There are plenty of game changing free agents available this offseason. But, who are the best running back available?
Last season nine running backs rushed for over 1,000 yards. Only six running backs rushed for 10 or more touchdowns; Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, James Conner, Saquon Barkley and Melvin Gordon.
Of those six backs, four played in the postseason and if it weren’t for an epic season ending collapse, five out of the six would have played in January. Yes, the NFL has transformed into a quarterback driven league . But, the value of having a great running back still exists.
That leads us to free agency, where there are decent, good and great backs on the market. Statistics certainly play a role in determining who are the best running backs available, but there are other factors to consider. Like age, potential and a team’s overall roster.
Having a good featured back could be the difference from being a one-dimensional team or a Super Bowl contender and these are some players to consider.
No.5: Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings
The first running back to crack the list comes from Minnesota and it’s Murray. Despite being 29 years old, the former sixth-round draft pick still has some football left in the tank.
More importantly he has made it clear that he wants to compete for a starting job next season. One thing that stands out when looking at Murray’s career is his ability to stay on the field and overall consistency.
Since entering the league in 2014, he has played in at least 14 games every season, three of which he played in all 16 games. That includes his breakout season in 2015 with the Oakland Raiders, where he rushed for over 1,000 yards and was named to the Pro Bowl.
Over the last four seasons Murray has rushed for a combined 32 touchdowns, with at least six touchdowns every season. He has averaged at least four yards per carry in four of his five seasons in the league.
In 2017 when Dalvin Cook exited Week 4’s game against the Detroit Lions with a knee injury, the Minnesota Vikings called on Murray. Once the team found out Cook suffered a torn ACL, Murray took over as the starting back. In 11 starts, he rushed for 842 yards and eight scores.
Last season, with the return of Cook, Murray’s role took a back seat but he still played in every game and started five. In Week 6, he managed to rush for a career high 155 yards against the Arizona Cardinals.
According to Spotrac, Murray’s calculated market value is $1.6 million per year. Even though Murray aspires to be a starting back next season, there is a good chance he is backup. With that being said, any team who has an injury prone starter should take a look at Murray because of how reliable he has been.