Luke Joeckel

Seahawks Notes: Avril, Joeckel, Alexander

As he continues to deal with a neck injury, Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril has sought multiple medical opinions and is visiting another doctor today, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Head coach Pete Carroll originally indicated Avril would be sidelined “awhile” with a stinger and numbness in his arm, but subsequent reports have expressed concern about the future of Avril’s career. While Seattle has the defensive line depth to withstand a Avril absence (Frank Clark, Marcus Smith), his absence will certainly be felt, and doubts about his ability to continue playing are certainly worrisome.

Here’s more from Seattle:

  • Left guard Luke Joeckel is expected to miss four-to-five weeks after undergoing knee surgery during the Seahawks’ bye week, reports Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). Joeckel, who signed a one-year, $8MM contract this spring, has played every snap at left guard for Seattle this season. Perhaps unsurprisingly given his track record with the Jaguars, Joeckel had struggled — along with the rest of the Seahawks’ offensive line — through five games, grading as the No. 44 guard among 75 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Mark Glowinski and rookie Ethan Pocic will now compete to replace Joeckel, per Condotta.
  • Free agent safety Maurice Alexander is visiting with the Seahawks this week, as Condotta writes in a full piece. Seattle should be relatively familiar with Alexander, as he’d spent the entirety of his four-year NFL career with the Rams. Alexander, who has also auditioned for the Jets and Cardinals since being waived last week, offers valuable experience (18 starts over the past season-plus), but he’d seemingly be overkill in Seattle. The Seahawks already boast two of the NFL’s best safeties in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, plus veteran Bradley McDougald and rookies Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson in reserve.
  • If recent history is any indication, Seahawks defenders Dion Jordan and DeShawn Shead likely won’t return to the field for three more weeks, opines Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Both Jordan, a defensive end, and Shead, a cornerback, are allowed to resume practicing today, but neither player is ready to roll just yet. Once they are, Seattle will get a three-week window during which Jordan and/or Shead can be added to the 53-man roster. Jordan is currently on the non-football injury list, while Shead is on the physically unable to perform list. As Henderson notes, the Seahawks have typically given their players ample practice time before activating them.

Seahawks Notes: Lacy, Joeckel, Fant

Eddie Lacy‘s next weight test will come on Monday, Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com reports, noting that the Seahawks running back must be at or below 250 pounds to earn a $55K bonus. Lacy made his May weight requirement, at or under 255 pounds, and collected the $55K bonus after the scale read 253 pounds. The goal remains for the fifth-year running back to be at 245 during the season. Lacy has come a long way from earlier this year, when the former Packers ball carrier reportedly weighed 267 pounds during one UFA visit. Guaranteed $2.865MM, Lacy can collect up to $2.685MM through incentives — the weight program being part of that package. This latest weight date coincides with Seattle’s minicamp, which begins Tuesday.

Here’s more from the Pacific Northwest.

  • We didn’t hear much about other suitors for Luke Joeckel prior to the former No. 2 overall pick reaching a one-year agreement with the Seahawks, but an anonymous executive confirmed — via Mike Sando of ESPN.com (Insider link) — the tackle/guard generated some interest despite an underwhelming Jaguars tenure and an injury-marred contract year. “We were all in it for Joeckel, too,” the exec said. “Joeckel had a market.” The Seahawks gave Joeckel an $8MM deal featuring $7MM in full guarantees. The latter number may well have come from Seattle having to beat out competition for the 25-year-old lineman.
  • The Seahawks may be evolving on Joeckel’s position. In April, Pete Carroll said Joeckel would begin at left tackle. Now, he’s playing more left guard after unconventional NFLer George Fant has convinced the Seahawks he’s a viable option to stay at left tackle, per Kapadia. Fant, who went from eighth grade to his rookie NFL season without playing football, has gained more than 20 pounds this year. Kapadia reports the former Western Kentucky basketball player is up to 320 after suiting up at 296 last season. Joeckel is still receiving looks at tackle and guard, but Kapadia notes guard will probably be where he plays.
  • Seattle also followed through with the move of shifting Mark Glowinski from left to right guard and Germain Ifedi to right tackle, per Kapadia, who identifies Glowinski as being more comfortable on the right side. The third-year player started 16 games at left guard last season but played some right guard as a rookie.
  • John Schneider has not used the franchise tag option to retain a player since his first year as Seahawks GM, when he tagged Olindo Mare in 2010, but Jimmy Graham is due to be a free agent in 2018 and has been tagged before. The tight end’s bounce-back 2016 season shows he could have value for a third NFL contract, and Roy Cummings of FanRag Sports writes that it wouldn’t be costly for the team to use the tag on Graham next year. Graham will make $10MM in 2017 after earning $9MM last season. The tight end tag number came in at $9.78MM this year, so a Graham tag in advance of his age-32 season in 2018 would not cost the Hawks much more than they’re already paying him. Seattle is projected to possess $34MM-plus in cap space next year, but this is without contracts for Kam Chancellor or Justin Britt on the books.

