2017 NFL Free Agents: Running Backs



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2017 NFL Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2017.
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  1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers. Age: 25.
    Franchised by Steelers

    Le'Veon Bell is arguably the best running back in the NFL. He's a terrific runner, and he's also very dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield; he caught 75 passes in 2016. He'll also be just 25 in February. The only concern regarding Bell is his tendency to get suspended for drug tests. Ian Rapoport has reported that Bell will be franchised.

  2. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings. Age: 32.
    Signed with Saints

    Adrian Peterson's $18 million option wasn't picked up, meaning he'll be a free agent on March 9. Peterson looked extremely worn down last year, especially when returning from his injury; he gained just 1.9 yards per carry. However, Peterson was hurt while playing behind an anemic offensive line. He'll be better in 2017, and even though he'll turn 32 in March, he can't be counted out because he's made miraculous comebacks before. It's possible that Peterson could have two strong seasons remaining in the tank, though it's also possible that he could be close to done.





  3. Isaiah Crowell (RFA), RB, Browns. Age: 24.
    Tendered by Browns (2nd round)

    Isaiah Crowell had some huge performances at the beginning of the season, but struggled following Joel Bitonio's injury. Crowell has tremendous talent and turns just 24 in January, but comes with off-the-field issues.

  4. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers. Age: 27.
    Signed with Seahawks

    Eddie Lacy looked like he was going to eat himself out of the league in 2015, but slimmed down a bit this past season. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry before suffering an ankle injury. Lacy told the media that he plans on doing a P90X workout this offseason, so perhaps he'll continue to lose weight.



  5. Chris Thompson (RFA), RB, Redskins. Age: 26.
    Tendered by Redskins

    Chris Thompson has been one of the NFL's better third-down backs over the past couple of seasons. Though he doesn't carry the ball very much, Thompson caught 49 passes in 2016.

  6. Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders. Age: 27.
    Signed with Vikings

    Latavius Murray was one of the worst starting running backs in the NFL this past season. He somehow scored 12 touchdowns, but he averaged only 4.0 yards per carry despite running behind one of the top offensive lines in the league. No wonder Oakland's coaching staff didn't even give him 200 attempts.

  7. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs. Age: 30.
    Signed with Broncos

    Jamaal Charles is a tough free agent to rate. He has played just eight games in the past two years because of dual knee injuries. He also turned 30 in December. However, when healthy, Charles is a dynamic player. He may have lost some explosion because of his injuries, but he can at the very least serve as a potent receiver out of the backfield.

  8. Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers. Age: 32.
    Signed with Ravens

    Danny Woodhead had a fantastic year for the Patriots. Wait, sorry, for a second I thought I was Jeff Fisher and not paying attention to the NFL at all. Woodhead logged 120 total yards and a touchdown in the opener against the Chiefs, but went down with a torn ACL the following week. Woodhead is now 32, so his days of being a nifty receiver out of the backfield appear to be coming to an end, though he may have one more quality season left in the tank.



  9. Mike Gillislee (RFA), RB, Bills. Age: 26.
    Signed with Patriots

    The Bills thought they were going to miss Karlos Williams, but Mike Gillislee performed well as a backup, averaging about six yards per carry and scoring seven touchdowns in 2016.

  10. Rex Burkhead, RB, Bengals. Age: 27.
    Signed with Patriots

    Rex Burkhead is a solid, pass-catching back who was given a chance to shine when Giovani Bernard was knocked out with an injury. He took full advantage of it, snatching four receptions in some games.

  11. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Buccaneers. Age: 27.
    Re-signed with Buccaneers

    Jacquizz Rodgers was perhaps Tampa's best running back in 2016. He took over for the ailing Doug Martin and Charles Sims, and he managed to rush for 100 yards in two games. He gained 4.3 yards per carry and caught 13 passes.



  12. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots. Age: 30.
    Signed with Eagles

    LeGarrette Blount turned 30 in December. His days are nearing the end even though he scored 18 touchdowns in 2016. He didn't run very well for the most part, averaging only 3.9 yards per carry.

  13. Ryan Mathews, RB, Eagles. Age: 29.
    Doug Pederson hated Ryan Mathews, but was forced to use him last year because he didn't have an alternative. That's no longer the case with LeGarrette Blount on the team, so the Eagles were able to cut Mathews once he was medically cleared. Mathews averaged five yards per carry in 2015 and is still just 29, so he can be a strong No. 2 on a team right now. His durability is a strike against him, but that should be fine if he doesn't have to carry the workload. Some teams that make sense for him include the Packers, Giants, Cowboys, Bills (if they plan on trading LeSean McCoy), Ravens and Steelers.

