you play fantasy football, you know about Mike Tolbert. He is a power runner with solid pass-catching ability.

  7. Kevin Smith, RB, Lions. Age: 25.
    Signed with Lions (1 year)

    There's no denying that Kevin Smith is really talented, but he's way too injury-prone and unreliable. He's lucky to make it through each week.

  8. Ryan Grant, RB, Packers. Age: 29.
    Ryan Grant doesn't have much left in the tank. He's a committee back at best going forward.

  9. Kahlil Bell, RB, Bears. Age: 25.
    Tendered by Bears

    I liked what I saw out of Kahlil Bell late in the year. He collects a good number of yards after contact, displays great vision and patience, and picks up his blocking assignments well. He can also catch passes out of the backfield.

  10. Tim Hightower, RB, Redskins. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Redskins (1 year)

    Tim Hightower is a pretty mediocre running back with solid receiving skills, but he's coming off a torn ACL.

  11. Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns. Age: 26.
    Signed with Chiefs (1 year, $3 million)

    Peyton Hillis is a tough runner with good pass-catching ability when healthy, but the problem is that he's always banged up. He's just way too unreliable, and his fumbling issues don't help.

    Update: Hillis reportedly has thought about quitting football to become a CIA agent. Umm... what? Teams will definitely question his dedication.

  12. Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals. Age: 29.
    Signed with Packers

    Cedric Benson can be a solid backup running back at this point of his career, but that's about it. Despite playing behind a really good offensive line, he couldn't even rush for four yards per carry.

  13. Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants. Age: 30.
    Signed with 49ers (1 year)

    Brandon Jacobs had some good games down the stretch, but he averaged 3.8 YPC for the year. He'll be 30 in July, and considering his running style and ineptness in the passing game, he could be close to done.

  14. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots. Age: 27. -- Signed with Bengals (3 years)
  15. Steve Slaton, RB, Dolphins. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Dolphins (1 year)
  16. Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks. Age: 26. -- Signed with Texans
  17. LaRod Stephens-Howling (RFA), RB/KR, Cardinals. Age: 25. -- Re-signed with Cardinals (1 year, $1.927 million)
  18. Joseph Addai, RB, Patriots. Age: 29.
  19. Tashard Choice, RB, Bills. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Bills
  20. Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Falcons (3 years)
  21. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Jets. Age: 33.
  22. Cadillac Williams, RB, Rams. Age: 30.
  23. Mewelde Moore, RB, Steelers. Age: 30. -- Signed with Colts
  24. Kregg Lumpkin, RB, Buccaneers. Age: 28. -- Signed with Seahawks
  25. Jackie Battle, RB, Chiefs. Age: 28. -- Signed with Chargers
  26. Ronnie Brown, RB, Eagles. Age: 30. -- Signed with Chargers
  27. Maurice Morris, RB, Lions. Age: 32.
  28. Jerious Norwood, RB, Rams. Age: 29.
  29. Thomas Jones, RB, Chiefs. Age: 34.
  30. Sammy Morris, RB, Cowboys. Age: 35.
  31. Rock Cartwright, RB, Raiders. Age: 32. -- Signed with 49ers (1 year)
  32. Lorenzo Booker, RB, Vikings. Age: 28.
  33. Derrick Ward, RB, Texans. Age: 32.
  34. Chester Taylor, RB, Cardinals. Age: 32.
  35. Jerome Harrison, RB, Lions. Age: 29.
  36. Kevin Faulk, RB, Patriots. Age: 36.

2012 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Mock

Leave a comment

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Why is Brian Leonard listed as a FB? 01-22-2013 05:22 pm (total posts: 1)
24     10

You have Brian Leonard listed on you free-agent FB list, instead of this one... I was just wondering why? Leonard was regarded as a possible FB prospect coming out of Rutgers where he had been more highly regarded as a runner than a blocker. He's never really developed into an NFL fullback, however. St. Louis tried him there for a cup of coffee and it didn't work out. If you've watched film on him with the Bengals, you'd see that they never actual use him at their fullback position, and in fact on the roster he's listed as a running back. He's really just an over-sized half-back with average-below average speed. Cincinnati has used his pass catching abilities on flat routes in 3rd-down situations, and he's actually become a pretty talented 3rd-down back. He is, however, far from being an NFL fullback. In actuality you should have him ranked as a 1-star running back free agent.
Come on Man 01-22-2013 09:17 am (total posts: 4)
9     22

Seriously Walter. Steven Jackson is under contract. Take him off the list. Sure he might opt. out but right now he has one year left. Put together a real list!
Football fan 01-21-2013 04:54 am (total posts: 1)
9     9

Seahawks need to check on this kicker named Eddie Carmona. He can make the chip shots but also has the leg to make those 60+ bombs
jeff 01-19-2013 07:03 pm (total posts: 1)
12     8

should leon washington be on this list?
Funnyman4WI 01-17-2013 10:28 pm (total posts: 1)
6     109

You missed the late season Packer addition of Dajuan Harris, he is a free agent and a better option than Cedric Benson. Harris should be listed at least as a 2-1/2 star player.

Ray Lewis 01-17-2013 07:06 pm (total posts: 1)
87     8

Hey Steven, get used to it, I've been reading the same story on the Ravens need list for years...
Steven Jackson 01-17-2013 09:32 am (total posts: 4)
100     9

Every year you say my play will drop off because of my age. You were wrong last year and you will be wrong this year. Keep saying it every year eventually you will be right.
Steven Jackson 01-17-2013 09:30 am (total posts: 4)
98     10

Hey Walter, I am still under contract with the Rams. People saying I am a free agent are mislead. I doubt that I hit free agency.
TC 01-17-2013 07:04 am (total posts: 1)
10     35

LaGarrett Blount & Felix Jones should be in the Top 5 on this list instead of being in the schlub catagory
Dylan 10-07-2012 01:22 am (total posts: 1)
6     48

Ryan grant signed with the redskins
Jack 09-09-2012 06:57 am (total posts: 1)
9     10

The Skins cut Hightower and the Dolphins cut Slaton
Nick 08-27-2012 04:54 am (total posts: 1)
9     9

Kahlil Bell got released by the Bears
CullenI 08-26-2012 09:26 am (total posts: 1)
8     7

you also forgot tomlinson retired
Chris 07-25-2012 06:19 pm (total posts: 1)
10     9

Battle to Chargers you forgot
Richard Vert 05-19-2012 07:18 pm (total posts: 1)
22     12

You didn't watch Marshawn Lynch too close in 2010. The O-line was a mess. He was repeatedly hit 2 yards deep in the backfield and fought his way for a gain.He also had a nice run in the play-offs to sink the Saints chances at a repeat. Great back that ALWAYS gives 100%.

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