2005 Free Agents: Running Backs

With William Green, Lee Suggs, and Adimchibobe Echemandu in tow, one would think the Browns wouldn't be in the market for free agent running backs. But a new front office may have other ideas, and if they do, they have an impressive list of free agent running backs (including the Bengals' Rudi Johnson, pictured) to choose from. Here are our thoughts on this year's crop...

2005 Free-Agent Running Backs

A listing of the running backs scheduled for NFL free agency in 2005. UFA=Unrestricted Free Agent; RFA=Restricted Free Agent; ERFA=Exclusive Rights Free Agent. For definitions of free-agent terms, click here. The "Best of the Bunch" is sorted by rankings from Scout.com's Lane Adkins. Comments provided for unrestricted free agents.

Unrestricted Free Agents / Best of the Bunch

Player 2004 Team
Shaun Alexander

Seattle Seahawks

One of many solid unrestricted free agents for Seattle, he fell 1 yard short of Curtis Martin's rushing title. Extremely valuable, but still isn't world's best pass protector.
Edgerrin James

Indianapolis Colts

All-around prized back. Likely to receive the franchise tag, costing the Colts $5.167 million.
Rudi Johnson Cincinnati Bengals
Set the single-season franchise record for yards (1,454) and attempts. Another player that could get the franchise designation if not signed long-term before March.
Lamont Jordan New York Jets
Wants to play more, but being a backup to Curtis Martin won't help that request. But even with Martin's rushing title, some in the Jets organization like Jordan better.
Derrick Blaylock Kansas City Chiefs
Had some very solid performances in spot duty while replacing Priest Holmes with 539 yards last year and a 4.6-yard average.
Chester Taylor Baltimore Ravens
Became a shining backup for Jamal Lewis in Baltimore, garnering a few 100-yard games and 714 rushing yards in 2004.
Dominic Rhodes Indianapolis Colts
Excellent backup and excels at kickoff returns. Set a franchise record with 236 yards on six kickoff returns in one game last year.
Emmitt Smith Arizona Cardinals
NFL's career rushing leader expected to retire, but still managed 937 yards in 267 attempts in 2004.
Anthony Thomas Chicago Bears
One of the best bets to change teams this offseason, due to a late-season demotion to third string. A 1,000-yard rusher in 2001 and 2003.
Antowain Smith Tenessee Titans
Chris Brown's injuries make parting with Smith a risky proposition in Tennessee. Last time he didn't have at least 500 yards was in 2000.
Correll Buckhalter Philadelphia Eagles
Torn patella tendon in his right knee ended his 2004 campaign before it started, but was expected to share carries with Brian Westbrook heading into the season.
Dorsey Levens Philadelphia Eagles
Signed in August 2004 and averaged 4.4 yards a carry. A decent veteran backup.
Eddie George Dallas Cowboys
Moved to 16th on the NFL rushing list, but may never reach the top 10. His body appears to be in its last productive phase.
Ron Dayne New York Giants
The first-round pick from the 2000 draft hasn't been a productive back in years. Almost certainly headed to another team after frustration in New York.
Troy Hambrick Arizona Cardinals
Signed an extension during the season that was voided by the NFL. Cardinals will likely try to keep him again before free agency starts.
Brandon Bennett Carolina Panthers
Former Dolphin, Bengal and Panther is a serviceable, versatile backup, with his forte as a return man.
Garrison Hearst Denver Broncos
Went on IR late in the season and isn't likely to be back in Denver. Four-time 1,000-yard rusher gained only 81 yards rushing last year.


