Pending free agent running back Alfred Morris has had discussions with Washington about a new contract, but the club hasn’t made an offer and the 27-year-old is expected to reach the open market next week as a result, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post (Twitter link).
Morris, a sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft, burst on the scene during a rookie year in which he amassed the third-most carries in the NFL (335) and finished second in both rushing yards (1,613) and touchdowns (13). Morris declined the next two years, though he was still a productive workhorse (265-plus carries, 1,000 or more yards and at least seven TDs in both years). The wheels came off last season, however, as the 224-pounder recorded personal worsts in carries (202), rushing yards (751), yards per attempt (3.7) and scores (one). Despite his statistical drop-off in 2015, it’s worth mentioning that Morris played his fourth consecutive 16-game season.
As is the case with all other free agents-to-be, Morris can start negotiating with other teams Monday, and he’s allowed to sign with one of them as early Wednesday. Morris will likely be, at best, the fourth-ranked available running back in a class that could also feature Doug Martin, Lamar Miller, Matt Forte and Chris Ivory. Ronnie Hillman, Bilal Powell, LeGarrette Blount and Arian Foster are some of the other backs looking for new deals.
Even though Morris is sure to garner interest from around the league, he isn’t a lock to leave Washington, as team president Bruce Allen alluded to last month.
“If he gets a great contract, we’re going to applaud him. If not, we’ll see what happens with us,” Allen said.
Washington tied for the third-worst team YPC in the league last season (3.7), so it’s probably going to have to address its backfield in some fashion. That could mean re-signing Morris, adding one of the other backs mentioned above, or going the draft route. The club used a third-round pick last year on Matt Jones, but the rookie averaged a paltry 3.4 yards per carry on 144 attempts and had ball security issues (four fumbles).
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