NFC Notes: D. Martin, Giants, Joeckel

We heard last month that the Buccaneers may retain RB Doug Martin, and Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times explains why Martin remains relevant to the Bucs. For one, Tampa Bay did not select a running back in the draft that could make an instant impact, so Martin is still the most talented back on the roster. But the Bucs do have enough talent at the position to get away with a running back-by-committee until Martin returns from suspension in October, so they can afford to be patient. Plus, Martin has something to prove, and he has shown that, when motivated, he can be highly productive. The team has expressed a great deal of optimism about Martin’s prospects since the draft, so it is looking more likely than ever that he will play out the 2017 campaign with the Bucs.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • The Giants were one of the most logical suitors for free agent RB LeGarrette Blount, but the Patriots’ decision to use a May 9 tender on Blount probably takes New York out of the picture, according to James Kratch of NJ.com. Plus, Kratch believes the team’s reported interest in adding a veteran back was always a bit overblown, as the Giants have three young RBs that they want to give opportunities to, along with veteran Shane Vereen.
  • In the same piece, Kratch observes that Giants cornerstones Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Landon Collins, and Odell Beckham will all reach the end of their rookie contracts over the next two seasons. Kratch says it will be difficult for Big Blue to re-sign all four, but it’s not impossible, and he lays out how New York could go about it.
  • Former West Virginia center Tyler Orlosky is part of the Eagles‘ 2017 class of UDFAs, and as Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com writes, it was a bit surprising that Orlosky chose to sign with Philadelphia. After all, he garnered plenty of interest as a UDFA, and the Eagles have three centers on their roster that they are invested in to some degree. But Shorr-Parks suggests that Orlosky may know something we don’t, and if Orlosky performs well in camp, Shorr-Parks says Philadelphia could ship veteran Jason Kelce, whom the club has been trying to trade anyway, off to the highest bidder.
  • Luke Joeckel represents the biggest investment the Seahawks made in free agency this offseason, but given his disappointing tenure as a left tackle for the Jaguars — which ultimately forced him to move to guard — and his season-ending knee injury in 2016, there is plenty of skepticism about his ability to bolster Seattle’s underwhelming O-line. But Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable is bullish on Joeckel’s outlook. As Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com writes, Cable said during a recent radio interview that Joeckel played as well as any guard in the league before his injury last season, and he believes his coaching will only make Joeckel better. Of course, Joeckel only signed a one-year pact, so if he does play well and stay healthy, the Seahawks will likely have to pay a premium to keep him.
  • The Rams‘ center position is hardly settled, as injury-prone John Sullivan sits atop the depth chart with only Demetrius Rhaney, a special-teams contributor and a natural guard, behind him. As such, Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Daily News writes that UDFA Jake Eldrenkamp, who did not play center at all in college but whose body and skill-set are best-suited to center at the professional level, has a real chance of winning the starting job this summer. At the very least, he could make the team as Sullivan’s backup.

