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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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da bears 04-08-2012 06:08 pm (total posts: 1)
15     22

youre missing our 2nd-year UFA armando allen
@wtf walter 03-23-2012 10:04 am (total posts: 1)
20     17

Also, Green hasn't fumbked, EVER.
wtf walter 03-20-2012 08:30 pm (total posts: 1)
20     116

Benjarvis-667yds 11td not to mention his 1008 yards 13 touchdowns 2 years ago

Smith and Bell combined-693 4 last year

Green should be at least a 3 star RB
A,Brown 03-15-2012 08:16 pm (total posts: 1)
39     41

How is the law firm (ben jarvius green ellis)a 1 1/2 star? U on something?
ndpokerguy 03-14-2012 11:00 am (total posts: 1)
15     49

How does Steven Jackson not make the list?
Pats 1 fan 03-14-2012 07:11 am (total posts: 1)
142     191

Pats need to sign in running back Michael bush and Ben Jarvis green Ellis. Corner back they need Brandon Carr. For wide recover they need to sign wes welker, Deion branch, and Brandon Lloyd who want to be on the patriots. And for the draft their first two pick cb Alonzo Dennard and the other first pick mark Barron and if they need defensive line men get it in 2 and 3 round picks.
MarkieB89 03-13-2012 05:48 pm (total posts: 2)
17     16

The Peyton Hillis C.I.A. thing was a rumor. It even came from his own mouth.
Jim 02-29-2012 08:11 pm (total posts: 1)
66     40

Forte is the best back easily
Young joc 02-23-2012 05:04 pm (total posts: 2)
30     39

Pats Neeeda get Marshawn lynch
VYoungmoney 02-23-2012 05:03 pm (total posts: 2)
48     55

Pats Needa get Arian Foster or ray Rice
Robert Walker 02-14-2012 11:52 pm (total posts: 1)
21     19
Lawfirm lover 02-13-2012 02:44 pm (total posts: 1)
37     34

Kevin Smith? Kahlil Bell? Tim Hightower? The Law firm has had back to back seasons with double digit TD's, NEVER! fumbles, & when you factor in how many times he runs the ball a game(under 15 a game)i feel he's better then you have him ranked. Great job love what you do!! GO PATS!
player 02-13-2012 11:41 am (total posts: 1)
41     26

foster over rice
Clovdyx 02-13-2012 12:26 am (total posts: 1)
22     17

Forte has no holes in his game or in his o-line to run through.

I thought that joke merited a post.
PatsFan 02-09-2012 02:19 pm (total posts: 1)
34     19

The Pats need to somewhat make a run at Mike Tolbert if Benjarvus is not retained

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