Arian Foster will attempt to find a second NFL employer this week, making commitments to visit the Dolphins and Lions, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The former All-Pro will first visit the Dolphins, being scheduled to do so on Monday, and then meet with Lions representatives later this week.
Coming off a torn Achilles’ tendon last October, Foster had previously been connected to three teams this offseason. It’s looking like two could well be the Dolphins and Lions, both in need of backfield depth.
The Dolphins were pretty clearly one of those monitoring his situation since Foster already visited Miami in March. However, the team’s latest known stance on the veteran was regarding him as a fallback option in case of injury. Miami appears to have moved off that status, one that as recently as early June did not indicate much interest.
Potential late-July workouts have served as Foster’s plan for months, so the 29-year-old former rushing champion appears to have remained on schedule as he attempts to play an eighth NFL season.
Miami lost starting running back Lamar Miller to Houston, where he will take over for Foster, and attempted to find several replacements. The Fins signed C.J. Anderson to an offer sheet that the Broncos ended up matching and then tried to sign James Starks and Chris Johnson. Both eventually returned to their respective teams. Miller’s 2015 backup, Jay Ajayi, and Derrick Henry‘s backup at Alabama, Kenyan Drake, look to be Miami’s top two ball-carrying options right now.
Detroit parted ways with Joique Bell this offseason and is seemingly in need of running back help, with Ameer Abdullah coming off of an offseason surgery and Theo Riddick profiling as more of a passing-down specialist. The Lions also picked up Stevan Ridley, who hasn’t enjoyed a significant role since a season-ending injury ended his Patriots tenure prematurely in 2014.
However, neither Ajayi nor Abdullah have proven to be surefire starting backs, so a healthy Foster would have a clearer path to a first-unit role by signing with one of these franchises.
The former UDFA averaged approximately 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns from 2010-12 but saw injuries limit him to 25 games from 2013-15. Foster still rushed for 1,246 yards in 2014, however, and took only 184 handoffs in the ’13 and ’15 seasons combined. So, he’ll be relatively fresh for a player his age and could still have value, even if he comes with obvious risk.