Arizona Cardinals: Top 5 RB Free Agents
By Scott Allen
The Arizona Cardinals could help themselves by adding a durable veteran back
Andre Ellington should still the biggest piece of the running game in 2015 but he can’t be the featured back or the only guy running the ball. The plan to give him the ball 20 times on the ground and the others five combined can’t be the plan going forward. He’s just not reliable enough to last a whole season playing that way.
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The Cardinals should give him a chance to heal properly this off-season and reduce his load a little bit. The only way they can do that though is by finding someone who can take the hits and stay healthy. This year the running back free-agency list doesn’t have a lot of guys like that. Here are the top five guys the Cardinals should look at.
Guys like DeMarco Murray will be too expensive. Ryan Mathews and Knowshon Moreno can’t stay healthy. The Cardinals have already passed on guys like Darren McFadden and Ben Tate in recent past.
1. Mark Ingram
The New Orleans Saints should try to get him back but if not, the Cardinals need to look at him. He can certainly take hits. He would be a perfect compliment to the Cards running game getting 10 carries or so a game.
2. Roy Helu
The Washington Redskins don’t know a good thing when they have it. Here’s a guy that has only started five games in four seasons, all in 2011. Now, granted, he was injured in 2012 but he has a career 4.4 yard-per-carry average. He had 5.4 yards-per-carry in 2014. He had just 40 carries in 14 games. That’s Stepfan Taylor territory.
3. Justin Forsett
It appears the Baltimore Ravens want him back and that’s why I put him at number three but his 2014 breakout season opened eyes. There is no way you don’t give this guy a look. Can you afford him? Maybe, maybe not. Still have to knock on this door though if you are the Cardinals. He had 1,266 yards with a 5.4 yards-per-carry average in 2014. He also had eight touchdowns.
4. Shane Vereen
He was part of a crowded backfield with the New England Patriots in 2014. Is there enough room to keep him. I suggest he’s expendable and the Patriots may just let him sign with someone else. Why not the Arizona Cardinals? He would certainly be more involved here than he was in the Patriots offense.
5. Antone Smith
He is a guy used sparingly by the Atlanta Falcons but again he was in a pretty crowded backfield with Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers. He did have a 6.4 yards-per-carry average. That was only on 23 carries though. The question is could he maintain a four or five yard average over an entire season taking on a larger load. He is 29, younger than some of the free agents and not as banged up as others.