Jamaal Charles

NFL Workout Updates: 10/9/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit, courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Jaguars To Sign Jamaal Charles

The Jaguars have agreed to sign running back Jamaal Charles, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Charles will give Jacksonville another backfield option while star Leonard Fournette recovers from a hamstring ailment. To make room, the club is releasing backup running back Brandon Wilds.

Charles, 32 in December, is admittedly not the player that he once was. The veteran had some brilliant seasons in Kansas City, including a 2010 campaign in which he ran for 1,467 yards and averaged 6.4 yards per carry, but he has not topped 1,000 yards since his 2014 season with the Chiefs. Injuries and time have slowed Charles, but the Jaguars believe that he has enough juice to help hold down the fort while Fournette is out.

Charles is not necessarily ticketed for a giant workload while Fournette is sidelined – the top job is expected to remain in T.J. Yeldon‘s grasp. Still, Charles has a clear path to playing time for at least one week.

The Jaguars recently lost Corey Grant to a season-ending Lisfranc injury, so the signing of Charles and the release of Wilds leaves the club with just two healthy running backs. It’s likely that another RB will be added to the mix, and it will have to be an outsider as there are no RBs on the Jags’ taxi squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jamaal Charles To Work Out For Jaguars

The Jaguars are in need of help at running back, and they’re considering two former Chiefs for support. Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West will work out for the team on Tuesday, according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Starter Leonard Fournette has missed multiple games this year with a nagging hamstring issue and no one knows when he’ll be able to return. Meanwhile, backup running back Corey Grant has been ruled out for the year with a Lisfranc injury.

Charles made it through the 2017 campaign healthy — which was an accomplishment in and of itself — but aside from that, it was not an especially memorable season for the 31-year-old. The two-time All-Pro, who was one of the most exciting players in the league before being plagued by extensive knee trouble, racked up just 69 carries for the Broncos last year, and while he led all Denver ball-carriers with a 4.3 YPC average, he was a healthy scratch to close out the year and was frustrated with his lack of playing time. He was linked to the Redskins in August, but we haven’t heard his name mentioned in recent weeks.

The Chiefs released West earlier this year, and although he subsequently latched on with the Jets, he lasted less than a month in New York before getting cut again. The 27-year-old’s most productive campaign came in 2015, when he managed 160 carries for 634 yards and four touchdowns, but his rushing role with Kansas City had been greatly reduced in recent seasons. While he played more than 500 offensive snaps from 2016-17, West handled only 106 total carries, including just 18 last year. West worked out for the Bucs earlier this month, but left Tampa without a deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: Redskins, Woods, Britt, Giants

Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles made plans to visit the Redskins this weekend, following Orleans Darkwa in doing so. This effort to add a piece to a reeling backfield won’t be to bring in a starter but to add depth to a position group that needs it. Jay Gruden said (video link) his team is “covering our bases” in arranging visits with these free agent backs. Being merely a four-year veteran with a light carry history, Darkwa certainly has the most left in the tank. He led the Giants in rushing last season. Peterson, though, has recent experience fitting in quickly with a new team. Although he didn’t do well on a per-carry basis behind a struggling Cardinals offensive line, the future Hall of Fame back posted two 130-plus-yard performances last season — the first of which coming in his initial Cards game. Charles fell out of the Broncos’ rotation late in the season, but the two-time All-Pro made it through last year healthy and performed fairly well (4.3 yards per tote) before being shut down.

Washington lost Derrius Guice and has Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall on the mend. Here’s the latest from some of the Redskins’ rivals, along with news out of the AFC East.

