There has been a lot of concern that back-up running back and full-time fury Mike Davis may move on in free agency. Have you seen the other backs available?
We’ve seen a lot of speculation that Mike Davis will command a nice contract, one large enough to make the Seahawks blink and let him walk. I’ve made that same speculation myself. Then I looked again at all the free agent running backs available in for 2019. And maybe, Mike Davis won’t be getting an offer Seattle can’t handle after all.
There are 36 unrestricted free agent running backs available this year by spotrac.com’s count. If you prefer overthecap.com, there are 37. Spotrac lists the Dolphins Senorise Perry as an exclusive restricted free agent. He has eight carries in three seasons, so he isn’t exactly a major player. 36 or 37, that’s a lot of players overall. More importantly, there is a ton of starting talent here. By my estimate, there actually is about a ton of starting talent hitting free agency.
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Leading the parade is the enigmatic and wildly productive Le’Veon Bell. Well, he’s wildly productive when he plays, anyway. Bell averages 1377 yards rushing, 80 receptions, and 11 touchdowns per 16 game season. Then again, he’s only played a full season once. Regardless, somebody is gonna sign some pretty big checks to bring him in from the cold.
After Bell, there is a slew of backs who could start on most teams. The ageless one himself, Adrian Peterson, had his best year since 2015. A player the 12s know pretty well, Marshawn Lynch, was off to a fine start last year when he was shelved by a serious groin injury. Doug Martin stepped into his cleats for the Raiders, so to speak, and had his best season since 2015. The Falcons Tevin Coleman had the best season of his four-year career.
Mike Davis isn’t the only quality back out there
They weren’t the only backs to have years that translate into a decent shot at a starting role in 2019, either. C.J. Anderson was terrific when he stepped in for Todd Gurley, and whatever his real problem was. T.J. Yeldon showed signs of life for the Jaguars, at least until he remembered Blake Bortles was the starting quarterback. Okay, those guys are both stretches, but both Mark Ingram and Latavius Murray proved they could get it done when their teams needed them. By my calculations, that’s 2,215 pounds of quality NFL talent. Actually well over a ton.
So what does this mean for Mike Davis? For one thing, it means there are at least seven backs on the market that will be perceived as more valuable. Add players like Alfred Blue, Alfred Morris, and Rod Smith, who can all fill in capably. Don’t forget Jay Ajayi missed most of the season for the Eagles, either. With the possible exception of Ajayi, I’d much rather have Davis than any of this latter group. In fact, I’d rather have him back than any of these guys, other than Bell and Coleman.
But there are still 35 (or maybe 36) other backs that are all going to be available, a lot of them slotted as back-ups. I’m not so sure the market will be that great for Davis simply because there are so many options out there. I’d love to see him get a nice fat contract as a reward. He clearly gives it everything he has on every play. You can’t say that about all of the other backs listed here. Get paid, Mike. I just hope it’s by the Seahawks.