With free agency set to begin in less than one month, Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda previews the 2015 NFL free agent class. Today's focus is on the running backs.
The story of Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris has been well told through the years, as he's gone from what some considered a long-term project at fullback to a two-time Pro Bowler on the cusp of cracking the franchise's top-five for career rushing yards.
A countdown of the top-10 images of running back Roy Helu Jr. during the 2014 season.
During his first season with the Redskins, Morris beat out the rest of the team's running backs to claim the starting gig. One of the players he beat out was Roy Helu Jr. – an unrestricted free agent when the market opens up next month.
Helu Jr. said in December that he'll "probably look into [free agency] for the benefit of my family's future," but that he also wants to return to the Redskins -- the team that drafted him in 2011 -- if the opportunity is presented.
As it stands now, Morris is joined by Chris Thompson and Silas Redd Jr. as the only running backs on the roster for 2015, while fullback Darrel Young has found his niche in the offense.
If the Redskins are unable to retain Helu Jr. and they elect to add to the corps via free agency, here are the veterans who could be looking for new homes:
- Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts
- Ronnie Brown, San Diego Chargers
- Jonathan Dwyer, Arizona Cardinals
- Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens
- Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
- DuJuan Harris, Green Bay Packers
- Roy Helu Jr., Washington Redskins
- Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
- Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
- Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
- Joe McKnight, Kansas City Chiefs
- Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins
- DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
- Cedric Peerman, Cincinnati Bengals
- Bilal Powell, New York Jets
- Ray Rice, no team
- Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
- Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons
- Antone Smith, Atlanta Falcons
- C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (must void contract)
- Ben Tate, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins
- Shane Vereen, New England Patriots
- Leon Washington, Tennessee Titans
The top running back on this list, at least from a statistical standpoint, is DeMarco Murray.
Murray – a four-year veteran – is coming off a career year in which he ran for NFL highs in yards (1,845) and touchdowns (13).
He also set an NFL record for the most consecutive 100-yard rushing games to start a season in 2014, as he crossed the century mark in each of his first eight games.
Fifth in rushing last season was Justin Forsett, who also appears on the list of free agent options.
Starting a career-high 14 games in 2014, the eight-year veteran continued the Baltimore Ravens' strong presence on the ground, running for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns.
Frank Gore, meanwhile, has ties to Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan.
Gore was drafted by the 49ers in the third-round of the 2005 NFL Draft. At the time, McCloughan was the 49ers' Vice President of Player Personnel.
Gore's a five-time Pro Bowler who is San Francisco's leader in rushing yards (11,073) and is second in rushing touchdowns at 68. He also ranks 20th all-time in career rushing yards in NFL history.
Others like C.J. Spiller, Leon Washington and Shane Vereen could provide a backfield some quickness, as all three are some of the most elusive players at the position.
Spiller, a top-10 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, averages five yards per carry on his career. He also has more than 1,000 receiving yards to his credit.
Washington has served as both a change of pace back and return specialist for several different teams, most recently the Tennessee Titans.
Vereen, meanwhile, appeared in 42 games for the New England Patriots over the last four seasons.