OL Notes: Seahawks, Joeckel, Eagles, Paradis

As teams get set for the start of offseason workouts, they are assembling their pre-draft offensive line depth charts. One such team with some fluidity: the Seahawks. They plan to make a move that ended up backfiring on the Jaguars in stationing Luke Joeckel at left tackle. While Pete Carroll acknowledges Joeckel could end up at left guard, the recently added blocker will begin his Seahawks tenure as a left tackle.

Luke is a guy who started at left tackle, was drafted at left tackle. I’m thinking of him as that, knowing he can play left guard,” Carroll said, via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. “He had a really good experience this year moving in, and he liked it and felt comfortable doing that. So my first thought is we head into it with he’s coming into it as a left tackle that can play left guard.”

Jacksonville shuttled Joeckel from left tackle to left guard before the 2016 season, but an injury limited him to only four games. The former No. 2 overall pick did not fare especially well at left tackle as a full-time starter from 2014-15; he began his Jags run as a right tackle while a rookie. The Seahawks signed Joeckel to a one-year deal for a fully guaranteed $7MM in an attempt to help what’s been a maligned offensive line over the past two seasons. Carroll plans, for now, to sit converted basketball player George Fant behind Joeckel. Fant started 10 games for the NFC West champions last season.

If George had to sit for a while, what could be better for him than sitting behind a guy who was a [No. 2] pick in the draft and knows how to play the position?” Carroll said. “If that happens, it would only enhance his future, and we have high expectations for him down the road — high expectations.”

Here’s more out of Seattle and the latest from other offensive fronts.

  • The Seahawks’ most recent first-round pick, Germain Ifedi, is expected to receive a long look at right tackle, per Kapadia. Ifedi started 13 games at right guard last season, but a chain reaction might relocate him. Should Joeckel move to left guard, 2016 left guard starter Mark Glowinski would shift to the right side and possibly bump Ifedi to right tackle. Ifedi primarily played right tackle at tackle-rich Texas A&M but slid inside during his debut NFL season. Seattle, of course, is no stranger to moving its linemen. Former second-round pick Justin Britt shifted from tackle to guard to center during his first three seasons in the league.
  • Isaac Seumalo started four games — at three different positions — for the Eagles last season, and it looks like Doug Pederson is eyeing more time for the second-year blocker. “He’s a guy that we want to get into the mix,” Pederson said, via Zach Berman of Philly.com. Berman adds Seumalo could wind up at center or guard long-term. The Eagles, though, are keeping left guard Allen Barbre and center Jason Kelce after being rumored to be set to unload both. Philadelphia also brought back center/guard Stefen Wisniewski, complicating Seumalo’s immediate path to playing time.
  • Matt Paradis underwent offseason surgery on both of his hips and has an uncertain timetable back to his spot on the Broncos‘ starting offensive front. The fourth-year center shed his crutches last month and is expected back. But Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post notes the hope now is Paradis won’t miss any regular-season action, meaning Paradis might not be a lock for training camp. The former sixth-round pick enjoyed a breakout season in 2016, finishing as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 center and doing so on one of the league’s shakiest offensive lines. He’s played every Broncos snap over the past two seasons.

West Notes: Cardinals, Joeckel, Raiders

Let’s take a quick swing around the league’s west divisions:

