Top 5: 2018 Running Back Free Agents
Part Two of our series ranking the top Free Agents at every position
When the new league year begins on March 14th, these players are the best available at their positions, plus we give our thoughts on if those players should/will re-sign or test the waters elsewhere. If you missed part one – Top 5 Free Agent Quarterbacks, you can read up on it here.
1. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
Arguably the most important player on an at times dynamic offense, Bell is by far the cream of the crop in this free agency period. I am sure many teams will offer a BUNCH of pretty pennies to try to entice him to leave, but few will have the corresponding weapons to make it worth his while. Pittsburgh is loaded for the foreseeable future with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, there is not a better trio in the league right now.
Bell stays, but don’t be shocked if someone like Seattle tries to poach him.
2. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers
Given the 49ers investment in Jimmy Garappolo, they firmly believe they have a cornerstone for their franchise, and in one season under Kyle Shanahan, Hyde caught more passes than he had in his three previous years combined. If it’s touches Hyde wants, there are plenty to be had in this budding offense.
Hyde would be silly to leave this ship now. San Francisco is a few players away from being a contender in the NFC, but he could make a lot of teams better. I think Hyde stays, but is far from a lock.
3. Alfred Morris – Dallas Cowboys
Alfred has kind of been the odd man out a couple times now, but Morris’ production when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended proved that Morris was still a very serviceable back in today’s NFL. At 29 years old, Morris is at the spot where historically running backs start to decline, so I don’t anticipate him getting a huge pay day.
Morris will not be back in Dallas barring an offseason setback or another Zeke suspension, but going to a team where he could be a feature back would be suit his skill set. If Oakland is ready to move on from Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders would be a good fit, but I get the feeling Green Bay may slide in to make a solid offer.
4. Dion Lewis – New England Patriots
Dion Lewis has improved statistically every year since joining New England in 2015, but given the Patriots history of getting rid of players right when they come up for free agency and expect a big pay day, this could be the end of the road. Lewis has never been a feature back, but he has the skill set to be a game changer for any offense, especially with his pass catching and kick-return abilities.
Detroit, Jets, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, and Indianapolis could be great landing spots.
5. Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings
McKinnon helped steady the ship for the Vikings after rookie Dalvin Cook went down with an injury early in the year, producing his best numbers of his four year career despite splitting time with Latavius Murray. McKinnon is a great change of pace back who can catch the ball out of the backfield, and is versatile enough to return kicks.
Think of McKinnon as a discount Dion Lewis, if the Pats let Lewis bolt, that would be a great landing spot for him.
Stay tuned to 3PSMag.com as we continue our Top 5 series on Sunday with a look at the best offensive lineman available in free agency 2018.