  14. Tim Hightower, RB, 49ers. Age: 31.
    Tim Hightower took three years off because of an injury, but he's been solid in his return. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry in 2016 and also caught 22 passes. He's not a starting-caliber running back, but he's a solid backup who can play well on third down.

  15. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Steelers. Age: 34.
    DeAngelo Williams was the league leader in rushing yards when Le'Veon Bell was out of the lineup. However, he finished the year with a meager 3.5 YPC average in 2016, and he turns 34 the week of the 2017 NFL Draft.

  16. Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals. Age: 28.
    Re-signed with Cardinals (1 year)

    'Member when Andre Ellington was seen as a great, young running back for the Cardinals? Ellington was fantastic, but hasn't done much the past two years. However, he's been stuck behind David Johnson and Chris Johnson on the depth chart. He caught 46 passes in 2014, so perhaps he can serve as a third-down back for some team.

  17. Darren McFadden, RB, Cowboys. Age: 30.
    Re-signed with Cowboys

    Darren McFadden rushed for 1,000-plus yards in 2015, but barely did anything last year because of an injury. He turns 30 in August and hasn't been able to stay healthy during most of his career.

  18. Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants. Age: 32.
    Rashad Jennings, 32 in March, is no longer a No. 1 running back. That was evident when he averaged just 3.3 yards per carry in 2016. Paul Perkins averaged a 4.1 YPC figure, so it's not like the offensive line can be blamed. Jennings can still do a good job catching the ball - he had 35 receptions last year - so perhaps he can carve out a role as a valuable backup with receiving skills.

  19. Karlos Williams, RB, Steelers. Age: 24.
    Karlos Williams has tremendous ability and is good enough to be a very good starter in the NFL. Unfortunately, he has some mental issues he'll need to overcome before he can continue his playing career.


  20. Christine Michael, RB, Packers. Age: 27. -- Signed with Colts
  21. Terrance West (RFA), RB, Ravens. Age: 26. -- Tendered by Ravens (original)
  22. Shaun Draughn, RB, 49ers. Age: 29. -- Signed with Giants
  23. Fozzy Whittaker, RB, Panthers. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Panthers
  24. Kenjon Barner, RB, Eagles. Age: 27. -- Signed with Chargers
  25. Robert Turbin, RB, Colts. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Colts (2 years)
  26. Bobby Rainey, RB, Giants. Age: 29. -- Signed with Ravens
  27. Chris Johnson, RB, Cardinals. Age: 31.
  28. James Starks, RB, Packers. Age: 31.
  29. Khiry Robinson, RB, Jets. Age: 27.
  30. Branden Oliver (RFA), RB, Chargers. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Chargers
  31. Lance Dunbar, RB, Cowboys. Age: 28. -- Signed with Rams
  32. Matt Asiata, RB, Vikings. Age: 30. -- Signed with Lions
  33. Travaris Cadet, RB, Saints. Age: 28. -- Signed with Bills
  34. Orleans Darkwa (RFA), RB, Giants. Age: 25. -- Re-signed with Giants
  35. Damien Williams (RFA), RB, Dolphins. Age: 25. -- Tendered by Dolphins
  36. Denard Robinson, RB, Jaguars. Age: 26.
  37. DuJuan Harris, RB, 49ers. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with 49ers
  38. Jonathan Grimes, RB, Texans. Age: 27. -- Signed with Jaguars
  39. Juwan Thompson (RFA), RB, Broncos. Age: 25.
  40. Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots. Age: 27.

  41. Ronnie Hillman, RB, Cowboys. Age: 25.
  42. Knile Davis, RB, Steelers. Age: 25.
  43. Antonio Andrews (RFA), RB, Titans. Age: 25.
  44. Justin Forsett, RB, Broncos. Age: 31.
  45. Stevan Ridley, RB, Vikings. Age: 28.
  46. C.J. Spiller, RB, Chiefs. Age: 30.
  47. Zac Stacy, RB, Jets. Age: 26.
  48. Chase Reynolds, RB, Rams. Age: 29.
  49. Glenn Winston (RFA), RB, Browns. Age: 28.
  50. Cedric Peerman, RB, Bengals. Age: 30. -- Re-signed with Bengals
  51. Jordan Todman, RB, Colts. Age: 27. -- Signed with Jets
  52. Trey Watts (RFA), RB, Rams. Age: 26.
  53. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Cardinals. Age: 26.
  54. Silas Redd (RFA), RB, Redskins. Age: 25.
  55. Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars. Age: 30.
  56. Reggie Bush, RB, Bills. Age: 32.





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