With the notable release of Michael Turner along with his cap-heavy contract, the Falcons have left a void at the running back position that needs to be filled. Thomas Dimitroff must now search the free agent pool for a dependable, consistent back with ‘feature’-like talent, but is willing to split carries with the scat-man Jacquizz Rodgers and possibly Antone Smith.
There are a few names being thrown around, but the decision on which RB is best for Atlanta will come down to efficiency (or performance) vs. cap-friendly. Atlanta has freed over 15 million in cap-space with the release of a few high-profile veterans, but some of that money has to be put towards the 2013 NFL Draft rookies.
Oh, there’s also the situation involving Pro-Bowl Saftey William Moore and Matt Ryan’s contract, which may have been pushed to Forbes-like proportions due to Joe Flacco becoming the highest-paid NFL player in the history of the game.
The Atlanta Falcons must stretch every dollar and make sure every need is met if they want keep key players, add a few new ones, and remain contender to be the last team standing come next February. Atlanta should look to get a talented back that not only understands Arthur Blank’s overall goal of a championship, but is willing to put aside ego and embrace teamspirit (along with a slight pay cut).
The 2013 free agent pool isn’t deep with talent at the running back position. But, at the top, there are a few names who could be very serviceable to Thomas Dimitroff. The back who should be at the top of his list is Steven Jackson. He’s a blue-collar, madman runner with excellent hands and the ability to pick up blitzes. His only hindrance is his durability issues, but even while battling injuries most of last year, he was able rush for over 1,000 yards. He’s not a long-term solution (approaching his 30th birthday), but Atlanta doesn’t need a full-time starter. With his skill-set, he is the perfect complement to Jacquizz, and he’s looking to play for a Super Bowl contender. Coming to Atlanta would be his best bet…
Reggie Bush is also on the market after two productive years in Miami. Many Falcon fans don’t favor making a move for Bush, who is more of a finesse runner looking for a payday rather than adding to his Super Bowl ring collection. Still, you can’t deny his talent. At one time, I favored Bush over Jackson, due to his explosiveness and big-play ability. He’s also improved running between the tackles, has fresher legs (recently turned 28) and, like Jackson, also has excellent hands. Though he isn’t the physical specimen, he makes up for it with his elusiveness and agility. I question his durability and demeanor though (his personality doesn’t fit the mold of players Dimitroff go after). Going after him shouldn’t be a priority but should be considered nonetheless…
The dark-horse of running backs available in free agency this year could be Shonn Greene. The former New York Jet has seen his work load increase the last two seasons, and he responded by eclipsing 1,000 yards in each of those seasons. He’s the epitome of a balanced-back– he doesn’t do anything great but does everything well. If he signs with a team having anything resembling a passing game, who knows what kind of numbers he could put up… He’s pretty much a perfect option for the Falcons. The only thing I question is if he’s looking for a championship or a big contract. He’s fresh off his rookie deal and could be looking to cash-in. One thing’s for sure, he will weigh all of his options, and while we should pursue him, we shouldn’t bank on him coming to Atlanta.
In my opinion, each of these players has potential to get Atlanta over the hump. Choose wisely Dimitroff…What do you guys think?