The Redskins envision that second-year player Matt Jones will be their starting running back, as head coach Jay Gruden said in March. But that doesn’t mean the club won’t consider making an addition to their backfield, John Keim of ESPN.com details. Washington won’t be in the market for Arian Foster at this time, per Keim, but the team is still interested in fellow veteran Pierre Thomas, who played in four games for the Redskins in 2015.
As I noted when ranking Foster as the No. 3 available offensive free agent, the 29-year-old back is still capable of putting up results when he is on the field. He accumulated 6,472 rushing yards during his seven years as a Texan, and earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 2010 to 2012, averaging about 1,900 all purpose yards and 16 touchdowns in those seasons. But Foster was limited to 25 regular-season games from 2013 to 2015, and injuries, his age, and his increasing cap number resulted in the Houston releasing him this spring.
Foster has garnered some interest since being cut by the Texans, as he met with the Dolphins in the early stages of free agency — Miami is reportedly still “monitoring” Foster, perhaps waiting for him to prove his health before issuing a contract offer. For what it’s worth, Foster recently said he could need until July or so to get back to his old form. The Patriots also have some modicum of “preliminary interest” in the free agent back.
Thomas, meanwhile, hasn’t been linked to any other clubs since the free agent period opened (aside from the Redskins, of course). After signing on with Washington in December, Thomas rushed for 4.7 yards per carry on 11 totes, adding nine receptions for another 84 yards. Those limited numbers obviously don’t speak to Thomas’ true ability, especially in the passing game — in eight years with the Saints, Thomas averaged 49 receptions per season. The 31-year-old, then, could make sense as a third-down option behind Jones.
As the more high-profile back, Foster is likely to cost more than Thomas, but doesn’t mean Thomas is going to settle for a minimum deal. According to Keim, Thomas waited to sign last offseason while waiting for a good fit, and clubs apparently deemed his asking price too high — Thomas might be willing to wait out the league again while searching for the right opportunity.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.