  • Projected to be one of the Cowboys‘ starting safeties, Xavier Woods will be out between three and four weeks because of a hamstring injury, Calvin Watkins of The Athletic tweets. Dallas has been linked to Earl Thomas throughout 2018 and is now examining recently released George Iloka. The Cowboys selected Woods in the sixth round last year and deployed him in four games as a starter.
  • Kenny Britt is still dealing with the hamstring injury he suffered during Patriots minicamp. The veteran wideout has not participated in 11-on-11 drills since that setback, Doug Kyed of NESN.com notes. The Pats removed Britt from the PUP list two weeks ago, and the soon-to-be 30-year-old receiver said he’s feeling OK presently. He declined to predict whether or not he’ll be ready for Week 1. The Patriots signed Britt late last season and picked up his 2018 option in March, but considering how poorly he played with the Browns and his injury status, it wouldn’t be a shock if he’s not on the roster by September. The Pats have endured a turbulent offseason at this position, cutting both Jordan Matthews and Malcolm Mitchell, signing Eric Decker and seeing Julian Edelman incur a four-game PED suspension.
  • The Giants made a change in their sub-package alignment Sunday, swapping in Ray-Ray Armstrong for B.J. Goodson at one of the two linebacker positions, per Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com. Armstrong and Alec Ogletree worked as Big Blue’s nickel ‘backers at practice. Armstrong played safety in college and has bounced around in the NFL, seeing action with the Rams, Raiders and 49ers before joining the Giants last year. Pro Football Focus graded both Goodson and Armstrong as poor coverage players last season.

Redskins To Host Adrian Peterson

The Redskins will host free agent running back Adrian Peterson on Monday, according to Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Washington is in serious need of backfield depth, especially after losing presumptive starter Derrius Guice to a torn ACL. Meanwhile, Samaje Perine is expected to miss at least a week with an ankle injury, and Byron Marshall could be sidelined for a month with his own ankle issue. The Redskins also waived/injured running back Martez Carter earlier today, leaving them with Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, and Kapri Bibbs as their only health backs.

Guice was expected to handle early-down work for the Redskins, and that’s a role Peterson can conceivably still handle. However, the 2017 campaign wasn’t Peterson’s finest, as he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry on 156 rushes between the Saints and Cardinals. That was the second-lowest figure league-wide among backs with at least 150 carries, while Peterson also finished 46th among 47 RBs in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, meaning he wasn’t efficient on a per-play basis.

At his best, of course, Peterson is a Hall of Fame-caliber player, and he managed more than 1,400 yards on the ground as recently as 2015. His pass-game deficiencies aside, Peterson could give Washington a Guice replacement, one capable of handling running downs before ceding to Thompson on passing plays.

The Redskins worked out fellow running backs Orleans Darkwa and Jamaal Charles on Sunday, but it doesn’t appear Washington is in a hurry to sign either player, per Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jamaal Charles To Visit Redskins

The Redskins’ search for running back depth continues, as the team is set to meet with free agent Jamaal Charles today, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson (via Twitter). Washington is also planning to work out Orleans Darkwa today.

Washington lost presumptive starter Derrius Guice to a torn ACL during the team’s first preseason game, and Samaje Perine is expected to miss at least a week with an ankle injury, so Rob KelleyChris Thompson, and Kapri Bibbs are the team’s only healthy backs at the moment. While Thompson offers upside as a pass-catcher out of the backfield and as a change-of-pace back, the Redskins could really use some more help.

Enter Darkwa and Charles. Darkwa was a bright spot in an otherwise miserable season for the division-rival Giants in 2017, posting career-highs in starts (11), rushes (171), yards (751), and touchdowns (five). Advanced metrics were generally fond of his play, and he has generated plenty of interest this offseason.

Charles, meanwhile, made it through the 2017 campaign healthy — which was an accomplishment in and of itself — but aside from that, it was not an especially memorable season for the 31-year-old. The two-time All-Pro, who was one of the most exciting players in the league before being plagued by extensive knee trouble, racked up just 69 carries for the Broncos last year, and while he led all Denver ball-carriers with a 4.3 YPC average, he was a healthy scratch to close out the year and was frustrated with his lack of playing time.

Charles did meet with the Saints back in June, but we have not heard of any other interest in his services.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Which UFA RB Should Redskins Target?

Washington’s backfield corps absorbed a major blow Friday when news of Derrius Guice‘s ACL tear surfaced. The second-round pick had impressed during camp and was set to be a key part of the Redskins’ 2018 backfield.

