2009 Free Agents: Running Backs


2009 Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2009.

  1. Brandon Jacobs, Giants. Age: 27.
    Re-signed with Giants (4 years, $25 million)

    I have some concerns with Brandon Jacobs’ durability, but he’s still one of the top free agents available this spring. Jacobs has proven that he’s nearly impossible to tackle, and his ability to wear down defenses is something the Giants can’t afford to give away.

  2. Darren Sproles, Chargers. Age: 26.
    Franchised by Chargers

    Darren Sproles will never be an every-down back in this league, but he’s such a great weapon to have on offense and special teams. He’s a threat to go the distance at any time, as the Broncos found out on Week 17.

  3. Derrick Ward, Giants. Age: 29.
    Signed with Buccaneers (4 years, $17 million; $6 million guaranteed)

    Derrick Ward averaged 5.6 yards per carry this season and also caught 41 passes. However, his age makes him a risky multi-year signing for anyone. Also, Ward didn’t carry the ball more than 20 times in any game in 2008.

  4. Fred Jackson (ERFA), Bills. Age: 28.
    Tendered by Bills

    One of the best change-of-pace backs in the NFL, Fred Jackson will definitely be retained by the Bills for a minimal tender. It’s worth noting that Jackson rushed for 136 yards on 27 carries against the Patriots in Week 17.

  5. Maurice Morris, Seahawks. Age: 29.
    Signed with Lions (3 years, $7 million)

    Maurice Morris vastly out-played overpriced bum Julius Jones, averaging 4.5 and 4.3 yards per carry the past two seasons. He’s a valuable No. 2 running back who will be available at a cheap price.

  6. Cedric Benson, Bengals. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Bengals (2 years, $7 million)

    Cedric Benson was brilliant for the Bengals down the stretch. He totaled at least 130 yards in each of his last three games. Benson would be rated higher, but the over-under on his DUI arrests this spring stands at 9.5. Vegas is taking bets now.

  7. Larry Johnson, Chiefs. Age: 29.
    Signed with Bengals

    Larry Johnson could be a great short-yardage back for a team like the Texans. However, he’s far from an every-down runner at this point.

  8. Edgerrin James, Cardinals. Age: 31.
    Signed with Seahawks (1 year, $2 million)

    An interesting free agent. Is Edgerrin James done, or was his lacking production in Arizona the result of poor blocking? We’ll soon find out. James hasn’t averaged more than 3.9 yards per carry since leaving the Colts after the 2005 season.

  9. Tatum Bell, Broncos. Age: 28.
    If you can keep him away from cash registers and luggage, Tatum Bell can be pretty effective. Bell totaled 117 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers in Week 17.

  10. Warrick Dunn, Buccaneers. Age: 34.
    Warrick Dunn just turned 34, but he totaled 1,116 yards in 2008. He’s a solid third-down back who will find a new home.

  11. Fred Taylor, Jaguars. Age: 33.
    Signed with Patriots

    I can’t believe the Fred Taylor era is over in Jacksonville. Taylor, 33, averaged 3.9 YPC last year despite playing behind the most banged-up offensive line in the NFL. Taylor can still be an effective reserve running back for a year or two.

  12. Correll Buckhalter, Eagles. Age: 30.
    Signed with Broncos

    Correll Buckhalter has an extensive injury history and can’t be a starter in the NFL. He’s a solid backup.

  13. LaMont Jordan, Patriots. Age: 30.
    Signed with Broncos (2 years, $2.5 million)

    LaMont Jordan maintained a 4.5 YPC average in 2008, but at this point in his career, he’s nothing more than a backup/committee back.

  14. Dominic Rhodes, Bills. Age: 30.
    The last year Dominic Rhodes averaged more than four yards per carry was 2004. He maintained a figure of 3.5 this season. He’s an adequate backup, but he’s clearly over the hill.

  15. T.J. Duckett, Seahawks. Age: 28.
    T.J. Duckett can still be an effective goal-line back, but if Jim Mora Jr. didn’t want him, you know he’s pretty washed up.

  16. Deuce McAllister, Saints. Age: 30.
    Re-signed with Saints

    Deuce McAllister has two bum knees, but he can still get it done as a goal-line back. The Eagles, who had major problems in fourth-and-one situations, should be interested.

  17. J.J. Arrington, Broncos. Age: 26.
    J.J. Arrington averaged 6.3 yards per carry in 2008, though most of that came off of draws. He’s a solid change-of-pace back; nothing more.

  18. Ryan Torain, Broncos. Age: 23.
  19. Selvin Young, Broncos. Age: 25.
  20. Danny Ware (ERFA), Giants. Age: 24. – Re-signed with Giants
  21. Kenny Watson, Bengals. Age: 31.
  22. Gary Russell, Raiders. Age: 22. – Re-signed with Raiders
  23. Jason Snelling, Falcons. Age: 25. – Re-signed with Falcons
  24. DeShaun Foster, 49ers. Age: 29.
  25. Mike Hart, Colts. Age: 23.
  26. Alvin Pearman, Jaguars. Age: 27. – Signed with Titans
  27. Ian Johnson, Vikings. Age: 23.
  28. P.J. Pope, Broncos. Age: 25.
  29. Chris Henry, Titans. Age: 24.
  30. Rudi Johnson, Lions. Age: 29.
  31. Michael Pittman, Broncos. Age: 34.
  32. Chris Perry, Bengals. Age: 27.
  33. Jason Wright, Browns. Age: 27. – Signed with Cardinals (2 years, $2 million)
  34. Kevin Jones, Bears. Age: 27. – Re-signed with Bears (2 years, $3.5 million)
  35. Reuben Droughns, Giants. Age: 31.
  36. Jesse Chatman, Jets. Age: 29.
  37. DeDe Dorsey, Bengals. Age: 25.
  38. Alonzo Coleman (ERFA), Cowboys. Age: 25.
  39. Aveion Cason, Lions. Age: 30.
  40. Travis Minor, Rams. Age: 30.
  41. Chris Taylor, Texans. Age: 24. – Signed with Patriots
  42. Ahman Green, Texans. Age: 32. – Signed with Packers
  43. Ron Dayne, Texans. Age: 31.
  44. Travis Henry, Broncos. Age: 30.
  45. Musa Smith, Jets. Age: 27.
  46. Maurice Hicks, Vikings. Age: 31.
  47. Anthony Thomas, Bills. Age: 31.
  48. Kenton Keith, Colts. Age: 29.
  49. Thomas Clayton, 49ers. Age: 25.
  50. Marcus Mason, Redskins. Age: 25. – Re-signed with Redskins
  51. Noah Herron, Jets. Age: 27. – Signed with Browns
  52. Clifton Dawson, Colts. Age: 25.
  53. Allen Patrick, Browns. Age: 25. – Signed with Giants
  54. Cory Boyd, Broncos. Age: 24.
  55. Shaun Alexander, Redskins. Age: 32.


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