Theo Riddick generated some interest after the Lions ended his six-year tenure last week, and the seventh-year pass-catching back looks to be deciding between the two teams he visited. It appears to be a Broncos-or-Saints decision for the veteran back, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter).
This is interesting because of a previous report. Riddick was tabbed, per NOLA.com’s Herbie Teope (Twitter link), as hoping to take his time before choosing his next team. More visits were potentially on the agenda, though Teope did not indicate a third team was definitively in the mix. He now hears that it’s indeed Denver or New Orleans for the 28-year-old back (Twitter link).
Offensive assistants for both teams likely have played roles in this recruitment. Riddick played under Broncos running backs coach Curtis Modkins from 2013-15, with Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi also in Detroit during that time — as Lions OC from 2014-15.
It’s interesting in an era of running back marginalization that Riddick has generated immediate interest going into his seventh season, but he has shown a defined skill set that fits well in the modern game. Riddick has 285 receptions since his 2013 rookie slate; that’s third in the NFL among running backs over that span. His 2,238 receiving yards are fourth among backs.
Both the Broncos and Saints have solidified first- and second-string backs, with Phillip Lindsay and Alvin Kamara starting and Royce Freeman and Latavius Murray in place as respective complementary pieces. The Broncos have fourth-year back Devontae Booker in place behind Lindsay and Freeman, but Riddick has shown much more as a receiver.
The Saints also lost out on potential target Alfred Morris, who agreed to terms with the Cowboys minutes ago. While Morris and Riddick do not have similar skill sets, the Saints are showing urgency to bring in some help behind their top two backs. Buck Allen has not suited up for camp yet, leaving former Riddick Detroit teammate Dwayne Washington among those seeing time in his absence. While Booker would seemingly stay on as Denver’s third-string back if Riddick opts for New Orleans, Larry Holder of The Athletic writes (subscription required) the Saints’ No. 3 job is wide open.
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