Get Them Signed

By Zack Cimini

Usually teams are quick to throw money at marquee free agents, especially when it comes to adding depth at the running back position. Surveying teams depth charts as they go into training camp is questionable at running back. That shouldn’t be the issue though as there are a plethora of veteran running backs that remain unsigned. Do teams truly believe these running backs are washed up and have nothing left? We doubt it. It seems as if more teams are willing to go with the younger unproven backs for depth. This shift is something very new and unparalleled.

Injuries do happen and build up quickly. We’ve profiled nine free agent running backs that all should fill rosters before the regular season starts. All have been key backs for fantasy rosters, and may have some value down the road this season.

Warrick Dunn- Dunn’s probably the primary target of the veteran free agents unsigned. He has bounced around the last few seasons, but still showed value. Last year with Tampa Bay he had over 1100 all purpose yards. At 34 and at his size it’s amazing he has been able to have a lasting career. Teams that will look at him will be looking to sign him because of his pass catching skills.

DeShaun Foster- Talk about an underachiver, Foster embodies that. He has been given all the chances in the world to be a feature back. Maybe being pushed out again and no teams showing interest will get him rededicated.

Rudi Johnson- It seems Johnson has been another victim of heavy carries syndrome. From 2003-2006, Johnson took on the bulk of the carries from the Bengals. Since he has faded quicker than evidence of Lebron James being dunked on. The issue on Johnson’s downfall is still out. It’s wait and see on Johnson, but in the right situation he could have some fantasy value.

Michael Pittman-Pittman keeps hanging around and still pops up on the fantasy radar once or twice a year. He has had several off the field issues that have not gone away. Once on the field though Pittman has shown he is one of the better backs in the league as being a duel threat.

Ahman Green- Another back that wore down from injuries and age. No one can forget his five monster seasons with the Packers, and his revitalized year with Houston in 2006. Steve Slaton pushed him out of Houston last year. One thing Green has going for him is that his injuries weren’t severe they were just on going (hamstring).

Nick Goings- Goings found trouble getting any carries with Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams running the show. Upon his release Goings has had a hard time catching anyone’s interest. He has came from the bottom up before as he did in 2004 when he went from a practice squad back to starter.

Deuce McAllister- Injuries have derailed a promising career as McAllister has hardly touched the field since 2005. His running style is similar to retired Eddie George, which didn’t bode well for George after seven to eight seasons. McAllister has a tough road ahead and obviously his days as a feature back are complete.

Reuben Droughns- Now 30, Droughns is more of a goal line and short yardage back. In his prime he had a couple of very productive seasons of 1,200 yards rushing in both the 2004 and 2005 season. Teams should be taken a look at him to fill the goal line back role he has had the last three seasons. In 2008 the Giants used him solely as a special teams player due to their massive depth at running back with Ward, Jacobs, and Bradshaw.

Aaron Stecker- Stecker was another back that had problems last season due to depth ahead of him. Pierre Thomas filled the third string role behind McAllister and Bush. Stecker showed in 2007 that he can be a primary back when needed.