Now, the Redskins are vulnerable here. Chris Thompson admitted he’s not fully recovered from the broken leg he suffered last season, leaving Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine as the team’s top two healthy running backs. Under the circumstances, it would seemingly behoove the Redskins to examine free agent options. Should they?

Washington holds $13MM-plus in cap space, so funding won’t be an issue here given the timing of this injury and the host of proven backs on the market. Of the players available, Orleans Darkwa has generated the most interest this offseason. The Giants’ 2017 rushing leader met with the Patriots in April, before undergoing surgery, and since recovering has met with the Bills, Jets and Colts. Each team passed, but Darkwa has just 276 carries on his NFL odometer. And he averaged 4.4 yards per tote despite running behind an injury-ravaged Giants offensive front.

Alfred Morris led the Redskins in rushing for four straight seasons, and he averaged 4.8 yards per handoff last season as the Cowboys’ primary starter during Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension. The former sixth-round Washington find is 29 and hasn’t generated much interest since his Cowboys contract expired, although he did visit the Jets recently.

Eddie Lacy‘s also fairly young, at 28, but he’s coming off a brutal Seahawks season. After providing per-carry averages north of 4.0 in each of his four Packers seasons, Lacy averaged just 2.6 yards per run for the Seahawks. Branden Oliver has not been as successful on a per-rush basis, holding a career average of 3.4, but he totaled 853 yards from scrimmage as a seven-game starter as a rookie in 2014. Oliver also drew interest from the Bills this summer.

What about the market’s old guard? Adrian Peterson is obviously the first name that comes to mind, and the future Hall of Famer maintains he would like to play a 12th season. Peterson said he’s now healthy and has recovered from the neck injury that ended his 2017 season. While the three-time rushing champion’s best days are behind him, he amassed two 130-plus-yard games with the Cardinals, doing so despite being a midseason acquisition.

Jamaal Charles, 31, made it through last season healthy after extensive knee trouble plagued him in 2015 and 2016, but the Broncos took him out of their rotation. Nevertheless, the two-time All-Pro led Denver backs by averaging 4.3 yards per carry (albeit on just 69 handoffs). DeMarco Murray retired, but he made it clear shortly before that announcement he was interested in playing this season. Could this situation lure the 2014 offensive player of the year out of retirement?

However, the Redskins also have former Broncos backup Kapri Bibbs and third-year UDFA Byron Marshall. Should they bypass the market and go with a cast fronted by Kelley and Perine?

Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this situation in the comments section!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Best Free Agent RB Remaining?

Even as June winds down, there are a surprising number of quality running backs still available on the open market. The current free agent crop of backfield options includes some notable names, such as: 

Charles, Hightower, Vereen, and Murray were all on the Saints’ radar recently as they canvassed the free agent market for running back support. Ultimately, they signed Terrance West to help fill in during Mark Ingram‘s four-game suspension, leaving the other vets in limbo. While Charles, Hightower, and Vereen all showed their stuff for coach Sean Payton, Murray declined his invite, preferring not to participate in a giant cattle call.

When considering only past accomplishments, the names of Peterson, Charles, and Murray obviously stand out. But, unfortunately, father time is cruel to NFL running backs and these players are on the back nines of their careers, to put it mildly. Out of this trio, Murray has the best 2017 to show teams. Even though his job as the Titans’ top rusher was usurped by Derrick Henry, he had 39 catches for 266 yards and occasionally showed the powerful rushing that made him a force to be reckoned with in Dallas. Charles, he of several 1,000-yard seasons, had only 296 rushing yards in total and found himself at the bottom of Denver’s depth chart to close out the season. Peterson, meanwhile, forced his way out of New Orleans due to a lack of playing time and had only two performances of note in his run with the Cardinals.

Lacy signed with the Seahawks last year and hoped to put concerns about his health and conditioning to rest. Unfortunately, those questions persist after he averaged just 2.6 yards per carry in nine games. Lacy was a bulldozer in his early days with the Packers, but his last season of note came in 2015 when he averaged 4.1 yards per carry. Even then, ball security was a problem as he fumbled the ball four times.

