2021 NFL Free Agents: Running Backs

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2021 NFL Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2021.
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  1. Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Packers (4 years, $48 million)

    Aaron Jones isn’t an elite back, but he’s on the next tier. He’s averaged 5.5 yards per carry or better in three of his four seasons, and he’s a dynamic receiver out of the backfield. He’s only 26, and he has just 651 career carries, so he’s not worn down at all.

  2. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos. Age: 27.
    Signed with Broncos (1 year, $3.25 million)

    A virtual unknown entering the NFL, Phillip Lindsay would be one of the top running backs on the market this spring if he were unrestricted.

  3. Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Seahawks (2 years, $14 million)

    Chris Carson is a solid, but unspectacular starting running back who catches passes well out of the backfield. He missed some time in 2020 with a foot injury.

  4. Mike Davis, RB, Panthers. Age: 28.
    Signed with Falcons (2 years, $5.5 million)

    Mike Davis was an excellent replacement for Christian McCaffrey. Carolina’s offense didn’t slow down every much with Davis in the backfield, as he served as a quality receiver.

  5. Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers. Age: 26.
    Signed with Lions (2 years, $7.5 million)

    Jamaal Williams has done well when starting in place of Aaron Jones, both as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield. He deserves a chance to win a starting job for himself.

  6. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Chiefs. Age: 29.
    Signed with Ravens

    Le’Veon Bell shouldn’t have taken a year off, apparently. He hasn’t been the same since sitting out the 2018 season, struggling with both the Jets and the Chiefs. He still has great talent, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he gets his act together and has a big 2021. Then again, he could continue to trend toward oblivion.

  7. Leonard Fournette, RB, Buccaneers. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Buccaneers (1 year, $4 million)

    Leonard Fournette disappointed with the Buccaneers, but he’s a talented, three-down running back who should rebound in 2021.

  8. Kenyan Drake, RB, Cardinals. Age: 27.
    Signed with Raiders (2 years, $11 million)

    Expectations were high for Kenyan Drake entering 2020, but he was a disappointment. He rushed for 955 yards and 10 touchdowns, but wasn’t involved much in the passing game and averaged for a meek 4.0 YPC.

  9. Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs. Age: 29.
    Signed with Bears (1 year)

    Damien Williams foolishly cost himself a starting NFL job by opting out of the 2020 season. This was an incredibly dumb decision, so it’s not a surprise that the Chiefs cut him. Williams will have to settle for a No. 2 job for a team looking for a back who can catch passes out of the backfield.

  10. Boston Scott (RFA), RB, Eagles. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Eagles (1 year)

    Boston Scott has proven himself to be a very capable backup behind Miles Sanders. He averaged nearly five yards per carry in 2020, and he caught 25 passes.

  11. James White, RB, Patriots. Age: 29.
    Re-signed with Patriots (1 year, $2.5 million)

    James White is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Given his playing style, he should be able to keep playing well into his 30s.

  12. Duke Johnson, RB, Texans. Age: 27.
    Signed with Jaguars

    Bill O’Brien traded a fourth-round pick for Duke Johnson, then barely used him after that. Johnson started some games in 2020 when David Johnson got hurt, but was only mildly effective.

  13. James Conner, RB, Steelers. Age: 26.
    Signed with Cardinals (1 year)

    James Conner has started the past few years, but he’s been one of the worst starting backs in the NFL in that span.

  14. Gus Edwards (RFA), RB, Ravens. Age: 26.
    Tendered by Ravens (2nd round)

    Gus Edwards averaged five yards per carry in 2020 as he rushed for 723 yards and six touchdowns

  15. Mike Boone (RFA), RB, Vikings. Age: 26.
    Signed with Broncos (2 years, $2.6 million)

    Known as the Walter Payton of the NFL preseason, Mike Boone deserves a chance to compete as a high-end backup somewhere.

  16. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals. Age: 29.
    Signed with Buccaneers (1 year)

    Giovani Bernard is a talented pass-catching running back, but the Bengals wanted to cut him in order to save $4.2 million. He turns 30 in November, but he can still play well for a year or two.

  17. Wayne Gallman, RB, 49ers. Age: 26.
    Signed with Falcons

    Wayne Gallman did a solid job in place of Saquon Barkley, rushing for 682 yards and six touchdowns, while catching 21 passes.

  18. Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers. Age: 29.
    Signed with Chiefs

    Jerick McKinnon can’t stay healthy, which is a shame because he’s a dynamic receiver out of the backfield when he can play.

  19. Adrian Peterson, RB, Lions. Age: 36.
    Signed with Titans

    The Lions got lots of flak last year for using Adrian Peterson over D’Andre Swift early in the year, but only because Swift is so talented. Peterson isn’t the same player he once was, but he can still move some piles and pick up chunks of yardage.

  20. Todd Gurley, RB, Falcons. Age: 27.
    There’s a chance Todd Gurley bounces back because of his great talent. Plus, he’s still only 27. Unfortunately, his knees are shot. It’s more likely that his career is finished.

  21. Latavius Murray, RB, Saints. Age: 31. — Signed with Ravens
  22. Carlos Hyde, RB, Seahawks. Age: 30. Signed with Jaguars (2 years, $6 million)
  23. Samaje Perine, RB, Bengals. Age: 25. — Re-signed with Bengals (1 year)
  24. Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers. Age: 28. — Signed with Jets (1 year)
  25. Malcolm Brown, RB, Rams. Age: 28. — Signed with Dolphins
  26. Matt Breida, RB, Dolphins. Age: 26. — Signed with Bills (1 year)
  27. Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots. Age: 31. — Signed with Texans
  28. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Bills. Age: 27.
  29. Corey Clement, RB, Giants. Age: 26. — Signed with Cowboys
  30. Mark Ingram, RB, Ravens. Age: 31. — Signed with Texans (1 year, $3 million)
  31. Devonta Freeman, RB, Giants. Age: 29. — Signed with Saints
  32. DeAndre Washington, RB, Dolphins. Age: 28.
  33. Devontae Booker, RB, Raiders. Age: 26. — Signed with Giants (2 years)
  34. D’Onta Foreman, RB, Falcons. Age: 25. — Signed with Titans
  35. Chris Thompson, RB, Jaguars. Age: 30.
  36. Kalen Ballage, RB, Chargers. Age: 25. — Signed with Steelers
  37. Brian Hill, RB, Falcons. Age: 25. — Signed with Titans
  38. Ito Smith, RB, Falcons. Age: 25. — Signed with Cardinals
  39. Alfred Morris, RB, Giants. Age: 32. — Re-signed with Giants
  40. Tyler Ervin, RB, Packers. Age: 28.
  41. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buccaneers. Age: 33.
  42. Dwayne Washington, RB, Saints. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Saints
  43. Ty Montgomery, RB, Saints. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Saints (1 year)
  44. Frank Gore, RB, Jets. Age: 38.
  45. Theo Riddick, RB, Raiders. Age: 30. — Announced retirement
  46. Trey Edmunds, RB, Steelers. Age: 26.
  47. Dion Lewis, RB, Giants. Age: 30. — Announced retirement
  48. Taiwan Jones, RB, Bills. Age: 33. — Re-signed with Bills
  49. Lamar Miller, RB, Redskins. Age: 30.
  50. Senorise Perry, RB, Titans. Age: 29.

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