  • We learned earlier today that Tony Jefferson‘s new deal with the Ravens will pay him up to $37MM over four years. We also heard reports in recent days that the Browns and possibly the Jets offered him slightly more money, but that he spurned those offers to sign with Baltimore. As Andy Benoit of TheMMQB writes in a detailed piece on Jefferson’s free agent journey, Jefferson’s former team, the Cardinals, made him an initial “low-ball” offer of three years, $12MM, before upping their proposal to four years and $24MM, still well short of the winning bid.
  • Mike Jurecki of FoxSports910 passes along some contract details on two of the Cardinals‘ recent signings (Twitter links). Jurecki reports that safety Antoine Bethea‘s new three-year deal will pay him yearly base salaries of $2MM, $3MM, and $3MM, while A.Q. Shipley‘s new two-year pact is worth a total of $3.5MM with base salaries of $775K and $1.5MM, $725K in guarantees, and $250K in roster bonuses for 2017 and 2018.
  • Luke Joeckel‘s new one-year deal with the Seahawks will pay him a fully-guaranteed $7MM, with an additional $1MM available in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets that Robbie Gould‘s new two-year pact with the 49ers is worth a total of $4MM, with $1MM fully guaranteed.
  • The Raiders will likely not have a lease agreement for a proposed Las Vegas stadium in place before the league owners meet later this month, a meeting during which they could approve the team’s relocation bid. However, as noted in a piece from the Associated Press, the absence of a finalized lease agreement does not mean the league owners will be precluded from voting on the relocation proposal. Instead, they could conditionally approve the relocation as long as the lease adequately addresses issues that are important to the league.
  • The Raiders have made a few changes to their coaching staff, as Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com writes. Last season’s assistant secondary coach, Rod Woodson, will coach cornerbacks, as he did previously, and Brent Vieselmeyer, who was assistant linebackers coach last year, will coach the safeties in 2017. Meanwhile, Travis Smith has been promoted from quality control to outside linebackers coach, and Nick Holz is now the assistant receivers coach. Nate Tice, son of offensive line coach Mike Tice, is the offensive quality control coach.
  • We learned earlier today that the Broncos and OT Donald Stephenson have agreed to a restructured deal.

NFC Rumors: Romo, Baker, Jeffery, Eagles

Tony Romo was “never being waived” by the Cowboys, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). We presume the source means “cut” rather than “waived” since vested veterans cannot be waived in the offseason. Word on Wednesday was that the Cowboys would release Romo, allowing him to sign with another club. Then, on Thursday, it was reported that the Cowboys were expecting to trade the quarterback to the Broncos or Texans. For now, things remain in a holding pattern for Romo.

Here’s more from around the league on Day 1 of official free agency.

  • The Redskins did not end up making an offer to Chris Baker, who agreed to a deal with the Buccaneers, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com tweets. Baker joined DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon as higher-end free agents who left Washington this week.
  • Alshon Jeffery looks to be a believer in Carson Wentz. The sixth-year wideout turned out a turned down a multiyear deal with greater security from the Vikings to sign with the Eagles, Ian Rapoport tweets.
  • Torrey Smith‘s Eagles deal is for one year and $5MM, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports (on Twitter), adding that the contract contains two option years. Both option years are worth $5MM apiece. Smith will collect a $500K bonus from what will be his third NFL employer.
  • Chance Warmack signed with the Eagles for one year and $1.51MM, per Pelissero (on Twitter). This looks like a value-re-establishing season for the former Titans first-rounder, who will receive a $500K signing bonus.
  • The SeahawksLuke Joeckel deal is for one year and up to $8MM, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The guaranteed money here isn’t known yet, but Joeckel could do well for himself after seeing seeing the Jaguars pass on his 2017 option in 2016 and then going on IR.
  • New Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall said four teams were on his top tier in terms of giving him the best chance to win: the Giants, Patriots, Steelers and Seahawks, per Art Stapleton of The Record (on Twitter). Marshall has never made the playoffs in 11 seasons. The Giants made their first playoff berth in five years in 2016.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Seahawks Sign Luke Joeckel

The Seahawks have signed former Jaguars offensive lineman Luke Joeckel to a one-year deal, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

The former second-overall pick had spent his entire four-year career with the Jaguars. The versatile offensive lineman started 30 games for the team between 2014 and 2015. However, he was limited to only four games in 2016 after undergoing knee surgery.

Joeckel’s ability to play both tackle and guard should be especially useful to Seattle. The team currently has four linemen (excluding centers) on their roster in George FantMark GlowinskiGermain Ifedi, and Rees Odhiambo. Joeckel could reasonably slide in as the team’s starting right tackle.

Joeckel ranked 13th in our listing of the best available free agent interior offensive lineman.

Jags, Patrick Omameh Agree To Deal

The Jaguars have agreed to re-sign guard Patrick Omameh, his agency, Schwartz & Feinsod, announced (Twitter link). It’ll be a one-year, $775K deal with a $100K signing bonus, per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (via Twitter).

