It seemed like my piece on Cedric Benson drew the ire of many on the Gridiron. You know you're treading on dangerous ground when you're being compared to Jay Mariotti. I'm very honored to have touched so many nerves with so few paragraphs. So before I prepare for an onslaught of angry bloggers with pitchforks and torches, I thought we could stay on the subject of runningbacks.
Let's get it on.
Unrestricted Free Agents
Derrick Ward-4 year pro New York Giants
The odds the Bears pick up derrick Ward are very slim. Ward showed explosive play ability, gaining over 1,000 yards running behind Brandon Jacobs. He also displayed good hands out of the backfield, catching 41 balls. Those accolades could make teams reach out to Ward for a starter role, but he's had lingering injuries that might hurt his stock during free agency.
Correll Buckhalter-8 Year Pro Philadelphia Eagles
Correll is not a power back no more than he is a finesse back. but he is a consistent up the gut runner who's never averaged less than 4.2 YPC each season in his career. He's a solid relief runner who's best utilized while having a third option. signing him would be a risk considering he spent three entire seasons on the shelf.
Dominick Rhodes-8 Year Pro Indianapolis Colts
Rhodes carries and yardage were almost identical to that of Joseph Addais in 2008. He also had to start 4 games in place of the banged up Addai, having 71 carries for 256 yards for a 3.6 yard average. Rhodes is also an excellent pass catcher, catching 45 balls for 302 yards and three scores. Rhodes missed the entire 2002 season due to injury, and has been the focus of a couple off the field issues.
Jason Wright- 5 Year Pro Cleveland Browns
This option is a treat for the purple-liners on this blog (I haven't lived in Chicago since 1998, but I'm pretty sure that's still the phrase). The Northwestern product has been more of a third stringer than second string his time with the Browns, with him only carrying the ball 159 times in his 5 year career. while he may not be the fastest of runners, wright has the best hands of all these unexplored options, used frequently on passing downs. Another reason he would be an intriguing backup would be his work ethic and his good-natured attitude that makes him locker room favorite.
Brian Leonard- 2 Year Pro St. Louis Rams
Leonard's stellar career at Rutgers(Warning: press mute) led him to being a second round pick to the Rams. St. louis has not utilized his full potential, turning him into a fullback. leonard is a bruising back who is also a third down option because of his pass-blocking skills. Even though he spent most of 2008 on IR, he is still, at least in my eyes worth giving up a day one and a couple day two picks.
Mewelde Moore- 5 Year Pro Pittsburgh Steelers
Moore became last year's hero of the eventual Superbowl champion Steelers after injuries sidelined Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall. Me-Mo could have instantaneous success teaming up with longtime friend and fellow Tulane product Matt Forte. If this match if made, Chicago could be riding a "green wave" back into the playoffs. Could hook him with a couple day two picks.
Julius Jones- 5 year pro Seattle Seahawks
Could Chicago see a Jones Redux in 2009? My guess is as good as yours. Jones started 10 games in 2008 in a crowded backfield that had T.J. Duckett, and Maurice Morris. he still managed to average a career high 4.4 yards per carry. Jones is a definitive change of pace back and can be a serviceable contributor on offense.
T.J. Duckett- 7 Year Pro Seattle: Great goal line back. Could had used his services in 2008
Ricky Williams- 8 Year Pro Miami: Williams is on the market, but the thought of signing him would be bunk. Six years ago, it would had been a deal since he was good. now, he's just regs.
Edgerrin James- 10 Year Pro Arizona: Word has it James wants out of the Cardinals. If he gets his wish, it's highly doubtable any will sign him as their feature back this point in his career.