After knee injuries threatened to end his career, Jamaal Charles has resurfaced as a quality complementary part for the Broncos this season. And he doesn’t plan on making it his last.
The 30-year-old running back said Thursday (via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, on Twitter) he wants to play two more seasons.
Charles signed a one-year deal with the Broncos in April but mentioned (via James Palmer of NFL.com, on Twitter) two teams told him he should retire after examining him. Jhabvala mentioned the Seahawks and 49ers examined his knees prior to the Broncos doing so (Twitter link). This is the first reported 49ers interest in the former All-Pro running back.
The Broncos have deployed Charles as an off-the-bench complement to C.J. Anderson, and the NFL’s career yards-per-carry leader is averaging 4.7 per tote through six games. Denver’s offense has struggled lately, but Charles has done well to show he can still contribute after receiving just 12 carries for the Chiefs last season. He underwent procedures on both of his menisci in 2016 after a second ACL surgery stopped his 2015 season. Palmer notes the Broncos are set to increase Charles’ workload soon after maxing him out at 10 touches on three occasions this season.
Charles is playing on an incentive-laden contract this season and stands to be a 2018 free agent. Even as running backs continue to be devalued as UFAs, the soon-to-be 31-year-old runner would seemingly generate interest regarding a possible 11th season in 2018 if he can make it through this year healthy. Despite being in Year 10, Charles only has 1,373 career carries. That’s eighth among active running backs, despite several players ahead of Charles on that list having begun their careers after his began in 2008.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.