Darkwa is back on the NFL radar after doctors cleared him to workout. Darkwa won’t win this poll on name value, but unlike everyone else on this list, he’s coming off of the best season of his career.The 26-year-old (did we mention that he’s also the youngest running back here?) ran for 751 yards off of 171 carries, good for a strong 4.4 yards per carry average. It was an ugly year for the Giants on the whole, but Darkwa excelled on a personal level.

Vereen, another ex-Giant, can’t say the same for his 2017 season. However, his second act with the Giants has been respectable on the whole. Acting as a secondary ball carrier, he has averaged 4.2 yards per carry over the last three seasons. He also showed that he can still be a worthwhile pass catcher out of the backfield with 44 grabs for 253 yards last season, though he averaged a career-low 5.8 yards per catch.

Last but not least is Morris, though you can be forgiven for forgetting about this three-time 1,000-yard rusher. Morris was a force to be reckoned with from 2012-2014, but he has been riding the pine for the Cowboys over the last two years. What you might not realize is that Morris was tremendous in a small sample last year as Ezekiel Elliott‘s early-season backup and later-season fill-in. Morris averaged 4.76 yards per carry off of 115 attempts, which makes one wonder why we haven’t heard his name mentioned in recent months.

Out of the running backs listed here, which player do you feel can contribute the most in 2018? Click below to cast your vote and defend your choice in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints’ Terrance West Signing Not Certain?

The Saints’ search for an Alvin Kamara sidekick during Mark Ingram‘s suspension has operated in high gear this week, with several running backs contacted for workouts. But the one they’ve reportedly agreed to sign — Terrance West — may not be New Orleans-bound just yet.

West’s deal is not finalized, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com and The Advocate’s Nick Underhill report (Twitter links). While Triplett notes a deal could come to fruition, it hasn’t yet despite a report of the sides reaching an agreement emerging Wednesday afternoon.

Additionally, Triplett reports Shane Vereen worked out for the Saints on Wednesday. He joins West, Jamaal Charles and Tim Hightower among UFA backs to audition for New Orleans. DeMarco Murray declined to be a part of this process.

Charles also could be a candidate for the Saints, assuming their West accord doesn’t come to fruition. The two-time All-Pro enjoyed a good workout, Herbie Teope of NFL.com tweets, and the injury-prone runner passed his physical. Teope adds a signing didn’t make sense for either side but could be revisited down the road. This would be Charles’ 11th season, should he land with a team.

This is the first known workout Vereen’s participated in since his Giants contract expired after the 2017 season. Vereen’s skill set is somewhat similar to Kamara’s; he’s functioned as a passing-down back in New England and New York. But nevertheless, the 29-year-old has seven years’ experience. However, he only posted 417 yards from scrimmage last season and missed 11 games in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jamaal Charles To Visit Saints

Running back Jamaal Charles will visit the Saints on Wednesday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). We haven’t heard much about Charles since the end of the season, but he may finally get a chance to find an NFL home for 2018. 

After an exceptional, albeit injury-riddled, career with the Chiefs that included four Pro Bowl selections and two First Team All-Pro nods, Charles signed a one-year deal with the Broncos last year. Coming off multiple knee surgeries, he joined a crowded backfield that included C.J. Anderson and second-year back Devontae Booker and never established himself as the dominant force of years past.

Last year, Charles tallied 69 carries for 296 yards and a touchdown. The 31-year-old was a healthy scratch to close out the year and expressed his frustration with the team.

In addition to Charles, the Saints are also looking at old friend Tim Hightower, according to Nick Underhill of The Advocate (on Twitter). Hightower was spotted on the practice field Tuesday morning as he auditioned with the team’s running backs.

The Saints will be without Mark Ingram for the first four games of the season thanks to his suspension. The Saints have said that they’re comfortable with their remaining group – which includes Alvin Kamara, Trey Edmunds, Daniel Lasco, and roster hopefuls Boston Scott and Jonathan Williams – but they are giving some thought to adding some veteran reinforcement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.