REST OF THE BUNCH

Player 2004 Team
Terry Jackson San Francisco 49ers
Special teams captain could be on the bubble in San Francisco, but led the team with 3.9-yard average.
Kenny Watson Cincinnati Bengals
Productive third-down back, rushing and receiving. Also a good blocker.
Greg Comella Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Moved from the Giants to Bucs last year, and the fullback could be in line for another relocation.
Jameel Cook Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Unspectacular back rarely gets a carry, but can be a serviceable receiver out of the backfield.
Leon Johnson San Diego Chargers
Foot injury kept him on the sidelines during 2004.
James Mungro Indianapolis Colts
Injuries and a limited role the last two years. Status with Colts could depend on moves with James and Rhodes ahead of him.
Travis Minor Miami Dolphins
Productive for Miami, but Dolphins' interest in acquiring feature back leaves Minor's status in precarious position.
Jon Ritchie Philadelphia Eagles
Fullback put on IR in September after a torn ACL, but Eagles like his talent and leadership.
Fred McCrary Atlanta Falcons
Journeyman fullback signed in December with Falcons.
Stanley Pritchett Atlanta Falcons
After nine years and four teams, fullback will likely find NFL employment again in 2005.
Jim Finn New York Giants
Giants are expected to make him a decent offer to keep him off the market.
Michael Cloud New York Giants
Decent backup, but not a starter. Could get an offer from the Giants.
Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala Jacksonville Jaguars
Short-yardage back was injured much of the first half of 2004. Hasn't come close to duplicating his 452-yard season with the Steelers in 2001.
Stephen Trejo Detroit Lions
Backup fullback's best chance of staying in NFL is with the Lions.
Rod Smart Carolina Panthers
Got a one-year deal from the Panthers last year, but he hates this time of uncertainty.
Patrick Pass New England Patriots
Fullback can do it all, but isn't asked to carry the ball too often.
Rabih Abdullah New England Patriots
Limited action with the Patriots in an on-again, off-again season in 2004.
Amos Zereoue Oakland Raiders
Career has leveled off after promising start in Pittsburgh.
Chris Hetherington Oakland Raiders
Besides special teams, fullback didn't get much opportunity.
J. R. Redmond Oakland Raiders
Showed some versatility in Oakland, with more yards receiving (233) than rushing (119).
Jamel White Baltimore Ravens
Career just hasn't taken off. Limited to only 82 yards rushing in 2004.
Mike Sellers Washington Redskins
A special teams standout that is appreciated by the Redskins.
Fred McAfee New Orleans Saints
A special teams standout, but after 12 years his value is declining.
Heath Evans Seattle Seahawks
Low priority for the Seahawks amid a host of pricier free agents they want to sign.
Moran Norris Houston Texans
Blocking fullback is expected to return to Houston.



Restricted and Exclusive Rights Free Agents


* indicates a player at a level with "Best of the Bunch" Unrestricted Free Agents

Player Status Team
Adrian Peterson * RFA Bears
Brian Westbrook * RFA Eagles
Najeh Davenport * RFA Packers
Verron Haynes * RFA Steelers
Joe Burns RFA Bills
Jesse Chatman RFA Chargers
Omar Easy RFA Chiefs
Darian Barnes RFA Cowboys
Leonard Henry RFA Dolphins
Jamal Robertson RFA Panthers
Nick Maddox RFA Panthers
Joey Goodspeed RFA Rams
Rock Cartwright RFA Redskins
Jonathan Wells RFA Texans
Jarrod Baxter RFA Texans
Cecil Sapp ERFA Broncos
Santonio Beard ERFA Broncos
Ian Smart ERFA Buccaneers
Calvin Murray ERFA Chargers
Ronnie Cruz ERFA Chiefs
Reshard Lee ERFA Cowboys
Eric Bickerstaff ERFA Cowboys
Kaylon Kincade ERFA Cowboys
Lousaka Polite ERFA Cowboys
Derrick Ward ERFA Giants
Joey Harris ERFA Panthers
Kory Chapman ERFA Patriots
DeJuan Green ERFA Raiders
Arlen Harris ERFA Rams
B. J. Sams ERFA Ravens
John Simon ERFA Redskins
Jason Anderson ERFA Texans
Jarret Payton ERFA Titans
Butchie Wallace ERFA Vikings

 



The OBR Top Stories