Patrick Omameh (featured)

Since breaking into the NFL with the Buccaneers in 2014, Omameh has amassed 40 appearances and 32 starts. The 27-year-old spent 2015 in Chicago and is coming off his first year in Jacksonville, where he started in seven of 10 appearances before going on injured reserve in late November.

Omameh graded a respectable 31st among Pro Football Focus’ 72 qualifying guards in 2016 and would have drawn interest from at least one other team – the Broncos, per Troy Renck of Denver 7 (Twitter link) – had the Jaguars not kept him off the market. PFR’s Zach Links ranked Omameh as the eighth-best unsigned guard on the market Monday.

Re-upping Omameh likely means the Jags will move on from Luke Joeckel, tweets Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com. The free agent hasn’t lived up to his status as the second overall pick in the 2013 draft, though he has started in all 39 career appearances. Joeckel missed all but four games last year on account of a knee injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

[UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST EDITION OF THE TOP 2017 NFL FREE AGENTS BY POSITION]

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Mike Glennon
  3. Nick Foles
  4. Brian Hoyer
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  6. Case Keenum
  7. Matt McGloin
  8. Mark Sanchez
  9. Geno Smith
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Josh McCown
  12. Christian Ponder
  13. Blaine Gabbert
  14. Matt Schaub
  15. Ryan Nassib

Honorable mention: Shaun Hill

As of this writing, Kirk Cousins is far and away the best potential free agent quarterback in this year’s crop. By the time March gets here, we’re fully expecting Cousins to be spoken for. Ultimately, the Redskins could franchise tag him, work out a long-term deal with him, or swing some type of trade that nets them a massive haul of talent and picks. That will leave a crop of retread quarterbacks that would probably best serve as transitional options for QB-needy teams. Kirk Cousins

Mike Glennon hasn’t done much in his 18 career starts, but talent evaluators are still in love with his size and potential. The 6’7″ quarterback will get more money this spring than you might expect, particularly since there are no surefire QBs in this year’s draft.

Teams looking for stopgap QBs will find a plethora of experienced, though perhaps uninspiring, signal callers. Nick Foles, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick all have their best football behind them, but they could hold down the fort for a team in 2017 and maybe even find some success if the defense is strong enough. Of course, the ideal role for those guys would probably be as a backup to a better, younger quarterback.

Running back:

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Eddie Lacy
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Darren McFadden
  6. Jacquizz Rodgers
  7. Rashad Jennings
  8. Danny Woodhead
  9. Rex Burkhead
  10. Tim Hightower
  11. DeAngelo Williams
  12. Andre Ellington
  13. Chris Johnson
  14. Christine Michael
  15. Robert Turbin

Consider Le’Veon Bell‘s name written in Etch-A-Sketch, because he is very unlikely to get near the open market. That could leave Eddie Lacy as the best tailback available in March. Lacy has struggled with weight issues in recent years and he lost much of the 2016 season to injury. Still, he is a bruising back that could nicely complement a quicker ball carrier. Before he was shut down for the year, Lacy was averaging 5.07 yards per carry in five games for Green Bay.

LeGarrette Blount (vertical)In the last two years, LeGarrette Blount seems to have put his off-the-field troubles behind him. Whether that’s a sign of his maturity or a product of the Patriots’ culture remains to be seen. Teams can ignore his past indiscretions, but they will be wary of his age. Blount turns 31 in December.

Latavius Murray has shown glimpses of being a special running back, but he has been inconsistent and his 4.0 yards-per-carry average of the last two years isn’t overly impressive. Darren McFadden ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015, but 2016 was pretty much a lost year for him. Jacquizz Rodgers seemed to break out last year, but he wound up succumbing to the same injury bug that took down a host of other Buccaneers running backs. Speaking of injuries, Rashad Jennings was initially brought to the Giants to be a workhorse back, but two of his three years in New York were marred by ailments. Everyone in this tier has the potential to make a difference, but none should be counted on as anyone’s main guy in 2017.

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